1.3.1.4 – Northern Renaissance 1430-1580

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QUICK LINKS
Entombment, Campin
Très Riches, Limbourg brothers
Mérode Altarpiece, Campin
Ghent altarpiece, van Eyck
Man Red Turban, van Eyck
Arnolfini Portrait, van Eyck
Madonna Rolin, van Eyck
Deposition, Weyden
Madonna Church, van Eyck
Last Judgment, Lochner
Portinari Altarpiece, Goes
Last Judgment, Bosch
Self Portrait Fur, Dürer
Young Hare, Dürer
Great piece of Turf, Dürer
Garden Earthly Delights, Bosch
Feast of the Rosary, Dürer
Isenheim Altarpiece, Grünewald
Haywain Triptych, Bosch

Money-lender/wife, Matsys
Dead Christ, Holbein Yngr
Erasmus of Rotterdam, Holbein Yngr
Winged Altar, Cranach Eldr
Apollo and Dianar, Cranach Eldr
Four Apostles, Dürer
Lady with Squirrel, Holbein Yngr
Sir Thomas More, Holbein Yngr
Alexander at Issus, Altdorfer
Luther and Wife, Cranach Eldr
Merchant George Gisze, Holbein Ygr
Thomas Cromwell, Holbein Ygr
Ambassador, Holbein Ygr
Henry VIII, Holbein Ygr
Elizabeth I, Armada Portrait, unknown artist

The Northern European Renaissance began around 1430 when artist Jan van Eyck began to borrow the Italian Renaissance techniques of linear perspective, naturalistic observation, and a realistic figurative approach for his paintings. As other artists from Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and the Low Countries began to incorporate these influences into their own work, the Protestant Reformation stepped in with its backlash against Italy’s lofty idealizations of beauty surrounding the Roman Catholic Church. The extreme iconoclasm changed the face of Northern Renaissance art, leading to works that were decidedly humble, presenting a more toned down view of everyday reality. Art was taken off its glorified pedestal that had previously been occupied by only the rich and powerful and made accessible to the new burgeoning merchant classes.

[Source: theartstory.org]

[1314-10]


Image source: courtauld.ac.uk
 The Seilern Triptych aka Entombment ) is a large oil and gold leaf on panel, fixed winged triptych altarpiece generally attributed to the Early Netherlandish painter Robert Campin. It is the earliest of two known triptychs attributed to him, although the outer wing panels paintings are lost. The work details the events of Christ’s passion; the panels, which should be read from left to right, detail three stations of the cycle of the Passion of Jesus; the crucifixion, the burial and the resurrection.
[Source: Wikimedia commons]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Entombment (aka Seilern Triptych)1410-15Goldleaf/PanelHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Campin, Robert (Master of Flémalle)c. 1375-1444Flemish painter TournaiNorthern Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1314-11]

Courtauld Gallery, London UK60 x 94  
Known collectively as the Limbourg brothers, Paul, Jean and Herman de Limbourg were highly skilled miniature painters active from late 14th to early 15th centuries. Together, they created some of the most beautiful illuminated books of the Late Gothic period.

The brothers, from the city of Nijmegen, came from an artistic family, their father a wood sculptor, and an uncle who was an established painter working for Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy.

The Belles Heures is a Book of Hours, essentially a prayer book. They were miniature works of art made for private use, and generally contained a number of illuminations painstakingly created on vellum (calfskin). A book of hours was for personal, devotional use, not an official liturgical volume. Typically, they were quite petite.
[Source: .khanacademy.org]

Image source: khanacademy.org
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Très Riches Heurs du Duc de Berry, Les1412-6Inl/VellumHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Limbourg brothers – Herman, Jean, Paul1370/80-1416Netherlandish illuminator BurgundyNorthern Renaissance/Medieval
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1314-12]

Musée Condé, Chantilly France206 parchment pieces  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
 Having just entered the room, the angel Gabriel is about to tell the Virgin Mary that she will be the mother of Jesus. The golden rays pouring in through the left oculus carry a miniature figure with a cross.
On the right wing, Joseph, who is betrothed to the Virgin, works in his carpenter’s shop, drilling holes in a board. The mousetraps on the bench and in the shop window opening onto the street are thought to allude to references in the writings of Saint Augustine identifying the cross as the devil’s mousetrap.

