Northern Renaissance Art History Essay
Miracle of Saint Gregory. Exterior of Triptych of Adoration of the Magi. Oil on panel 1510.
painted in grisailles
2. represents Vision of Saint Gregory
3. Christ’s body above altar reaffirms his real presence in sacrament
4. crucifixion placed at the peak to emphasize that it’s the climax
gray tones invite quiet contemplation
no overt representation of emotion or drama
2. simple figures
3. emphasis on large trunk of earthly riches before bed of dying man being attacked by demons
4. Death with an arrow fixes his mark on old man
no resolution depicted – unclear whether miser goes to heaven or hell
somber mood (not joyous)
2. composition: tree branch hangs over Mary and Child, Mary and Child are separated from other figures, shepherds peer through a break in the wall
3. grim reminder of the ruinous state of the world before coming of Christ – hut is falling apart, bundle of thistle is tied in imitation of star of Bethlehem, group of shady figures look sinister (one of which represent False Christ)
4. no happy omen or hope for salvation, very pessimistic
Bosch. Carrying of the Cross. Oil on panel.
2. composition: snarling heads, bulging eyes, crocked noses, Christ in center with eyes closed, sinister reds and blues
3.two diagonal lines intersect the head of Christ – one is in the arm of the cross that extends downward from top left of bad thief, second is from lower left of Madonna to upper right with good thief
4. Veronica’s veil has icon of Christ – shows that it’s acceptable to have devotional images
5. depiction of grotesque humanity (anti Semetic)
6. while other depictions show much more landscape scenery, this focuses on Christ
The Haywain Triptych. Oil on panel. 1500. Outer panel (The Wayfarer).
2. wayfayer – pilgrim wandering through life, tried to steer himself away from temptations that surround him
3. landscape is full of danger
4.sense of order contrasts with disorder in interior panels
Bosch. Creation and Expulsion. The Haywain Triptych. Oil on panel.
2. various elements of creation – God creates Eve out of Adam’s rib, temptation of Adam and Eve, Adam and Eve cast out of heaven because ashamed of nakedness
The Haywain. The Haywain Triptych. Oil on panel. 1500.
2. hay – symbolizes material wealth, temptation of sin (greed)
3. hay is depicted throughout the entire panel to show that everyone is susceptible to sin
4.Christ above haystack – futile presence
5. negative view of any sort of pleasure because it was a sign of spiritual emptiness
5. top of haystack shows less overt sins than bottom area
The Haywain Triptych. Oil on panel. 1500.
reds, yellows, and tans
2. hell is depicted as a flaming city
3. huge tower under construction – there weren’t enough chambers for the vast numbers of sinners entering hell
4. gruesome punishment of the wicked
Bosch. Garden of Earthly Delights Triptych. Oil on panel.
2. rather than being a holy shrine, it was a showpiece for intellectual discussion
Garden of Earthly Delights Triptych. Oil on panel. 1500-1505. Outer panels.
2. earth depicted as sphere before creation of humans
3. end of day 3 of creation – no humans yet, lots of vegetation
Paradise. Garden of Earthly Delights Triptych. Oil on panel. 1500-1505.
2. this takes place on the eve of the sin
3. intimate circle of contact between Adam, Eve, and God
4.Eve has sheepish expression but still presents body to Adam
5. humanity’s innate predisposition to sin (even before original sin)
6. pink structure inside of pond
7. bizarre landscape: unicorn, three headed lizard, fish with human hands are foreign animals
juxtaposition between humanity and bizarre landscape shows that humans can have relationship with God that animals cannot
9. presence of owl in center of panel is evil
Garden of Earthly Delights from Garden of Earthly Delights Triptych. Oil on panel. 1500-1505.
spatial relationship with left and right panels – bizarre animals, central pond with fountain
2. represents what life would have been like if Adam and Eve did not commit original sin
3. first zone of landscape: human figures engage in amorous activities in a shameless way, big birds,
4. second zone of landscape: circular pond, initial stage of courtship to show off to females.
Man in the cave is Adam and woman resting is Eve – shows how descendants of Adam and Eve repeat sins
5. enormous berries (larger than humans),
6. group of first primitive humans (some have brownish fur on them), pointing man is only clothed figure, woman has a plug blocking her mouth
7. depictions of humans in elemental world of God’s creations seems to say that there’s little difference between man and animal
bubble has visible cracks – symbolizes that this comfort won’t last forever
9. larger water hole contains women and men surrounding it possibly trying to get the attention of females
10. various figures in flight – floating links divinity and humanity
Garden of Earthly Delights Triptych. Oil on panel. 1500-1505.
composition: backdrop of blackness with prison like city walls in inky silhouette against areas of flames and human bodies
2. humanity’s inability to resist demon’s temptation in central panel turns into a hellish fate in the right panel; joy now becomes punishment
3. wordly pleasures are transient – sins of gambling, usury and priests being mocked, musical symbols represented as evil and distraction
4. unpleasant imagery inspires a sense of fear about consequences of sin – e.
g. bird monster eating people who fall into tear dropped shaped glass, pairs of ears with knife piercing through it
5. self portrait of Bosch in Tree Man- Bosch is tormented by bizarre thoughts so it’s somewhat appropriate that he places himself in this space. Tree man – exhausted looking, resigned to what’s happening
in comparison to central panel, this panel is much more sinister, Tree Man replaces fountain of life and marriage chamber, Satan replaces Christ
Bosch. Exterior wings with Passion of Christ. Triptych of Saint Anthony. Oil on panel.
