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Art of the Northern Renaissance

After the beginning of the Italian Renaissance where art was influenced by religion as well as the art from ancient Greece and Rome, it swept through Europe. However, outside of Italy, the movement took on its own style known as the Northern Renaissance and lasted through the fifteenth and sixteenth century. This movement started in France and soon spread to Poland, Germany, England, and the Netherlands. While the artists of the Northern Renaissance were affected by the Italian Renaissance, they incorporated more science and philosophy into the art.

Since the Reformation was foremost in the minds of the citizens so instead of art that was to appeal to the Roman Catholic Church, Christian art that rebelled against church domination were popular. One of the most prominent qualities of the Northern Renaissance was that the artists portrayed their subjects in an extremely real way. One of the first and most prominent artists of the Northern Renaissance was JAn Van Eyck. His medium was mainly oils on canvas and panels. His use of oils are clear and natural with religious symbols imbedded in the works.

One of his most famous works is The Arnolfini Portrait that he painted in fourteen thirty-five. The facial characteristics are natural while the way that the fabric folds give a multi dimensional effect. The painting is as famous for the symbols that are in it as are the subjects. Another example of the Northern Renaissance at its best is Albrecht Durer from Germany. A meticulous artist, he was influenced by Leonardo de Vinci. Like the artists of the Italian Renaissance, many of his subjects were from Greek and Roman mythology.

He works also had religious and exotic animal themes. While using the mediums of watercolors and woodcuts, his proportions are eye catching. His watercolor Young Hare, painted in fifteen two is a perfect example of Durer’s realistically depiction of his subjects and their proportions. His contemporary Albrecht Altdorfer was much like Durer. He also used watercolors and had similar subjects except for his landscapes. They were the subjects where Altdorfer excelled. Landscape with the Satyr Family, which was painted in fifteen seven, displayed his talent in landscapes.

Unlike the paintings from the Italian Renaissance, Altdorfer’s landscapes were not as clear and realistic, but were more like the works of the Impressionist that would appear later in history. Known for his themes of landscapes and peasants, Pieter Bruegel was a one of the later artist of the Northern Renaissance. His style was plain yet spectacular and real. His paintings like The Peasant Wedding and Winter Landscape with a Bird Trap, depicted everyday life of the majority.

His paintings are remarkably like modern folk art which means that he influenced artists centuries later. The artists of the Northern Renaissance have stood the test of time, and their works are characteristic of the ideas of their place in history. The intellectual perspective that they brought to the human body, religion, and landscapes were groundbreaking for their age.

References Pioch, N. September 12, 2002. Web Museum, Paris. Retrieved November 4, 2008 from http://www. ibiblio. org/wm/paint/auth.

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