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Parent categories: Europe - Renaissance
Related: Flemish Primitives - Germany - art - protestantism
People: Hieronymus Bosch - Brueghel - Lucas Cranach - Albrecht Dürer - Hans Baldung Grien - Matthias Grünewald - Hans Holbein - Quentin Matsys - Hans Memling
The 7 Ages of Woman - Hans Baldung Grien (1484-1545)
The Ugly Duchess (1525-30) - Quentin Matsys
[Oil on wood, 64 x 45,5 cm National Gallery, London]
Judgment of Paris (1518) - Niklaus Manuel
--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niklaus Manuel [Jan 2006]
Venus Standing in a Landscape (1529) - Lucas Cranach the Elder
Matthies Grunewald, The Temptation of Saint Anthony (Detail from Panel from Isenheim Altarpiece), 1515
Three Ages of the Woman and the Death (1510) Hans Baldung Grien (1484 - 1545)
image sourced here. [Mar 2005]
Dead Lovers (1528) Matthias Grünewald
image sourced here. [Mar 2005]
The Renaissance was originally centered in Italy, but in time spread throughout all of Europe. In France King Francis I imported Italian art and artists, including Leonardo da Vinci. At great expense he built ornate palaces. Writers such as Rabelais also borrowed from the spirit of the Italian Renaissance. From France the spirit of the age spread to the Low Countries and Germany, and finally to England by the late sixteenth century. There the Elizabethan era saw writers such as William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe as well as great artists, composers, and architects.
The Northern Renaissance, unlike that of Italy, was marked by the centralization of political power as potent nation states emerged throughout Western Europe. The Northern Renaissance was also closely linked to the Protestant Reformation and the long series of internal and external conflicts that resulted. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Renaissance [Mar 2005]
Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting
In the late 15th century, when Italian Renaissance influences begin to show, the influence of the Early Netherlandish masters, such as Van Eyck,Rogier van der Weyden, and Memling, leads to a largely religious and narrative style of painting.
The first painter showing the marks of the new era is Hieronymus Bosch. His work is strange and full of seemingly irrational imagery, making it difficult to interpret. Most of all it seems surprisingly modern, introducing a world of dreams that highly contrasts with the traditional style of the Flemish masters of his day.
After 1550 the Flemish and Dutch painters begin to show more interest in nature and in beauty an sich, leading to a style that incorporates Renaissance elements, but remains far from the elegant lightness of Italian Renaissance art,  and directly leads to the themes of the great Flemish and Dutch Baroque painters: landscapes, still lifes and genre painting - scenes from everyday life.
This evolution is seen in the works of Joachim Patinir and Pieter Aertsen, but the true genius among these painters was Pieter Brueghel the Elder, well known for his depictions of nature and everyday life, showing a preference for the natural condition of man, choosing to depict the peasant instead of the prince.
The Fall of Icarus painting combines several elements of Northern Renaissance painting. It hints at the renewed interest for antiquity (the Icarus legend), but the hero Icarus is hidden away in the background. The main actors in the painting are nature itself and, most prominently, the peasant, who does not even look up from his plough when Icarus falls. Brueghel shows man as an anti-hero, comical and sometimes grotesque. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_and_Flemish_Renaissance_painting [Sept 2006]
Early Renaissance paintingEarly Renaissance painting bridges the period of European art history between the art of the Middle Ages and the art of the Renaissance.
Two regions of Europe were particularly artistically active during this period: northern Europe (essentially Flanders) and Italy. The Renaissance is considered to have reached northern Europe in the 16th century. Thus, most of the Early Renaissance works in northern Europe were produced between 1420 and 1550. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_Renaissance_painting [Dec 2004]
The wild army (c. 1520) - Urs Graf
Urs Graf (born 1485 in Solothurn, Switzerland; died after 1529) was a Swiss Renaissance painter and engraver.
Graf learned his profession first from his father, Hugo Graf, then from a goldsmith in Zürich. He initially earned money as a desinger of book illustrations and by assisting a stained glass painter. In 1512, he became a member of the goldsmith guild and a citizen of Basel. He quickly came in conflict with the law for abusing his wife and supporting prostitution, cumulating in attempted murder, making him leave the city in 1518. He was reinvited to Basel one year later and continued working. In 1527, he vanished from the city, never to be found again, though a signed drawing from 1529 exists.
Graf was also known for abandoning work and family to pursue military endeavours as a mercenary. His artistic work, in the tradition of Albrecht Dürer and Hans Baldung, somehow followed his "other intersts", depicting (besides the political situation) social, erotic, and violent scenes, for example Two Prostitutes Beating a Monk, though a strong religious aspect emerges sometimes. He is among the first to use the white-line engraving technique. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urs_Graf [Dec 2005]
See also: Northern Renaissance - 1400s - 1500s
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