The History of Art And The Curious Lives of Famous Painters



Search:: Artists Alphabetically   Artists by Country   Artists by Century   Artists by Movement

Northern Renaissance Mythological Themed Painting

Landscape with Charon Crossing the Styx by Joachim Patinir c.1519, Prado Museum, Madrid

Landscape with Charon Crossing the Styx depicts a classic subject from the Aeneid  and Inferno , in which Charon ferries a human soul who must decide between heaven and hell. In Greek mythology the Charon was the ferryman of the dead, an underworld spirit in the service of the King of Hell. Heaven is on the left side with angels and a river leading to a luminous white building in the background. Hell is on the opposite side, dingier and  darker with eternal fires buring in the city of the damned. The ferryman appears nervous and sly. The water becomes darker upon approach. The hesitant spirit must choose between right and wrong.

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


If you feel you have worthwhile information you would like to contribute we would love to hear from you. We collect essential biographical information and artist quotes from folks all over the globe and appreciate your participation. When submitting please, if possible, site the source and provide English translation. Email to



© If you like this page and wish to share it, you are welcome to link to it, with our thanks. updated 4/2017

ref.The Story of Bruges by Ernest Gilliat-Smith