Lecture 8 
MID + 
NORTHERN 
RENAISSANCE 
AESTHETIC 
EXPERIENCE 
AND 
IDEAS
The Medici Family in Florence 
Was a political dynasty, banking family and 
later royal house. They produced four 
popes, ...
Còsimo di Mèdici 
1389-1464 
In 1434, after a brief time in exile Cosimo 
was returned to Florence by popular 
demand and ...
Cosimo was a committed republican and 
though he manipulated the political 
system to ensure his family maintained 
their ...
Cosimo was a great patronage of arts and 
scholarship and used his great wealth to 
improve Florence.
Cosimo was succeeded 
by his son Piero from 
1464-1469. 
Piero in turn was 
succeeded by his son 
Lorenzo. 
Piero di Medic...
Lorenzo de' Medici (The Magnificent) 
1449-1492 
His life coincided with the high point of 
the mature phase of the Italia...
Piero succeeded Lorenzo in 1492 but was an 
Piero de' Medici 
(The Unfortunate) 
ineffectual leader and was soon displaced...
Piero de' Medici 
(The Unfortunate) 
Pope Leo X 
l 
Lorenzo de' Medici (The Magnificent) 
Pope Clement VII
Art under the Medici’s 
From the 1440s-1490s, the innovations of 
Masaccio, Brunelleschi, and Donatello 
were expanded upo...
Piero della Francesca [1415-1492] 
The Baptism of Christ 
1450s
Piero della Francesca, Portrait of Federico da Montefeltro 1465
Federico da Montefeltro was the 
prince of the small Italian city of 
Urbino, and was an ideal 
Renaissance prince: a scho...
Filippo Lippi [1406-1469] 
Virgin and Child with 
scenes from the life of 
St. Anne 
1456
Filippo Lippi 
Madonna and Child 
1465
Sandro Botticelli [1445 – 1510] 
Apprenticed to Filippo Lippi, he continued 
his style and use of line. 
His most famous w...
Sandro Botticelli, Primavera, c. 1482.
Was commissioned by Lorenzo Medici as a 
wedding present for his cousin, and would have 
hung in the couple’s bedroom. 
Th...
7 golden apples 
(Medici symbol) 
p Cupid 7 apples 
Zephyr 
(desire) 
Chloris 
(beauty) 
Flora 
Venus 
(their child) 
G 
M...
Botticelli, Birth of Venus, c. 1480
Venus’s nudity is front and center and 
she is seen right at the moment 
before being covered up. 
The work is a fusion of...
Botticelli, Mars and Venus, c. 1475. 
This painting was most likely part of a bed headboard, which would have created the ...
The same female model (Simonetta Vespucci) was 
used for these three paintings, and was considered 
the most beautiful wom...
Girolamo Savonarola (1452 –1498) was 
an Italian Dominican friar and an influential 
contributor to the politics of Floren...
Some Florentine artists responded to 
Savaronola’s sermons by transforming their 
visual style and returning to a more pie...
David, by Donatello, c. 1430-1440 vs 
The Penitent Magdalene, by Donatello, c. 1453-55.
Botticelli’s late works, post Savonarola, 
demonstrate a very noticeable rejection of the 
classically-inspired worldview ...
Botticelli’s “classical” paintings were only 
saved because they were owned by rich 
patrons who were unmoved by 
Savonaro...
Execution of Savonarola and his 
Companions in Piazza Della Signoria, 
Florence, 1498
The Spread of the Renaissance 
The civic humanist ideals along with the 
artistic innovations that began in Florence 
bega...
Northern Renaissance as a term refers to the new 
style of painting in France, Germany, and the 
Netherlands.
Northern Renaissance as a term refers to 
the new style of painting in France, 
Germany, and the Netherlands.
Northern Renaissance
Gothic styles remained an important part of the 
visual arts of the Northern Renaissance (Gothic 
churches for instance co...
These northern painters were able to achieve 
remarkable color effects and detail through their early 
adoption of the new...
Robert Campin, Merode Altarpiece c. 1425 
While this and other Northern Renaissance pieces often do not have the 
accurate...
Jan van Eyck, Ghent Altarpiece, c. 1432
Madonna of 
Chancellor Rolin 
Jan van Eyck, 
1435
Jan van Eyck, 
Arnolfini Portrait, c. 1434 
The best guess is that the subjects are 
Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini and 
Co...
