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Allegorical Paintings During The Northern Renaissance

Melancholy by Lucas Cranach is a dark allegory of the deteriorating political and spiritual situation in  the Holy Roman Empire during the sixteenth century.

According to author G. G. Zerffi "In the Allegory the artist represents congruities, traces connections, unites analogies and separates differences.271 Imagination has in allegories an inexhaustible field for composition. Types are signs, arbitrarily interpreted as meaning something, which they may or may not mean. Emblems with the Greeks were golden or silver figures which could be detached from vessels. With the Romans the word was used as a synonym for symbol or metaphor. They became with us Christians signs in colours. White or blue was the emblem of innocence, red of joy, black of mourning, green of hope, and purple of power or dignity."

The four figures represnt the Four Temperaments The angel is a personification of melancholy and the frolicking toddlers represent sanguine, the phlegmatic, and the choleric temperaments.  In Cranach’s painting, melancholy is dressed in red which might be  linked to something demonic. Outside the window, decending from a ominous black cloud, demons and witches ride forth. The demon is the center of the dark cloud is also wearing red. The white dogpossibly representing faith and loyalty, appears troubled and angry being in such company.

Melancholy, c. 1532, Northern Renaissance by Lucas Cranach The Elder 

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 peasants playing games,feasting,  linear perspective, \Heliocentric Theory, humour, satire,  spiritually significant, illuminated manuscript idealized biblical themes, scriptorium, emotion, illuminator, iconoclast, Age of Discovery, Virgin and Child, axonometric drawing, curiosity about the natural world,  realistic use of colours and light Old Testament stories, Gospel parables, The Blackdeath,  Christian symbolism


Important Northern Renaissance  Artists

Quentin Massys (1466–1530  Flemish
Rogier van der Weyden (1399-1464) Dutch
Jan van Eyck (1385 - 1441) Flemish
Robert Campin  1375-1444 Dutch
Hans Melming 1434-1494  German
Petrus Christus (1420–1476) Netherlandish
Simon Marmion  (1425-1489)  French Early Netherlandish 
Jan Provoost  (1465–1529) Flemish School, Netherlandish 
Hugo Van Der Goes (1430-1482)
Joos van Cleve (1485 – 1540) Netherlandish 
Joachim Patinir (1480 –1524) Flemish School
Gerard David  (1469-1519) Early Netherlandish
Hubert van Eyck (1385–1426) Flemish
Michael Wolgemut (1434–1519) German
Michael Pacher (1435– 1498) Austrian
Colijn de Coter (1445–1532) Netherlandish
Pieter Pourbus (1523-1584) Flemish School
Gerard Horenbout  (1465 - 1541) Flemish School,
Jean Malouel (1365-1415) French Early Netherlandish
Hieronymus Bosch (1453 - 1516) Dutch
Dieric Bouts the Elder (1413-1475) Dutch


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