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Flashcards in Exam #1 15th Century Deck (12)
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Renaissance and Jules Michelet

and the

Characteristics of the Northern Renaissance

Renaissance not used until 1855 when Jules Michelet wrote about it in the "History of France".

Northern Europe/Characteristics

  • Renaissance means revival or rebirth (French word)
  • learning, intellectualism
  • extremely detailed observations fo flora, animals, human characteristics. Recording natural world.
  • not as flattering, detailed
  • beard stubble, bags under eyes, wrinkles etc.
  • some perspective used
  • awkward
  • tile floors and hallways depict distance
  • miniature architecture



International Gothic Style and 'Realism of Particulars'

International Gothic Style

"Realism of Particulars"

  • prominent style of late 14th century Europe
  • artists in France, Italy and Flanders
  • extreme, excessive detail
  • receeding objects and use of atmospheric space
  • bright colors, use of gold
  • figures are graceful and elegant
  • architecture and landscapes are miniature
  • microscopic detail


The Annunciation, Visitation, Presentation in the Temple, Flight into Egypt

by Melchoir Broederlam


  • Painted internationally, then carried to Europe
  • atmospheric
  • bright colors
  • Life of the Virgin and Christ intertwined
  • Mary and Elizabeth
  • Visitation
  • Flight into Egypt
  • Pagan god on pedestal falling over to represent one religion being replaced by another
  • Miniature architecture, detailed, recession of space, use of angles.


  • Gabriel announces that Mary will be the mother of Christ
  • Lilies - Mary's purity, virginity


  • Elizabeth, carrying John the Baptist, feels Mary's baby bump.

Presentaiton in the Temple

  • Jesus is brought to the temple to be blessed

Flight into Egypt

  • Pharoah ordered Jewish baby boys to be killed
  • Pedestal with pagan god falls off, Christianity replacing Pagaenism and Judaism.




Flemish Tapestries

Well of Moses, Claus Sluter, 1395-1406

  • Life size, 6ft in heighth
  • from Hebrew bible, predicting Jesus' birth
  • highly individualized, wrinkles, old
  • thick, abundant drapery
  • light and shadow, furthers 3-D
  • base for a crucifiction scene
  • metal eye-glasses and buckles
  • garments elaborately painted
  • feathers are very detailed and life-like


Flemish Tapestries

Unicorn Found at the Fountain, Hunt of the Unicorn 1495-1505

  • tapestry
  • detailed flora, animals, religious themes, classical mythology
  • huge, over 12ft high
  • curves VERY DIFFICULT to achieve, masterpiece
  • lights and shadows
  • aesthetic and practical uses:
  1. insulation in home
  2. portable
  • woven more expensive
  • display of oweners wealth
  • silver and gilt wrapped thread and silk
  • A&E are the queens initials, F&R are related to the original owners of the piece
  • garments and fur are detailed


  • Unicorn: Christ only caught by a virgin, symbolizes Christ's birth to Mary
  • Oranges: fertility
  • Stag and antlers: Christ's resurrection, shedding antlersand regrowth, also a defender of snakes and evil.
  • Lions: valor, faith, mercy, and courage
  • Rabbits: fertility
  • Dogs: fidelity
  • Variety of plants, trees and fruits:
  • Strawberries: sexual love
  • Peach Tree: nobility
  • Pomegranates: fertility


The Flemish School

The Flemish School

  • oil was a preferred medium, slow to dry and transparent when applied in the layers
  • Flemish panel paintings meant to be viewed as windows into a particular scene
  • evidence of "Realism of Particulars"
  • characteristics of Northern European work
  1. drapery
  2. attention to detail
  3. elements of nature
  4. symbolism
  • strong economy
  • textile industry strong
  • Arnalfini
  • Religious patrons and wealthy merchants
  • details, facial features
  • drapery
  • architectural settings
  • religious imagery


Merode Altarpiece, triptych of the Annunciation, Workshop of the Master of Flemalle, 1425-1430s, oil on wood panel

  • Annunciation
  • patrons in prayer
  • miniature Jesus, Mary concieving Christ
  • Joseph on right
  • very detailed background, cityscape


  • Mouse-traps: catching Satan
  • Gothic-alcove: Mary's virginity
  • Lilies: virginity
  • Waterpot: Mary vessell, carrying Christ
  • Mary on footrest: obedience to God, piety
  • Extinguished candle: divinity of Christ taking human form



Double Portrait fo Giovanni Arnolfini and his wife, Jon Van Eyck, 1434

  • Giovanni made a fortune selling luxurious garments
  • Patron and the artist in the picture
  • artist in the mirror w/other figures
  • inscribed above mirror, "Jan Van Eych was here"
  • wife was more idealized
  • wealthy
  • chandelier
  • rich bedding
  • fancy garments
  • oriental rug
  • secular setting, non-religious
  • religious objects:
  1. mirror, Christ the Passion
  2. Prayer beads
  3. obedience to the Church
  4. Mirror-eye of God


  • candles, lit and unlit
  • oranges in window: fertiltiy
  • dog: fidelity, lust, funeral
  • shoes: his; outside work, hers; inside work, also symbolize fertility and sexuality
  • may be showing her feet to her husband

Meaning of Painting:

  • wife could have been pregnant
  • wedding or betrothal scene
  • Arnolfini married twice, wedding
  • candles lit on side of Arnolfini, unlit on her side, memorial
  • ability to enter into business contracts




Ghent Altarpiece. Jon and Hubert Van Eyck, 1432, Cathedral of St. Bavo, Ghent



  • images of patrons
  • John the Baptist
  • John the Evangelist


  • Mary's words upside down, speaking to God
  • dove
  • drapery alive
  • lillies
  • patrons
  • detailed
  • grisae manner
  • visible representation of said to Gabriel, "Be hold the hand made from the Lord"
  • Shutters open on Sunday and Holy Days
  • Scale is off


  • God-robed figure
  • triple crown, earthly crown at his feet
  • realistic drapery
  • lighting, outside shining in
  • Mary on left
  • John the Baptist on the right
  • Shrine area
  • angels singing
  • Adam and Eve
  • horizon line
  • angels same face, different expressions
  • realistic adam and eve

Central panel bottom piece:

  • lamb of God on altar
  • blood pouring into chalice
  • saints, martyrs, warriors
  • Architectural scene
  • cityscape
  • trees and foliage


Ghent Altarpiece Open


Printmaking in Northern Europe


  • Mass produced books
  • more available to the common man
  • quicker less expensive way to make books
  • woodcut and engraving
  • 1455 Gutenberg Bible first to be printed
  • Religious stories were illustrated


The City of Nuremberg from the Nuremberg Chronicles, Michael Wolgemut, Wilhelm Pleydenwurff and Workshop, 1493, woodcut within a printed book

  • each copy had 1809 woodcut illustrations
  • populated city 45-55,000 citizens
  • histories of western cities
  • bound, unbound, parchment