Northern Renaissance Art

Northern Renaissance Art:

The Northern Renaissance refers to the Renaissance outside of Italy however in Europe. Typically the major centers for art included the Germany, Netherlands, and France and all of these countries have become known through the collective name of Northern (North of Italy). Northern Renaissance Art simultaneously evolved however independently from its Italian counterpart. In Italy patrons of the arts tended to be big and very rich families, the Catholic Church, or commissions from the several city states who competed along with each other for power and prestige. The house of Burgundy was influential as a patron of the Northern artists (Van Eyke is a good instance), the fact is that we do not have as much information regarding the artists of the North, their work is spread wider and generally less well documented than that of their Italian counterparts. The artists of the North differed through their Italian counterparts in that the effect of Gothic art was much longer lasting than in Italy and, though the precision of the early Northern works was much admired in Italy, Northern artists absorbed only Italian ideas at the ending of the 15th century.

In Burgundy, the Northern Renaissance has got its start primarily in the graphic arts. Starting in the 14th-century, an artist could make a good living if he was proficient in generating illuminated manuscripts. Now, illumination was intended to highlight a specific word or passage in a manuscript, and make it stand out in significance. Sometime throughout the 1300s, though, illumination sort of went the way of that drunken guy at the party - the normally quiet one, who suddenly does a solo dance along with a lampshade on his head.

The late 14th & early 15th centuries saw illumination take off and, in some of the cases, take over whole pages. Rather than comparatively sedate red capital letters, now we saw whole paintings (albeit small in scale) crowding manuscript pages right out to the borders. The French Royals, in particular, were avid collectors of these manuscripts, which became so famous that text was rendered basically unimportant.

The best surviving early instance of these richly shown manuscripts was formed (from 1413-16) for the Duke of Berry though the Netherlandish painters known as the Limbourg Brothers. The "Book of Hours" (correctly: Les Trés Riches Heures du Duc de Berry) had religious scenes (there was no getting around that), plus "calendar pages" that illustrated peasants and nobles, alike, going about their business in the local countryside.

Only it made sense that, since the paintings were the famous element of painting, manuscripts should move to a larger surface. Gladly, now it was possible to paint on wood or canvas, in the north, because of the development of oil paints.

The Northern Renaissance artist who is credited largely along with developing oil techniques was Jan van Eyck, court painter to the Duke of Burgundy. It's not that he exposed oil paints, but he did make out how to layer them, in "glazes," to create light and depth of color in his paintings. The Flemish van Eyck, his brother Hubert, and their Netherlandish predecessor Robert Campin (also known as the Master of Flémalle) were all of the painters who built altarpieces in the first half of the fifteenth century.

Three other key Netherlandish artists were the painters Hans Memling and Rogier van der Weyden, and the sculptor Claus Sluter. Van der Weyden, who was the town painter of Brussels, was best known for introducing precise human gestures and emotions into his work, which was primarily of a religious nature.

One other early Northern Renaissance artist that produced a lasting stir was the enigmatic Hieronymus Bosch. No one can say what his inspiration was, but certainly he created some darkly imaginative and extremely unique paintings.

Something that all these painters had in common was their use of naturalistic objects in compositions. Sometimes these objects had symbolic meanings, whereas at other times they were presently there to illustrate aspects of daily life.

In taking in the 15th century, it's significant to note down that Flanders was the center of the Northern Renaissance. Just as along Florence  at this same time Flanders was the place that northern artists looked to for "cutting edge" technology and artistic techniques. This situation persisted till the year 1477, while the last Burgundian Duke was defeated in battle and Burgundy ceased to be present.

France absorbed the southern partition of the former Duchy, whereas Flanders and the rest of the Netherlands passed into the hands of the Holy Roman Empire (whose seat of power was in Spain). In addition, now England had a strong ruler and was a force to be reckoned with. All factors, combined, lessened Flanders' influence on the Northern Renaissance. Actually, art in the north started to flourish in several locations.

How does the northern renaissance differ from the southern renaissance?

It based on areas that interest you, such like architecture and art or whole history of that era. As renaissance was born in Italy, Italian renaissance narrowly followed classical art and had motivation all over. Northern Europe lacked such motivation; thus, they ought to borrow the style and change it for it local specifics. There were also differences among renaissance art, based on the origin, such like, German, Holland, , Hungary, Poland and so on.

Southern Renaissance peaked at the straining of the 16th century, however subsequent decline of Italy caused several artists to seek employment north of the Alps. This period is frequently nicknamed as early renaissance in continental Europe, as first renaissance art was generated directly by Italians. They groomed artists in these lands, and came up along with own invention of renaissance that we call High Renaissance and peaked around the year of 1570. The Italian renaissance was frequently unpractical in Northern and Central Europe. The climate was not good for construction of Italian villas, the material like marble was difficult to discover, and the decorative materials vary from Mediterranean climate. Italian style was very apparent (such white painted walls), simple (such columns were round and fine), and building were suited to human dimension and frequently lacked ornaments. Northern style brought more decoration to the cities north of the Alps, such like stuccos and frescos, and wider usage of, iron, wood, tiles and bricks.

In brief southern renaissance predate northern renaissance for 70 years, it was generated art that was the most intimately copy of classical era. It honored simplicity and human dimension, whereas northern renaissance manifested material wealth of the region. 

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