playlist

Introducing: The Northern European Renaissance

    7 
    Favorite
    Share

While “the Renaissance” usually refers to Italian art from the 15th to 17th centuries, the Northern Renaissance refers to work in the same time period from Germany, the Netherlands, and other Northern European countries. Northern Renaissance works more strictly subject New Testament narratives and patrons compared to their Italian counterparts, which also portray Classical mythology.

Early painters like Robert Campin are credited with pioneering the thin layers of oil paint that create the luminous images we associate with Renaissance painting as a whole. Campin received many commissions during his career, placing portraits of his patrons in the biblical scenes he painted. The Mérode Altarpiece (1425–28), for example, includes the two patrons on the left panel, peeping into the Annunciation scene from the bible. A few years later, Jan van Eyck perfected minute details in paintings like in Ghent Altarpiece, 1432. Hieronymus Bosch’s 1495–1505 masterpiece The Garden of Earthly Delights extended the possibilities of detail so much so that it is impossible to take in the entire painting with one look.

In 1450, the printing press was invented in Germany; as it increased in availability, it rendered Medieval era’s labor-intensive illuminated manuscripts obsolete. Albrecht Dürer took advantage of this new technology and quickly became renowned for his highly circulated woodblock prints that easily, and seemingly magically, brought images of Italian art to Northern Europe. Since artworks were no longer necessarily one of a kind and books were printed with ease, a broader range of people accessed highbrow culture and information.

Read more

Works

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, from the Ghent Altarpiece
The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, from the Ghent Altarpiece
The Descent from the Cross
The Descent from the Cross
Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve
Parable of the Blind
Parable of the Blind
Hunters in the Snow (Winter)
Hunters in the Snow (Winter)
Portrait of Henry VIII of England
Portrait of Henry VIII of England
The Great Piece of Turf
The Great Piece of Turf
Self Portrait at the Age of Twenty-Eight
Self Portrait at the Age of Twenty-Eight
The Garden of Earthly Delights
The Garden of Earthly Delights