2. fictive sculpture
3.scenes from Passion of Christ, Arrest of Christ, Christ carrying the cross – moments of intense spiritual pain like those suffered by Anthony
4. conservative panels contrast with interior panels
Bosch. Interior panels with Temptation of Saint Anthony. Oil on panel.
2. central panel: diverse temptations Anthony faces.Church service is performed beside the hermit, but it is a Black Mass of heretics and witches. The satanic communion is joined with vile earthlings and a mob of disgusting hybrid forms representing the peasant classes. The nobility is also depicted as hybrid forms. Despite this hellish activity, Anthony preserves.
Anthony looks up and confronts the viewer directly.
3. right panel: story related by Athanasius in which a nude tempress invited Anthony to her city, where she perfomred a number of seemingly virtuous acts and tried to convince Anthony to follow a more active life. Anthony refuses her advice and battles with her demon army and emerged triumphant.
4. landscape is continuous
5. hybrid forms – horrid malformed creatures with distended bodies turn into fish or sharp beaked birds, so detailed that they appear realistic
6. grilli – grotesque form of grasshoper
theme of alchemy, astroglogy, and witchcraft – chemical theologies of multiplication account for hybrid forms, Black Mass reflects witchcraft
Matthias Grunewald. Isenehim Altarpiece.
Closed. Oil on panel. Antonite Monastery, Iseneheim. 1515.
2. weekdays – closed position to show painful Crucifixion of Christ
3. days celebrating Saint Anthony – second set of wings opened to show sculptures of Anthony enthroned as divine judge between Saint Augustine and Jerome
4.while the outer panels refer to disease and torture, the inner panels give a sense of hope
5. work for Antonite monastery, where victims of Saint Anthony’s fire sought relief. victims would appeal to Saint Anthony because eh overcame burning sensation caused by fungal infection in grain of bread
6. Christ on Cross is gruesome image – black sores (refer to sores of those suffering from Anthony’s fire so that people suffering in hospital see Christ’s suffering just like them – just as Christ enters into heaven, so to those who are afflicted by the disease), hands and feet are pierced with nails, blood pouring out of his mouth
contemplation image (andachtsbild) – worhshiper should understand sacrifice of Christ
8. seems to be a depiction of Saint Brigit’s image of Christ on Cross
9. Mary Magdalen is beside herself in grief, sobbing overwhelmingly
10. Mary fainted, being held by John the Evangelist – shows her experiencing pain and physical grief and lifting her hands up in mourning
Saint John the Baptist is virtually present – he points to Christ and announces that Christ is lamb of God, his attritude (the lamb) is a symbol of sacrifice of Christ, represents the witness of doctrine because he’s a prophet (in contrast to role of other mourners), quote from Saint Briget’s Revelations appears here
Matthias Grunewald. Isenehim Altarpiece. Middle Position. (Annunication, Celestial Concert, Icarnation, Resurrection).
Oil on panel. Antonite Monastery, Iseneheim. 1515.
no compositional unity, presents contrasting and conflicting patterns
2. Annunciation: appears conventional but has unusual aspects, such as a re bright curtain that hangs from a rod that extends across the chamber and a green curtain further back. Both curtains have been pulled back to unveil the mystery of Isaiah in the same way drapes of plays performed in the Church service
3. Celestial Concert: lots of strange, hybrid angels perform a concert within a florid temple enclosure, bright colors to look heavenly,female figure might be the idea of Mary in the mind of God (follows Bridget’s description of her, dark green curtain and radiance of Mary further shows this), winged angels simulate the angels on Holies of Holies, glass vessel refers to incarnation
Incarnation: Madonna sits on low wall of hortus conclusus (fruitful womb), fig tree produced figs without fertilization, vessel of purest crystal is symbol of virgin birth, Christ child doesn’t seem to be jovial or innocent (holds coral rosary which represents anticipation of his bloodshed, bathing cloth of infant refers to tattered mourning cloth Christ wear in Crucifixion outer image), chamber pot with hebrew letters is a crude way to represent new order supplanting old order
5. Resurrection: bright spectrum of color reflect a mystical light, body of risen Christ is white and flowing and his head dissolves into a sun, serves as a lesson for those with skin diseases that if they keep their faith, they will be cleansed
Matthias Grunewald. Isenehim Altarpiece.Open position wings.
(Saint Anthony Meeting Saint Paul the Hermit and Temptation of Saint Anthony). Oil on panel. Antonite Monastery, Iseneheim. 1515.
2. Saint Anthony and Hermit Paul: Paul lived in wilderness and in a dream Anthony was informed of his humble existence nad then set out to pay him homage, represents the final goal of the anchorite (“I have seen Paul in paradise”) which refers to the Eden that blossoms form the wastelands where Paul settled,
Matthias Grunewald. Isenehim Altarpiece.
Open position central shrine. (Saint Anthony entrhoned between Saints Augustine and Jerome; Last Supper). Polychrome wood. Antonite Monastery, Iseneheim.
Master E.S. Large EinsiedeIn Madonna.
2.elaborate architectural setting
3. Madonna and Christ Child are enthroned with Saint Benedict and an angel – have sculptural appearance
4. served a practical purpose in private devotion
Master of the Banderoles. Deposition.
2.shows development of more sophisticated works – engravings were cheaper and encouraged more private devotion
Last Supper and Old Testament Types. Speculum humanae salvationis. Woodcut. 1470-1475.
