The History of Art And The Curious Lives of Famous Painters


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Northern Renaissance versus the Italian Renaissance

The four main technical differences that set the Northern Renaissance painters apart from Italian Renaissance painters is their use of superior paints, painting from direct observation, detailed realism and empirical perspective.

The Northern Renaissance was a time of great intellectual and spiritual awakening. Many of the early paintings of the Northern Renaissance perished through time and the fierceness with which the Iconoclastic battles were waged. The Northern Renaissance was different from the Italian Renaissance in many ways. Painters of the North focused upon secular society rather than the Church and overblown religious themes. Northern Renaissance painters emphasis the daily life of the merchant and peasant class. They also put a greater emphasis on devotional piety, spirituality, and living a simple life. Artists such as Dieric Boutsand Peter Brugal the Elder painted inspirational mythology, biblical scenes, the merchant class at work, idyllic scenes of peasants working at everyday tasks, playing games and feasting.

Northern Renaissance painters seemed more in touch with the people. According to art historian John C. Van Dyke "They were perhaps less versatile, less volatile, less like the French and more like the Germans. Fond of homely joys and the quiet peace of town and domestic life, the Dutch were matter-of-fact in all things, sturdy, honest, coarse at times, sufficient unto themselves, and caring little for what other people did. Just so with their painters. They were realistic at times to grotesqueness. Little troubled with fine poetic frenzies they painted their own lives in street, town-hall, tavern, and kitchen, conscious that it was good because true to themselves.."

The Italian Renaissance, on the other hand, focused more on the aristocracy and the theocracy. Painters 
highlighted the individual and glorified worldly pleasures, Paintings were sumptuous, elaborate, expressive, and exhalted wealthy and powerful people. The Italian Renaissance painters focused heavily on religion, Roman Catholicism. Popes and church hierarchy were wealthy, powerful rulers. Like kings they were depicted in elaborate settings swaddled in furs and silks.  Albert Durer noted "The Italians, having before their eyes the treasures of ancient statuary, were able to acquire the purity and correctness of the drawing quickly. They have learned to give their figures this suppleness and elegance of pose, and to clothe them with artistically arranged draperies. The Germans, on the contrary, had only one model: nature. Also if their poses have some stiffness, so their heads are almost all portraits, they great charm and delicious naiveté in expression. In a way, they are closer to the truth."

Important Words, People, Phrases, Characteristics related to the Northern Renaissance Art Movement -  allegorical painting,  rebirth, invention of oil painting,   Hieronymus Bosch, Limbourg Brothers, Desiderius Erasmus,  Robert Campin, Jan Van Eyck, Jean Fouquet, Albrecht Dürer, Johannes Gutenberg, Johann Reuchlin, Martin Luther, rise of the merchant class, world landscape,  Low Countries, Protestant Reformation, Calvinisim, glazing, impasto, scriptorium, illuminator, invention of the printing press, woodcuts, engravings, Antwerp School, Guild of Saint Luke, commerce, Flemish School, Northern Europe, Flanders, Bruges, renewed interest in classical learning,  mythological scenes, genre painting, landscapes, portraits, moralizing overtones, human vices, lust, paradise, spirituality, piousness, living a simple life, reformHuman Reasoning,  tradesmen at work, idyllic scenes of peasantsplaying games, feasting,  linear perspective, \Heliocentric Theory, humour, satire,  spiritually significant, illuminated manuscriptidealized biblical themes, scriptorium, emotion, illuminator,  iconoclast, Age of Discovery, Virgin and Child, axonometric drawing, curiosity about the natural world,  realistic use of colours and lightOld Testament stories, Gospel parables, The Blackdeath,  Christian symbolism


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