analysis paper for art history
750 words analysis of a paintingFifteenth-Century Art in Northern Europe
Module 1

15th Century Art in Northern Europe and the Iberian Peninsula

Flanders (Belgium), Holland, Germany, and France

Social Overview – Northern Renaissance
The rise of the “self-made man”
Art as a way to express, literally and figuratively, spiritual and material wealth
An interest in the natural world
Power shared among nobles, Church and merchants

Art Overview – Northern Renaissance
Attention to earthly detail – exact description
Intuitive perspective, modeling with light and shadow
Atmospheric perspective for landscape
Artist identity, subject identity of utmost importance

Chartreuse de Champmol, Dijon, France
Philip the Bold of Burgundy (French Duke) founds Carthusian Monastery c. 1385
The Altarpiece

Melchior Broederlam. Annunciation, Visitation, Presentation in the Temple, and Flight into Egypt, exterior of the wings of the altarpiece of the Chartreuse de Champmol, 1393-1399, Oil on wood panel, 1.67 x 1.25 m.

International Gothic
Originated with the Avignon Papacy in the late 14th century, spread throughout Northern Europe
Slender, graceful figures
Rich materials, brilliant colors (oil)
Contrast of intense detail with miniaturized elements of landscape and architecture
Diminution, tilting and atmospheric perspective

January (L) and February (R) pages from the Calendar of the Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, France, 1413–16, Illuminated manuscript.

Mary of Burgundy Painter, Mary at her Devotions, Hours of Mary of Burgundy, before 1482. Colors and ink on parchment, size of image 19.1 x 13.3 cm.

Painting in Flanders – 15th Century
Unlike in France, many city governments
Work controlled by guilds (overlap with civic authorities)
Preference for oil painting
Intense naturalistic detail
Symbolism of the natural world

Robert Campin, Mérode Altarpiece, c. 1430, Oil on oak panel.

Jan Van Eyck, Arnolfini Wedding Portrait, 1434, Oil on oak panel.

THE GHENT ALTARPIECE, by Jan van Eyck, 1432, oil on wood, St. Bavo Cathedral, Ghent, Belgium

EXTERIOR of the Ghent Altarpiece by Jan van Eyck

Exterior bottom: two figures painted in “grisaille” (grayscale) in center (St. John the Baptist and John the Evangelist); two donors kneeling outside in niches

Exterior top: Annunciation with prophets and sibyls who foretell Christ’s coming

Dieric Bouts, Virgin and Child, c. 1455-1460. Oil on wood panel, 21.6 x 16.5 cm.

Hans Memling. Diptych of Maarten van Nieuwenhove, 1487. Oil on wood panel, each panel (including frames) 52 x 41.5

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