2. woodcut technique was viewed as a more crude version of printing
Martin Schongauer. Temptations of Saint Anthony. Engraving. 1475.
2. grotesque demons, bizarre hybrid creatures (fish heads, bats, wild dogs, birds)
Martin Schongauer. Nativity. Engraving. 1475.
2. more advanced because of dense patterns and more complicated depiction of drapery and lines create tonality
3. perfect use of cross hatchings
4.image for private devotion
Martin Schongauer. Carrying of the Cross to Cavalry.
2.suffering of Christ stumbling along a path from Jerusalem to Golgotha
3. children and dogs scurry about
4. henchmen with grotesque facial expressions
5. use of burin allows for difference in lighting
Israhel van Meckenem. Mass of Saint Gregory. Engraving.
2. illustration of the validity of transubstantiation
3.once during a mass someone expressed grave doubts about the truth of the miracle and then suddenly Man of Sorrows appeared on altar with blood flowing out of mouth
4. inscription on the bottom shows that if you say prayers then you will get out of purgatory
Israhel van Meckenem.
Dance at the Court of Herod. Engraving. 1500.
shift away from religious imagery to secular works of art because main events are in background and lesser, secular happenings are in foreground
2. story of beheading John the Baptist and presentation of severed head is pushed to the backgroun
3. emphasis on dance of Salome and the happy group of patricians who perform a dance
4. contrasts with Weyden’s because it’s secular
Durer. Adam and Eve. Engraving.
2. like other depictions of Adam and Eve, the figures have the same stance
3.interest in nude figure inspired by ancient statuary – the muscular torso of Adam contrasts with the fleshier body of Eve
4. a little plaque has the Latin inscription “Albertus Durer Norcius faviebant 1504” – shows that Durer was literate
5. parrot depicted next to signature – just as parrots can imitate voices, so too Durer can imitate the world around him
6. setting is in a forest with distant mountain peaks, not Mediterranean setting
Tree is hybrid – fruit is an apple but leaves resemble fig tree
8. consequences of original sin are symbolizes by animals around the tree
9. ox – phlem/gluttony
10. rabbit – sanguine (blood)/overactive, driven by ambition
cat – chloeric (yellow bile)/aggressive
12. elk – melancholic(black bile)/depressed, in despair
Melencolia. Engraving. 1514.
reflect idea that artist is divinely inspired and not just a craftsman
2. shows the artist weighted down by thoughts, dejected, in form of a personification of melancholy
3. pose is of a perplexed thinker – same pose appears in personifications of sloth, a state of inactivity
4. melanchony was the most feared humors in medieval times but was the mark of a great man in Renaissance
Durer. Self Portrait. Silverpoint.
2. silverpoint is exacting technique on prepared paper in which any errors are difficult to hide
3.face is vibrant and doesn’t look tight or cramped
Durer. Christ Carrying the Cross. Woodcut from the Large Passion. 1500.
Durer. Saint John Devouring the Bible. Woodcut from the Apocalypse.
Durer. The Four Horsemen.
Woodcut from the Apocalypse. 1500.
2.most famous work in Apocalypse
Durer. The Babylonian *****. Woodcut from the Apocalypse. 1500.
2. dragon symbolizes cruelty of Roman emperors
3. ***** stands for the idolatry of those who worship the Caesars
Coronation of the Virgin. Woodcut from Life of the Virgin. 1510.
contrasts with Apocalypse because it has more charm and coziness
2. displays knowledge of perspective – scenes placed in arcing frames
Praying Hands. Drawing. 1510.
reflects Christian devotion of the Gothic age
Durer. Artist drawing from Model.
Woodcut from A Course in the Art of Measurement. 1525.
2.show geometric perspective
Durer. Man of Sorrows.
Woodcut from the Small Passion. 1510.
Durer. Virgin and Child with a Monkey. Engraving. 1500.
2. delicate drapery has folds to show tonality
3. Durer omits forms of God and the dove found in earlier version
4.monkey is symbol of lust of man
5. tiny bird is symbol of the soul
Durer. Vision of Saint Eustace. Engraving.
2. Eustace was converted to Christianity during a hunt, patron saint of confraternities of huntsmen
3.at this moment Eustance dismounts and kneels before stag, which he is about to hunt
4. depiction of wild forest is impressive
5. animals are anatomically correct
Durer. Knight, Death, and the Devil. Engraving. 1515.
Durer. Saint Jerome in his Study.
2.Jerome is busy at work on his Latin translation of the Bible from Hebrew to Greek
3. skull on window ledge and hourglass are symbolic of transience of life
4. mastery of graphic technique – texture, modeling, atmosphere and space
Duer. Rabbit. Watercolor. 1500.
The Great Piece of Turf. Watercolor. 1500.
2. inspired by Teofilo Folengo, found in Bosch’s works
hermit monks were known for their quiet devotion
2. well attuned to mystical way of life
3. treated skin diseases caused by eating fungal bread known as Saint Anthony’s fire
Gerald David. Nativity triptych. Oil on panel. 1515.
2. genre scenes emerge because of robust secular market
3. practice of supplying special genre for the common market rather than being a religious comission was rapidly gaining preeminence in Antwerp
Exterior panels of Nativity Triptych. 1515.
2.presents first pure landscapes of Netherlandish areas – no human figures
Quentin Massys. The Virgin Enthroned.
Oil on panel. 1525.
