Key Ideas: 1.
An active prosperous capitalist society inspired a cultural ferment in 15th century Flanders and Holland.
Important secular works of 15th century are influenced by Gothic church architecture
International Gothic style dominates Northern European painting in the early 15th century.
Flemish painting is characterized by symbolically rich layers of meaning applied to crowed compositions with high horizon lines.
Secular art becomes increasingly important.
The introduction of printmaking, the fist mass-produced art form, radically transforms art history.
Cities competed against each other with their artwork, notably cathedrals and alterpieces.
Characteristics of Early N. European Renaissance architecture
Elements of Gothic church architecture were grafted onto secular buildings, tuning them into monastically inspired buildings for the rich and famous.
Innovations of Northern Renaissance Painting.
– Artists used mostly oil paint. Oil paint has rich colors, sharp details, retains its luster for a long time, and preserves well in wet climates. Takes a long time to dry, allowing artists to change things while painting.
Characteristics of Northern Renaissance Painting
– Alterpieces were cupboards rather than screens, and had wings that opened and closed. Some were portable (Merode Tryptych) and other were meant to be housed in an elaborate Gothic frame that enclosed the main scenes (Ghent Alterpiece).
– Alterpieces have a scene painted on the outside visibly during the week, and the interior is exposed on Sunday.
– Artists heavily influenced by International Gothic style. This style features thin, graceful figures that usually have an S-shaped curve, as does late Gothic sculpture.
– Costumes are splendidly depicted with the latest fashions and most stylish fabrics.
– Gold is used in abundance to indicate the wealth of the figures and the patrons who sponsored the works.
– Architecture is usually rendered with the walls of buildings opened up so that the viewer can look into the interior. Often have elaborate frames.
– Continued practice of opening up wall spaces to see into rooms, such as in the Merode Tryptych.
– High horizons are the norm, as in the Portinari Alterpiece.
– Rampant and frequent symbolism.
Characterisitcs of Early Northern Renaissance Sculpture
Continues Gothic progression of having figures move away from the surrounding wall, although complete indepence is not achieved as quickly as it is in Italy.
Classical drapery and nascent contrapposto emerges in the works of Claus Sluter, notably in “The Well of Moses”.