On the left wing, the kneeling donor appears to witness the central scene through the open door. His wife kneels behind him, and a town messenger stands at the garden gate. The owners would have purchased the triptych to use in private prayer.
[Source: metmuseum.org]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Mérode Altarpiece (Annunciation Triptych) c1425Oil/OakHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Campin, Robert (Master of Flémalle)c. 1375-1444Flemish painter TournaiNorthern Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1314-13]

The Cloisters, in New York City USA  

Image source: medieval.eu
The Ghent Altarpiece aka the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, is a large and complex 15th-century polyptych altarpiece in St Bavo’s Cathedral, Ghent, Belgium. It was begun mid-1420s and completed by 1432. It is attributed to the Early Flemish painters and brothers Hubert and Jan van Eyck. The altarpiece is considered a masterpiece of European art and one of the world’s treasures.

The three central upper panels (let to right) are the Virgin Mary, the Almighty and John the Baptist. These are flanked by singing angels and these are then flanked by Adam and Eve. The central lower panel is the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, from the left side the groups are male martyrs, pagan writers, Jewish prophets, male saints, and female martyrs. The lamb stands on an altar, surrounded by fourteen angels arranged in a circle. It is flanked to the left by knights and judges, and to the right are hermits and pilgrims.

One of the original twelve panels (eight of which are part of the hinged shutter apparatus, and therefore painted on both sides), has been lost. In 1934 the panels depicting St. John the Baptist, and another depicting the Just Judges were stolen from the church. The John the Baptist panel was recovered. The Just Judges panel was replaced with a modern copy during the 1945 restoration. The other panels have all survived, although there is some lingering disagreement about whether they are now reassembled in their original configuration, given the many times the altarpiece has been taken apart. [Source: Wikimedia commons]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Ghent altarpiece1425-1433Oil/WoodHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
van Eyck, Jan1390-1441, aged 51Flemish painterNorthern Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1314-14]

St Bavo’s Cathedral, Ghent Belgium350 x 460  

Image source: theartstory.org
This is thought to be a self-portrait, the impassive face probably that of Jan van Eyck himself. The painting is a powerful statement of his artistic skill.

The sitter’s clothing is that of a prosperous individual. Most striking is his flamboyant red hat – a chaperon, a headdress for men fashionable in the fifteenth century. The hood, which usually hung down over the wearer’s neck and shoulders, has been piled up on top of the sitter’s head, the long tail wound around it.

The strong contrast between the dark shadows in the creases and the bright highlights where the folded fabric catches the light is typical of van Eyck.
[Source: nationalgallery.org.uk]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Man in a Red Turban1433Oil/WoodPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
van Eyck, Jan1390-1441, aged 51Flemish painterNorthern Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1314-15]

National Gallery, London UK26 x 19  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
This full-length double portrait, is believed to depict the Italian merchant Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini and his wife, in their residence at the Flemish city of Bruges.

It is considered one of the most original and complex paintings in Western art, because of its beauty, the complex iconography, its geometric orthogonal perspective, and the expansion of the picture space by the use of a mirror.

This and Van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece represent the oldest panel paintings to have been executed in oils rather than in tempera.
[Source: Wikimedia commons]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Arnolfini Portrait1434Oil/WoodPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
van Eyck, Jan1390-1441, aged 51Flemish painterNorthern Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1314-16]

National Gallery, London UK82 x 60  
This painting was commissioned by Nicolas Rolin, chancellor of the Duchy of Burgundy, whose votive portrait takes up the left side of the picture. It was for his parish church, Notre-Dame-du-Chastel in Autun, where it remained until the church burnt down in 1793. After it spent a period in Autun Cathedral, it was moved to the Louvre in 1805.