2.delicate treatment of costumes, elaborate still life, precise execution in the textures, soft landscape
3. landscape has profusion of naturalistic detail
4. walled garden refers to fruitfulness of Mary’s womb, fountain refers to her virginity
5. contrast between vast panoramic landscape and still life in pictorial field
symbolism in still life – bread refers to Eucharist, apple refers to original sin, butter is sculpted in a Gothic and splendid way to expression lavish prosperity
Massys. Ecce Homo: Christ before the People. Oil on panel. 1515.
1. narrative: Christ is arrested and brought to Roman authorities, who agree to torture him to get a confession. He doesn’t want to kill him so he presents Christ to Jews as a sacrifice for Passover. This works shows Christ presented to the people with the Jewish populace below.
2. Like Durer, Massys takes a standard image and puts it in a narrative context
3. Like Memling’s Christ as a Man of Sorrows – show Christ hurt and wounded
4. Like Bosch, uses grotesque faces
details in architecture: monach’s feet are being washed by slave (refers to Christ washing feet of his apostles), fictive statue of Mercury (pagan idol) is juxtaposed with Jesus, sculpture above Christ’s head is a nude woman with nursing baby (refers to Caritas, or charity)
6. use of reflective surfaces (helmet)
7. the spatial construction of image accuses the beholder of being responsible for Christ’s death – diagonal recession in the work shows the beholder in the crowd, showing that the Christian beholder is just as guilty as Jews and that the sacrifice of Jesus comes about because of sins of Christians
Massys. Money Changer and His Wife. Oil on panel. 1515.
2. presents an upstanding merchant because husband is carefully measuring out coins (note that Antwerp is center of economic prosperity) – serves as a criticism of society that is staring devoted to commerce
3. scales symbolize scales in Last Judgement – shows that even though you weigh money carefully, you still have to be concerned for your soul
4.reflection in mirror gives us a view of an older man seated at a table and shows city streets with a distant view of a church spire (similar to Eyck, Christus)
5. participants in works are bored but busy
6. interior is dark and unkempt with account books, bills, various objects
Massys. The Ugly Old Woman. Oil on panel. 1515.
2. mocks human habits but understands that they are part of human condition
3. all beauty is fleeting and we all eventually face death
Joos van Cleve. Holy Family. Oil on panel.
2. Virgin nursing Christ Child behind a parapet of still life objects
3.apple refers to original sin
4. glass vessel with wine refers to Eucharist and Christ’s shedding of blood – light passing through glass is symbolic of how Mary was impregnated
5. St. Joseph in background is comical figure, as if confused by how Mary was impregnated – he holds scrolls that prophesies birth of Jesus
Joos van Cleve.
Madonna and Child. Oil on panel. 1525.
Christ is resting – refers to his death and incarnation
2. Coral amulet – refers to pertified blood
3. breast is symbolic of spousal intimacy between Christ and Virgin Mary (even thought it’s not represented nursing Jesus)
4. wine – refers to Eucharist
apple – refers to original sin
6. landscape in background has several different parables – crowds of soldier going after young women contrast with innocent image of Madonna in foreground
7. landscape represents natural phenomena – rock formation, receding ocean, evokes aerial perspective
8. landscape reflects growing interest in landscape art
Jan Gossaert. Malvagna Triptych. Oil on panel.
2. female saints of St.Catherine and St. Rosalie
Saint Luke Drawing the Virgin. Oil on panel. 1520.
Italian architecture – temple of the Sibyl in Rome
2. Luke kneels transfigured before his desk, upon which he reproduces his vision
3. statue of Moses holding that tablets and point to “Thou shalt not have graven images” – the issues of devotional imagery were beginning to be debated
4. reflects Renaissance idea that artist is divinely favored because Luke has a mystical vision of celestial Mary
contrast between Moses and St. Luke mirrors contrast between old and new era
6. Luke is similar to Moses because both remove shoes when in presence of something holy – Moses by burning bush, Luke when have mystical vision of Virgin
6.in comparison to Weyden’s work, this has grater focus on architecture (classical columns, arches, grotteschi designs in Golden House of Nero), this has more obvious visionary experience of Madonna.
The fact that St. Luke produces a drawing and not a final painting shows that he is aware of Weyden’s work
Neptune and Amphitrite. Oil on panel. 1515.
painted for Philip of Burgundy for Souburg Castle – work takes place in beautiful temple setting
2. Neptune wears a laurel wreth and holds a long trident, stance of figures reflects Durer’s work Adam and Eve (but different because here the figures embrace one another)
3. Neptune – refers to Philip role as admiral of sea
4. representation of nude Amphitrie who resisted Neptune’s advances
in typical depictions of N and A, there are a lot of sea creatures but none are shown here
6. female figure might not be Amphitrite and rather a representation of an island because at the base of the pedestal, there are water reflections, embrace between N and A reflect the relationship between island and ocean
Danae. Oil on panel. 1515.
Danae: daughter of Greek king of Agros. she is locked in a tower and blocked off from male suitors. but she can’t be hidden from Jupiter (who transfers into a shower of gold).
Danae placed in a receptive pose as the shower of gold falls on her
3. breast is exposed – evokes Virgin Mary (nursing Madonna)
4. architecture resembles Temple of Vestal Virgins in Rome, which is perfect prison for Danae because it was meant to protect her virginity
Altdorfer. Saint Francis Recieving the Stigmata.
Oil on panel. 1507.
2.alpine mountains in background
Altdorfer. Saint George Slaying the Dragon.
