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Renaissance in N. Europe and
Northern Renaissance
• term: “Northern Renaissance”
– more of a grafting or fusion of Italian
innovations with local traditions
• difference from Italy:
– neither heritage of Antiquity’s ideals nor beauty
of human anatomy consistently manifested
– focus
• extreme states of emotion
• visible surface appearance
Northern Renaissance
• context: Protestant Reformation
– Martin Luther (1483-1546)
• pivotal figure
• publication of Ninety-five
Theses (1517)
– justification by faith
alone instead of by good
– attacked indulgences of
Catholic Church
– led to breaking away of
most north German
states from Church of
Northern Renaissance
• Iconoclasms in N. Europe
• Some art destroyed, other artists
stove to represent figures w/o
creating “pagan idols”
• Durer represents the
combination of N. Renaissance
realism with the Italian concern
for size and monumnetality
Bosch’s Earthly Delights
• Bosch’s Earthly Delights
– “Third Day of Creation”
• patron: aristocratic
• theme: Humanist
• outer panel when closed
• complete work consists of
four paintings on a series
of folding panels
• scale: large
– center panel > 7’ x 6’
Hieronymous Bosch, Garden of Earthly Delights, oil on wood, 7’2” x 3’2”, 1505-1515,
now in Prado, Madrid. Allegory of evil, symbolism, and some say surrealism.
Garden of Earthly Delights Video
Center panel - flashcard
• Hieronymus Bosch
– Garden of Earthly Delights
(c. 1510-15)
• subject: Sin
• narrative: allegorical
– humans’ inability to
save themselves
– alchemy (?)
• mood: fantastic &
nightmarish vision
– antecedents in recent
Gothic past
– over 1K figures
Hell panel from Bosch
• Bosch’s Earthly Delights
– “Hell”
• setting: dark world of
fire & ice
• theme: sensual pleasures
turned into elements of
• figures: hybrid forms,
unnatural unions
• color: vibrant
• light/shadow:
• aerial perspective: night
Annunciation and Virgin of the
Rosary, painted & gilt
limewood, 12’2” x 10’6”, 1517,
Velt Stoss
Northern Europe artists made
intricately carved altarpieces
and sculptures from wood
Hagenaur’s St. Anthony Enthroned, Shrine of the Isenheim Altarpiece (open)
Isenheim Altarpiece, oil on wood, Matthias Grunewald… 9’9” x 10’9”, 1515.. Isenheim,
France-3 views, made for hospital of people suffering St. Anthony’s disease, ergotism,
agony of ergotism shown in Christ (amputation in next view)
Grunewald, Isenheim Altarpiece, first opening…
Albrecht Dürer, Self-Portrait,
oil on wood, 26’ x 19”, 1500
Christ-like pose, not
blasphemous, human creativity
as a reflection of God’s divinity
Frontality, symmetry, triangular
Combined Italian
monumentality w/N. European
precision (van Eyck?)
Durer studied in Italy, was also
Four Horsemen of the
Apocalypse, woodcut, Durer,
Book of Revelations (Bible),
Gothic forms inspired by
No background, no division
between earth and heaven
Famine (scales), war (sword),
death (pitchfork), and pestilence
Crowded composition, horsemen
ride over dead bodies
Artist: Albrecht Dürer
Title: Adam and Eve
Medium: Engraving
Size: 9⅞ X 7⅝" (25.1 X
19.4 cm)
Date: 1504
Contrapossto figures with
classical sculpture influence
Four humors - rabbit
(energy), elk (sad), ox
(lethargic), cat (angry).
Mouse = Satan, parrot =
clever, Adam tries to
dissuade Eve
Detailed in northern
Four Apostles, Durer
Oil on wood, 7” x 30” each
panel, 1526
Four humors AGAIN… John
sanguine, Paul melancholic,
Mark choleric, Peter
Italian size, N. European
attention to detail
Peter = Pope in rome,
shown in shadow
Mark and Paul on right
Danube Landscape, Albrecht Alttdorfer
Oil on vellum on wood panel, 12” x 8”
Landscapes became very popular in
Northern Europe…
Altdorfer and Bruegel were 2 famous
landscape artists from this era…..
Bruegel although he studied in Italy, did
not show much Italian influence…
Pieter Bruegel the Elder, the Fall of Icarus, oil on panel, 29” x 44”, 1555
Return of the Hunters, Pieter Bruegel, oil on wood, 1565, part of series of seasonal
paintings. Hunters are peasant types; strong diagonals in picture. Typical scene rather
than a specific narrative. Winter landscape in Belgium. FLASHCARD
In SPAIN, El Greco studied
Mannerism in Italy.. . Then
returned to create dramatic,
interesting compositions
Burial of Count Orgaz, oil on
canvas, 1585…
Tomb located directly below the
painting. Painting
commissioned 300 yrs after his
death! Great philanthropist,.
Combo of Venetian color,
Spanish mysticism, Mannerism
View of Toledo, oil on
canvas; 47” x 42”,
Metropolitan Museum
of Art, New York
El Greco
Also painted
landscapes, with
drama of mannerism
and expressive
brushstrokes and color
Henry VIII, Hans Holbein, oil
on wood, 32” 29”,
Holbein was court painter in
Showed monumentality of
King Henry VIII< who was a
very large man
Mannerist influence
Some women artist, such as
Caterina van Hemessen in her
Self-portrait, worked in the
Northern Renaissanc es well…
Princess Elizabeth, Levina Bening
Teerlinc, 42” x 32”, 1559
Levina was court painter in
England, skilled portraitist.
This portrait is in Windsor Castle