Single candle is 
thought to represent 
either: Flemish 
She is by the bed and 
the door, symbolizing 
wife’s realm of chi...
Johann van Eyck was 
here 
5cm or 2.2” 10cm or 4”
http://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/asset-viewer/the-annunciation/ 
xwFVdn0XxLmf9Q?projectId=art-project 
http://www.g...
In the 15th century, we can also see a 
transformation in artist’s willingness to 
make the human body a focus of attentio...
Adam, from the left wing 
of the Ghent Altarpiece - 
Jan van Eyck, 1425
Descent from the Cross, 
c. 1435-1438
Masaccio [1425] 
The Expulsion of Adam and Eve
Garden of Eden World Before the Flood Hell 
Hieronymus Bosch, Garden of Earthly Delight, c. Bosch Delight c 1510
Albrect Durer (1471-1528) 
Self portrait, 1484 [13 yrs old], 
the youngest self portrait in art 
history
Albrect Durer [1471-1528] 
Self Portrait 1493 
[22 yrs old], 
painted to send to his 
fiancé (whom he had 
never met)
Albrecht Dürer, 
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, c. 1497-1498. 
Woodcut, 15 2/5" x 11".
Albrecht Dürer, 
Melancholia, c. 15148. Copper plate
Gutenberg printing press [1450]
Art and Culture - Module 08 - Renaissance (Mid and Northern)
Art and Culture - Module 08 - Renaissance (Mid and Northern)
Art and Culture - Module 08 - Renaissance (Mid and Northern)
Art and Culture - Module 08 - Renaissance (Mid and Northern)
Art and Culture - Module 08 - Renaissance (Mid and Northern)
Art and Culture - Module 08 - Renaissance (Mid and Northern)
Art and Culture - Module 08 - Renaissance (Mid and Northern)
Art and Culture - Module 08 - Renaissance (Mid and Northern)
Art and Culture - Module 08 - Renaissance (Mid and Northern)
Art and Culture - Module 08 - Renaissance (Mid and Northern)
Art and Culture - Module 08 - Renaissance (Mid and Northern)
Art and Culture - Module 08 - Renaissance (Mid and Northern)
Art and Culture - Module 08 - Renaissance (Mid and Northern)
Art and Culture - Module 08 - Renaissance (Mid and Northern)
Art and Culture - Module 08 - Renaissance (Mid and Northern)
Art and Culture - Module 08 - Renaissance (Mid and Northern)
Art and Culture - Module 08 - Renaissance (Mid and Northern)
Art and Culture - Module 08 - Renaissance (Mid and Northern)
Art and Culture - Module 08 - Renaissance (Mid and Northern)
Art and Culture - Module 08 - Renaissance (Mid and Northern)
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Art and Culture - Module 08 - Renaissance (Mid and Northern)

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Eighth module for GNED 1201 (Aesthetic Experience and Ideas). This one mainly covers the Northern Renaissance, and then moves back to Italy to look at the art of the later 15th century. It also has an extended digression on changing representations of the human body over the 15th century.

This course is a required general education course for all first-year students at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Canada. My version of the course is structured as a kind of Art History and Culture course. Some of the content overlaps with my other Gen Ed course.

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Art and Culture - Module 08 - Renaissance (Mid and Northern)

  1. 1. Lecture 8 MID + NORTHERN RENAISSANCE AESTHETIC EXPERIENCE AND IDEAS
  2. 2. The Medici Family in Florence Was a political dynasty, banking family and later royal house. They produced four popes, two queens of France, and eventually became the unofficial rulers of the Republic of Florence.
  3. 3. Còsimo di Mèdici 1389-1464 In 1434, after a brief time in exile Cosimo was returned to Florence by popular demand and became the de facto leader of the city.
  4. 4. Cosimo was a committed republican and though he manipulated the political system to ensure his family maintained their political power. He also worked to create a lasting peace treaty in 1454 between Florence, Milan, Rome, Venice, and Naples, a peace which lasted until the French invaded in 1494.
  5. 5. Cosimo was a great patronage of arts and scholarship and used his great wealth to improve Florence.