Oil on panel. 1510.
2.barely able to see George
3. “original forest” = wall of foliage wit dense tree trunks, leads to distant view of mountain
4. imagery usurps the pictorial surface
Altdorfer. Rest on the Flight to Egypt. Oil on panel. 1510.
2. fons vitae is filled with water and Child splashes around it – refers to baptism
3. extensive landscape in background with alpine mountains
4.angels around fountain, Apollo and Cupid at the top of fountian
5. contrasts between old faith and new faith
Susanna at her Bath. Oil on panel. 1526.
1526: Altdorfer became city architect
2. Susanna: beautiful married woman bathed with her attendants. lecherous elders in bushes capture her and give her a deal: either she gives in and has sex with them or they denounce her as an adulterer
3. event is placed in alpine landscape setting
true skill is depicted in palace, which is some kind of justice hall (because Susanna is about to be stoned for adultery by elders)
Altdorfer. Battle of Alexander and Darius.
Oil on panel. 1530.
2.purpose was to inaugurate campaigns against Turkish armies invading Austria and threatening on the frontiers of Bavaria
3. while this is a depiction of ancient battles, it’s evident that the battle mirrors the current battle with Turks. just as Alexander has repulsed the armies of Darius, so too the Habsburg emperor will defeat the Turks.
countless scores of cavalry about to engage in combat – unclear who is on which side when you first look at the work
5. detail, dynamic, vivid vision of battle
6. Alexander is in the the center on his horse
7. Aventius, a German scholar and historian who was comissioned by Duke Wilhem to write a history of Bavaria, relates how the battle was a bloody and long battle and that God, the Dun, was triumphant in the end.
this is reflects in the landscape because the setting sun is Alexander (“Sun god”) and that faint crescent of the moon (sign of Islam) over the retreating Persians on the left.
8. in contrast to other works, artist abandons his dense landscapes and shows how humanity dominates the landscape in a worthy cause
Altdorfer. Danube Landscape. Oil on parchment. 1520.
2. lack of narrative elements
3. receding places
Patinir. The Rest on the Flight into Egypt. Oil on panel.
2. left: citadel which might represent Egypt
3.right: harvest wheat, tiling ground
3. center: Mary and Child on a rocky ledge with wicker basket, traveling bags, staff, and water gourd before them
4. there was a bias against landscape as a valuable form of art – landscape was viewed as an accessory that was beside the main interest in a painting (which should be religious purpose or narrative). artist such as patinir (and Altdorfer) challenged this view
Patinir. The Penitent Saint Jerome Triptych. Oil on panel.
2. left panel: Christ is low in pictorial field and river and mountains dominate
3.middle panel: Jerome (translated the Bible), background shows scenes from his life (healing, monastery)
4. right panel: calm saint with some Boschian demons with emphasis on landscape and elaborate port city (Antwerp)
Landscape with Jerome. Oil on panel. 1520.
Patinir. Landscape with Charon’s Boat. Oil on panel.
2. burning on right side is symbolic of physical pain of Saint Anthony’s fire
Pieter Bruegel the Elder and Cock.
Landscape with Saint Jerome. Engraving. 1555.
landscape was viewed as an accessory that was beside the main interest in a painting.
The main interest should be the narrative or religion purpose.
Bruegel. The Fall of Icarus. Oil on panel.
The Tower of Babel. Oil on panel. 1563.
Samarian king, Nimrod, built an enormous tower to rise to heavens to communicate with God. Man is plagued by countless languages so people can’t communicate to build tower.
2. tower is reference to classical ruins from Bruegel’s trip to Italy (use of voltage chambers) – but Bruegel didn’t go to Italy to study ruins; rather he went to study countryside
relates to historical context – Antwerp was prosperous city in which there was a lot of construction, Antwerp was site of international commerce and meeting of people who spoke different language (Antwerp was a reverse Babel because language was not confused, it was converged), Emperor Charles V abdicates and divides his empire to Eastern (Maximilian) and Western (Phillip II of Spain) –> Phillip II rules with a heavy hand, very Catholic so Tower of Babel is an allegory of Spanish dominion over the Netherlands
Bruegel. The Fall of the Rebel Angels.
Oil on panel. 1562.
1. angels were led by Lucifer, who was disturbed that God showed so much favor to Adam.
Angels didn’t want to recognize the importance of Adam so they were therefore driven from heaven.
2. Boschian hybrids – bloated dish, lizards, bats, insects, birds, etc.
angels are serene and agile as they glide effortlessly
Bruegel and Cock. Sloth. Engraving. 1556.
2. Inscription reads: “Sloth, rather than resting and recuperating, wastes a man, renders him impotent and good for nothing.” – Sloth, or laziness, prevents humans from reaching their potential.3. like Bosch, egg like structure, nudity, demonic figures who torment and mock, dice
4. symbolism of laziness: clock pointed at 11, figure ringing signal but nobody comes, dice refers to gambling, snail is slow moving, figure in bed is too lazy to eat, people falling asleep at table, bed is being dragged by individual with cane
Bruegel. Netherlandish Proverbs. Oil on panel. 1559.
Bruegel. The Triumph of Death.
Oil on panel. 1559.
Bruegel. Christ Carrying the Cross.
Oil on panel. 1564.
Bruegel. The Hunters in the Snow. Oil on panel. 1565.
Bruegel. The Hay Harvest. Oil on panel. 1565.
Bruegel. The Wheat Harvest.
Oil on panel. 1565.
Bruegel. The Wedding Dance. Oil on panel. 1566.
Bruegel. The Peasant Dance.
Oil on panel. 1568.
Bruegel. Wedding Feast. Oil on panel. 1568.
Bruegel. The Blind Leading the Blind.
Oil on canvas. 1569.
Bruegel. Artist and Patron.
Pen drawing. 1565.
Albrecht Dürer. The Adoration of the Magi. Oil on Panel. 1504.
2. pyrimidal grouping of Madonna, Christ, Three Magi raised on a platform before a theatrical landscape, diagonal leads eye back into distant space with Roman ruins
3. arches – one beside Mary, second in arch of stable, third in arches of Roman ruins (which refers to Temple of Peace by Augustus, emphasize humility of Christ)
4.attendant holds saddle bag with self portrait of Durer
5. anecdotal approach to standard subject matter
use of watercolor in landscape shows detail
6. more reliant on line design than color
Venice. Oil on Panel.
2. theme: universal brotherhood of all Christians in their celebration of the Feast of the Rosary
3. Durer shows that act of the distributing the Rosenkranz by presenting it as sacra conversazione (Giovanni Bellini: specialist in genre called Sacra Conversazione, which entails a holy figure flanked by different saints)
4.Mary and Christ enthroned in canopy to offer the rosaries in the form of garlands to Pope Julius I and Emperor Maximilian, Saint Dominic (founder of Dominican order) distributes more rosaries
5. While the Madonna places a garland of roses on the head of the emperor, the Blessed Child places an identical one over the head of the pontifice
6. at the foot of the theon, an angel plays a lute, a favorite motif of Bellini
7. Durer proves that he’s not only the master of graphic arts but also an accomplished painter – but he wants to broadcast the artistic achievements of artists from the North because Northern artist were seen as “lacking” in comparison to Italian artists (they focused too much on detail)
Fusion Germanic and Italian ideas: Pope Julius and Emperor Maximilian I
9. Emphasizes universal validity of Church – idea that humans can secure salvation through charity becomes point of contention in following years
Young Christ among the Doctors. Oil on Panel. 1506.
Young Christ as teacher, counting off his points with his fingers as a good teacher will do (visual aid)
2. There’s a range of expressions – sympathetic to grotesque
3. Similar to Bosch’s Carrying of the Cross because of anti semitic depictions
Albrecht Dürer. Adoration of the Holy Trinity. Oil on Panel. 1511.
2. it’s a celebration of Christian ideology just before the Reformation
3. Trinity is suspended in heaven adorned by ranks of angels
4.Painted for Zwolfbruderhaus, those who had to give up jobs because of medical accidents (similar to hospital compositions but this place was not for people who were going to die
5. the twelve brothers who inhabit this institution corresponds to the apostles of Jesus
6. at the bottom of the composition, Durer inserts himself on an inscription
7. Comparison to Ghent Altarpiece: both have idea of universal adoration of Catholic doctrine
Albrecht Dürer. Portrait of Erasmus. Engraving.
Albrecht Dürer. The Last Supper. woodcut. 1523.
2. predatory work: Christ is off to one side with John the Baptist near him Judus is one the right side of work
3. there are only 11 apostles because Judus is not included
4.there is no emphasis on Eucharist – scriptural emphasis because Luther believes that religiosity comes from personal connection to God not through priesthood
5. proclaims faith of Lutheranism
The Four Holy Men. Oil on Panel. 1526.
memorial for the Reformation
2. each of the verses beneath the figures is taken from Luther’s New Testament
3. Peter, John, Paul, Mark – refer to the danger of false prophets
4. John replaces Peter and Paul as important apostle because he was Luther’s favorite (he said to exercise caution against receiving human deception)
John holds open Gospel instead of chalice with inscriptions about the word of God
6. Paul – “apostle of the Reformation”, Luther thought that he was the wisest witness after Christ
7. John and Paul both emphasized salvation through faith
8. fits with Luther’s teachings: not idealized, not represented in state of martyrdom (rather depicted as men who are articulating the word of God)
Saint Peter is present but he’s a secondary figure because he’s usually associated with papacy
10. work is not intentioned to inspire devotion but rather to encourage viewer to meditate on teachings of Saints (whereas Ghent Altarpiece intended to encourage devotion)
Lucas Cranach the Elder.
Portrait of Luther as an Augustinian Monk. Engraving. 1519.
Lucas Cranach the Elder. Portrait of Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg as Saint Jerome. Oil on Panel.
2. Cranach shows both versions of Jerome – he is dressed in the red habit of a cardinal perusing his books at a desk
Lucas Cranach the Elder.
Martin Luther Wearing a Doctor’s Cap. Engraving. 1521.
doctor’s cap – highlights his learning and authority
2. exaggerate bone structure and eyebrows
3. produced for the occasion of Luther’s defense at Worms
Lucas Cranach the Younger. Luther Preaching with the Pope in the Jaws of Hell. Woodcut. 1550.
2. Luther preaches from elevated pulpit
3. presence of open Bible shows that he is speaking the word of god
4.depicts several aspects of Lutheranism – Layman are around the table distributing elements of the Communion instead of priests who have to oversee everything, the word of God (scripture) is the foremost means in which God reveals himself
5. Luther is pointing to Christ on Cross as emblematic of extreme gift of sacrifice
6. resembles Last Judgement because Luther is placed in the position Christ is in and Pope, positioned on the threshold of Hell, imitates Satan
7. form of visual propaganda because it could be distributed easily and quickly
Lucas Cranach the Elder. Crucifixion. Oil on Panel.