  6. 6. Cosimo was succeeded by his son Piero from 1464-1469. Piero in turn was succeeded by his son Lorenzo. Piero di Medici (the Gouty)
  7. 7. Lorenzo de' Medici (The Magnificent) 1449-1492 His life coincided with the high point of the mature phase of the Italian Renaissance and his death coincided with the end of the Golden Age of Florence. He was also a poet and scholar and spent vast sums of money on cultural projects in Florence. In 1478, Pope Sixtus IV hired assassins (including a priest) to kill Lorenzo while he was at mass. His brother was killed but Lorenzo eventually survived a stab wound to the throat.
  8. 8. Piero succeeded Lorenzo in 1492 but was an Piero de' Medici (The Unfortunate) ineffectual leader and was soon displaced when the French invaded Italy in 1494. Eventually the Medici’s returned to power in Florence by 1512.
  9. 9. Piero de' Medici (The Unfortunate) Pope Leo X l Lorenzo de' Medici (The Magnificent) Pope Clement VII
  10. 10. Art under the Medici’s From the 1440s-1490s, the innovations of Masaccio, Brunelleschi, and Donatello were expanded upon, first in Florence and then throughout the rest of Italy.
  11. 11. Piero della Francesca [1415-1492] The Baptism of Christ 1450s
  12. 12. Piero della Francesca, Portrait of Federico da Montefeltro 1465
  13. 13. Federico da Montefeltro was the prince of the small Italian city of Urbino, and was an ideal Renaissance prince: a scholar, a scientist, a supporter of culture, the builder of one of Europe’s best libraries, and a mercenary general who never lost a battle. He lost his eye in a jousting accident and had part of his nose amputated to provide a better field of vision.
  14. 14. Filippo Lippi [1406-1469] Virgin and Child with scenes from the life of St. Anne 1456
  15. 15. Filippo Lippi Madonna and Child 1465
  16. 16. Sandro Botticelli [1445 – 1510] Apprenticed to Filippo Lippi, he continued his style and use of line. His most famous works are commissions for the Medici’s using themes from classical antiquity and which contain a variety of allusions and allegories.
  17. 17. Sandro Botticelli, Primavera, c. 1482.
  18. 18. Was commissioned by Lorenzo Medici as a wedding present for his cousin, and would have hung in the couple’s bedroom. This might seem a strange gift given the subject matter: the rape of Chloris and her subsequent transformation into Flora, the embodiment of spring.
  19. 19. 7 golden apples (Medici symbol) p Cupid 7 apples Zephyr (desire) Chloris (beauty) Flora Venus (their child) G Mercury (Commerce and reason) Graces (fulfilment) (embodiments of the 3 stages of love: beauty, desire, fulfilment) The painting is a neo-Platonic allegory on love: how desire and beauty can provoke passion and violence or when wedded to reason, it can provoke transcendance and contemplation on the spiritual and divine.
  20. 20. Botticelli, Birth of Venus, c. 1480
  21. 21. Venus’s nudity is front and center and she is seen right at the moment before being covered up. The work is a fusion of classical and Christian ideals.
  22. 22. Botticelli, Mars and Venus, c. 1475. This painting was most likely part of a bed headboard, which would have created the illustration of the two gods lying on the actual physical bed it was above.
  23. 23. The same female model (Simonetta Vespucci) was used for these three paintings, and was considered the most beautiful woman in Florence and was reportedly the lover of the “ruler” of Florence, Giuliano de Medici. She died at age of 22 and thousands attended her funeral. Botticelli later asked to be buried at her feet in the Franciscan Church of Ognissanti.
  24. 24. Girolamo Savonarola (1452 –1498) was an Italian Dominican friar and an influential contributor to the politics of Florence from 1494 until his execution in 1498. He was known for his book burning, destruction of what he considered immoral art, and his vehement preaching against the moral corruption of much of the clergy at the time. He also argued that the nude image is sinful and depraved.
  25. 25. Some Florentine artists responded to Savaronola’s sermons by transforming their visual style and returning to a more pietistic style …
  26. 26. David, by Donatello, c. 1430-1440 vs The Penitent Magdalene, by Donatello, c. 1453-55.
  27. 27. Botticelli’s late works, post Savonarola, demonstrate a very noticeable rejection of the classically-inspired worldview of his earlier works. He even destroyed a number of his works that included nudity. Shown here: Lamentation over the Dead Christ with Saints (1490) Mystic Nativity (1501)
  28. 28. Botticelli’s “classical” paintings were only saved because they were owned by rich patrons who were unmoved by Savonarola.