Lucas Cranach the Elder.
The Judgment of Paris. Oil on Panel. 1530.
Paris was chosen to judge a beauty contest of goddesses (Minerva, Venus, Juno) and each offered Paris rewards
2. Paris rests on rock near spring with heavy suit of armor and a fashionable hat
3. female figures are completely nude except for jewelry
Lucas Cranach the Elder. Allegory of the Law and the Gospel. Oil on Panel. 1529.
2. tree – left branches are bare while right ones have leaves
3. left panel depicts fall of Adam and Eve in Eden, Israelite camp
4.foreground depicts three old Testament prophets in the company of Moses – the point is to shows that the Law of the Old Testament and the punishment it metes out lead to death and damnation
5. right panel depicts nude human figure in prayer before image of Christ
6. this was one way to adapt religious imagery to Lutheran reform
2. Luther specifically wanted the Last Supper (as opposed to Virgin) to be depicted over the altar – de-emphasis of Mary
3. while the lamb represents the sacrifice of Jesus, there isn’t any emphasis on the communion elements
4.Judus is represented in an unusual way because Christ’s finger extends into his mouth and under Judus’ hand are indulgences – underscores the idea that indulgences are corrupt
5. representation of Crucifix is a “thought bubble” for what Luther is preaching
6.Bouts’ Last Supper is centered on the Eucharist, whereas Cranach is centered around lamb of feast
Lucas Cranach the Elder. The Weimar Altarpiece. Oil on Panel. 1555.
2. Eucharistic blood coming out of Christ’s womb and lands on Cranach’s head – no priest is needed for intercession
3. crucified Christ in the altarpiece’s center affirms his sacrifice
4.background scene of expulsion from Eden is a reminder of presence of sin and need for salvation
5. Luther points to passage from Bible about Christ’s blood
6. Depiction of Moses and Annunciation are examples of God’s grace, which is given to all followers of Lutheranism
7. Cranach is depicted as everyday worshipper
Luther says that it’s okay to paint this image but it is forbidden to worship such an image, it should be used to remember the mission of Christ on earth
9. this was NOT produced to generate idolatry
Erhard Schön. The Complaint of the Persecuted Images. Woodcut.
2. top of page represents iconoclasm
Hans Holbein the Younger, Old and New Testaments.
Oil on Panel. 1520s.
Hans Holbein the Younger, Dead Christ. Oil on Panel.
2. intense realistic depictions – bruised hands, internal bleeding, emaciated stomach
3.reminder viewer of sacrifice of Jesus and thereby enlightened by the magnitude of God’s grace
4. Christ is depicted as an everyday man because there aren’t any symbolic elements of his status – this represents the death each one of us faces because of original sin
Hans Holbein the Younger, Madonna of Mercy. Oil on Panel. 1525-28.
Albrecht Dürer. Portrait of Oswald Krel. Oil on Panel.
Self Portrait. Oil on Panel. 1498.
erect posture emphasize elegance of the well bred
2. expensive clothes, long hair groomed
3. rigid position of right arm – shows confidence
4. tightly clasped fingers of joined hands
in comparison to self portrait in Lourve, harsh linearity replace softer lines
6. Durer was aware that he was gaining popularity (this was around same time as Apocalypse, elevated to high social class status), so he wants to present himself as a proud businessman
Self Portrait. Oil on Panel. 1500.
1500 was an important year because: year people thought it was going to be the apocalypse, Durer was 28 years old, which is an important number because it’s divisible by 7 (28 is the exact “middle age” and it marks the transition into manhood), publication of Apocalypse marked Durer as a gifted artist
2. in comparison to 1498, 1500 portrait artist is facing straight forward because he’s familiar with how he looks whereas in the 1498 portrait the artist is three quarters view, 1500 is symmetrical in the way his hair falls and beard is perfectly forked
3. portrait looks like an icon of Christ – his capacity for creativity makes him God-like
(there’s a notion that an artist is quasi divine in creative capacity)
4. hand seems to rise into a blessing formulation/hand is rising in the position of the sun, which symbolizes Jesus
the fact that there is not a single brushstroke further makes his work “God-like”
6.chasm between aspiration of individual to do good and be virtuous and the ultimate model (being Jesus) but Duper shows the individual and ultimate model simultaneously
7. gaze reflects that God is always looking at you
Albrecht Dürer. Portrait of a Young Man / Old Woman with Bag of Coins.
Oil on Panel. 1507.
Albrecht Dürer. Portrait of Hieronymus Holzschuher. Oil on Panel.
Albrecht Dürer. Portrait of Philip Melancthon. Engraving. 1526.
2.prominent brow and wide forehead is a symbol of intelligence
Hans Holbein the Younger. Jacob Meyer zum Hasen and Dorothea Kannengiesser. Oil on Panel. 1516.
2. shows emphasis on detail
3. refinement in representation of architecture to join portraits together
4.arch connects the two works
Hans Holbein the Younger. Portrait of Erasmus.
Oil on Panel. 1523-4.
2.Scholar is in the process of writing some sort of correspondence, absorbed in scholarly activity
3. sits in profile against an abstract background
4. one senses that he is a profound intellect with great powers of concentration
Hans Holbein the Younger. Bonifacius Amerbach. Oil on Panel. 1519.
2. background: neutral (sky with tree trunks and foliage)
3. inscription: articulates the purpose of the portrait – suggests the absolute fidelity of portrait, artist wants to provide the actual appearance of figure at this moment
Hans Holbein the Younger. Portrait of Sir Thomas Moore. Oil on Panel.
2. In England, Holbein enters in house of Moore and creates the first real masterpiece of portraiture
3.wears black velvet coat with stable collar and lining over a doublet of red
4. heavy gold chain with connecting S-S letters, the insignia of the supporters of the house of Lancaster revived by Henry VII
5. sense that we are in the presence of the individual, simulates appearance of textures
6. cropped body makes figure intimate
details: hands at foreground is the most close feature of body, seated before a curtain along the wall (shows that 3D body is before curtain), whiskers on unshaven face
8. effort to conceal the intervention of brush in producing work
9. color contrast between black satin robe and velvet of sleeve
10. in comparison to Portrait of Erasmus, Moore is not in his study nor surrounded by scholarly attributes
Hans Holbein the Younger. Portrait of William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury. Oil on Panel.
– same pose
– in scholarly area
– positioning of hands
– details in the face
– bejeweled objects in background
Hans Holbein the Younger. Portrait of Mary Wotton, Lady Guildford. Oil on Panel. 1527.
2. details: rosemary in bosom – aphrodisiac
3. stiffness and rigid figures contrast with linear design of the leaves in the background
4.the portraits are connected (rod on top, both figures exist in from of background
Hans Holbein the Younger. Portrait of Sir Henry Guildford.
Oil on Panel. 1527.
2.chains with emblem was a sign of honor or being close to monarch but also a sign of servitude
3. 3 quarters pose flatters the figure so he doesn’t look so fat
Hans Holbein the Younger.
Woman with a Squirrel. Oil on Panel. 1527.
Hans Holbein the Younger, Madonna of Mercy with Meyer Family.
Oil on Panel. 1525-28.
2.Meyer grips his fingers tightly as he prays before Mary, Magdalen Baer kneels on the right, Dorothea and Anna
3. goes against Lutheran teachings – veneration torwad Mary instead of Jesus (Mary is only important for bringing Jesus into the world according to Protestant), sculptural pose holding baby Jesus
(the idea of a sculpture is exactly the problem Protestants had with works of art)
4. turkish carpet is a symbol of honor to the Virgin
5. Catholics says that you can do things (such as commission works) to achieve salvation, but the Protestants says that all you can do is have faith and hope for the best
Hans Holbein the Younger. The Family of the Artist. Oil on Panel.
Hans Holbein the Younger.
Portrait of George Gisze of Danzig. Oil on Panel. 1532.
portrait of a Polish merchant placed in a study with official letters and binding seals
2. details: coin box is sign of monetary exchange, accounting books, scale for weighting coins, table covered with carpet
3. he is in the process of opening a letter (probably from his brother in Danzig)
4. sense of dialogue – fictive piece of paper addresses the viewer
his motto: “no pleasure without grief” – accounts for somber expression on figure
Hans Holbein the Younger. The French Ambassadors.
Oil on Panel. 1533.
2.Dinteville: holds his dagger and leans casually on shelf, elegantly dressed courtier, represents power of the state
3. Georges de Selve: humbly attired, elbow rests on bible, represents the Church
4. Both figures had come to reassure Henry of relationship with France (threatened by a certain marriage) – 1533 is year marriage took place, but Act of Supremacy has not taken place yet
5. table in central axis has two tiers to separate heavens from the earth
lower self has objects of earthly concerns while upper shelf has object of more heavenly concerns
7. upper shelf: celestial globe, astronomical instruments, adorned with turkish carpet (more privileged)
8. lower shelf: terrestrial globe, not adored with turkish carpet, T square, compass, instruments for mapping the world, lute
9. lute has broken string – symbolizes lack of poltical harmony between England and France
hymn book underneath plays choral songs of Luther
11. curtain is just about to part to show the ivory Crucifix (refers to common belief among all sects of Christianity) – Both figures were sympathetic to Luther’s ideas but they didn’t want a break with the Church – rather wanted Church to reform itself, hope that there can be reconciliation between Lutheranism and Catholicism
12. skull – symbol of death
13. juxtaposition between cross and skull shows that death will happen if reconciliation doesn’t occur
Hans Holbein the Younger. Portrait of Henry VIII. Oil on Panel.
2.frontal, not three quarters pose that suggests an illusionistic presence
3.almost like a religious icon (Jan van Eyck Deeis)
Hans Holbein the Younger. Portrait of Jane Seymour.
Oil on Panel. 1536.
2.calm acceptance of role as queen despite Henry being a crazy person
3. gives birth to Edward but dies from complications of the birth – secures dynasty
Hans Holbein the Younger.
Portrait of Anne of Cleves. Oil on Panel. 1539.
diplomatic merger with another Protestant power because Henry feared attacked from Spain and France
2. Anne of Cleves looks too good in the portrait and when Henry sees her in person, Henry is disgusted by her and never consummates the marriage
Hans Holbein the Younger.
Portrait of Edward VI as a Child. Oil on Panel. 1539.
2. inscription says to be like his father, Henry
2. patron for Durer’s work – commissioned portrait and Adoration of Magi
Luther sent his 95 Theses to him
2. called Luther’s views heretical, resulting in Luther’s excommunication at Diet of Worms
2. incited iconoclasm
image breaking incited by Karlstadt
2. violated God’s commandment against making graven images