  29. 29. Execution of Savonarola and his Companions in Piazza Della Signoria, Florence, 1498
  30. 30. The Spread of the Renaissance The civic humanist ideals along with the artistic innovations that began in Florence began to spread throughout Northern Italy in the 1440s-1500s.
  31. 31. Northern Renaissance as a term refers to the new style of painting in France, Germany, and the Netherlands.
  32. 32. Northern Renaissance as a term refers to the new style of painting in France, Germany, and the Netherlands.
  33. 33. Northern Renaissance
  34. 34. Gothic styles remained an important part of the visual arts of the Northern Renaissance (Gothic churches for instance continued to be built well into the 16th century). Northern Renaissance painting generally was less interested with perspective and naturalism (that is with form) and more on color and details. As well, there is initially much less interest outside of Italy on classical past
  35. 35. These northern painters were able to achieve remarkable color effects and detail through their early adoption of the new invention of oil paints.
  36. 36. Robert Campin, Merode Altarpiece c. 1425 While this and other Northern Renaissance pieces often do not have the accurate perspective of contemporary Italian works, there is an attention to detail (often requiring a magnifying glass to see) as well as less homage to classical forms.
  37. 37. Jan van Eyck, Ghent Altarpiece, c. 1432
  38. 38. Madonna of Chancellor Rolin Jan van Eyck, 1435
  39. 39. Jan van Eyck, Arnolfini Portrait, c. 1434 The best guess is that the subjects are Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini and Costanza Trenta who were married in 1426. The Arnolfini were rich Italian merchants living in Bruges. She died in 1433, the year before it was painted.
  40. 40. Single candle is thought to represent either: Flemish She is by the bed and the door, symbolizing wife’s realm of child wedding day custom, the holy ghost, or that this is a memorial painting for his dead wife (notice the candle He is by window, symbolizing husband’s rearing and household management. But because she looks at him (and not down) painter is showing she is her husband’s social stub on her side). focus on the sphere of commerce and politics husband s equal. She is not pregnant: rather she is showing off h lth(lt flth her wealth (lots of cloth = rich) as well as the couple’s desire for children. Oranges were extremely expensive imports and symbolize love. Hands here might indicate a marriage ceremony, or evidence of a business transaction (she is being given the right to conduct business on husband’s behalf) Removal of shoes in a Dog represents fidelity b d i di t d … or perhaps it is just a dog. bedroom indicated sexual passion.
  41. 41. Johann van Eyck was here 5cm or 2.2” 10cm or 4”
  42. 42. http://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/asset-viewer/the-annunciation/ xwFVdn0XxLmf9Q?projectId=art-project http://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/asset-viewer/triptych-the- crucifixion/3gF9kN6BYvNuxw?projectId=art-project http://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/asset-viewer/lucca-madonna/ YQF1hx5g-8VglQ?projectId=art-project http://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/asset-viewer/portrait-of- a-lady/pwGhp-hQAnSBdg?projectId=art-project http://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/asset-viewer/portrait-of- isabella-of-portugal/dQFnG1h6Jg1hYg?projectId=art-project
  43. 43. In the 15th century, we can also see a transformation in artist’s willingness to make the human body a focus of attention.
  44. 44. Adam, from the left wing of the Ghent Altarpiece - Jan van Eyck, 1425
  45. 45. Descent from the Cross, c. 1435-1438
  46. 46. Masaccio [1425] The Expulsion of Adam and Eve
  47. 47. Garden of Eden World Before the Flood Hell Hieronymus Bosch, Garden of Earthly Delight, c. Bosch Delight c 1510
  48. 48. Albrect Durer (1471-1528) Self portrait, 1484 [13 yrs old], the youngest self portrait in art history
  49. 49. Albrect Durer [1471-1528] Self Portrait 1493 [22 yrs old], painted to send to his fiancé (whom he had never met)
  50. 50. Albrecht Dürer, Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, c. 1497-1498. Woodcut, 15 2/5" x 11".
  51. 51. Albrecht Dürer, Melancholia, c. 15148. Copper plate
  52. 52. Gutenberg printing press [1450]

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