The scene depicts the Virgin Mary crowned by a hovering Angel while she presents the Infant Jesus to Rolin. It is set within a spacious loggia with a rich decoration of columns and bas-reliefs. In the background is a landscape with a city on a river, probably intended to be Autun.
[Source: Wikimedia commons]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Madonna of Chancellor Rolin, Thec1435Oil/PanelHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
van Eyck, Jan1390-1441, aged 51Flemish painterNorthern Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1314-17]

Musée du Louvre, Paris France66 x 62  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
The crucified Christ is lowered from the cross, his lifeless body held by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. According to the canonical gospels, Joseph of Arimathea took Christ’s body and prepared it for burial. John (19:38–42) adds one assistant, Nicodemus. None of these accounts mention Mary, but during the Middle Ages, the narrative of the Passion became more elaborate, and more attention was paid to the role of Christ’s mother.

One art historian identified the figures in the painting as (from left to right): Mary Cleophas (half-sister to the Virgin Mary); John the Evangelist, Mary Salome (in green, another half-sister of the Virgin Mary), The Virgin Mary (swooning), the corpse of Jesus Christ, Nicodemus (in red), a young man on the ladder – either a servant of Nicodemus or of Joseph of Arimathea, Joseph of Arimathea (in field-of-cloth-of-gold robes, the most sumptuous costume in the painting), the bearded man behind Joseph holding a jar was probably another servant and Mary Magdalene who adopts a dramatic pose on the right of the painting.
[Source: Wikimedia commons]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Deposition (Descent from the Cross)1435-40Oil/Oak PanelHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Weyden, Rogier van der1400 – 1464, aged 64Flemish painter BrusselsNorthern Renaissance/Medieval
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1314-18]

Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid Spain220 x 262  
Mary is standing in the nave of a Gothic cathedral, larger than life, and with the child.

The detailed depiction of the architecture and the subtle grading of the light give the church interior a spatial aura that is all its own. The bright daylight coming in through the leadframed clerestory windows and the side portal is a reminder of the passage of time.

The recorded inscription on the frame, which has not survived, praised the miracle of Christ’s birth and Mary’s virginity.
[Source: artsandculture.google.com]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Madonna in the Church1438Oil/WoodHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
van Eyck, Jan1390-1441, aged 51Flemish painterNorthern Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1314-19]

Gemäldegalerie, Berlin Germany31 x 14  
Images source: Wikimedia commons

Last Judgement is a tempera on oak polyptych, probably commissioned for the council chamber of City Hall of Cologne, but now broken apart. The outer wings formed a sixfold partition when extended, have been sawed off into twelve individual pictures, most of which are still extant but held in separate collections, mostly in Cologne, Frankfurt and Munich.

Its depiction of the Last Judgment follows many of the conventions of contemporary doom paintings, but Lochner introduces important innovations, especially in his rendering of the angel’s black and flowing clothes.

The interior wings included the Martyrdom of the Apostles, the exterior panels include the Saint Anthony Abbot, Mary Magdalene with a Donor, Saints Catherine, Hubert, Quirinus of Neuss and a Donor, and Pope Cornelius.
[Source: Wikimedia commons}
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Last Judgement, Thec1440Oil/WoodHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Lochner, Stefanc1410-1451, aged 41German painter CologneNorthern Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1314-20]

Städel Museum, Frankfurt Germany125 x 173  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
 Van der Goes, acclaimed as a master of light and minute descriptive details, is considered one of the greatest Netherlandish painters of the second half of the fifteenth century. The Portinari Altarpiece is a large triptych that was commissioned by an Italian named Tommaso Portinari, who was living in the Netherlands.

The Florence hospital, Santa Maria Nuova, had a connected church, Sant’Egidio. The Portinari Altarpiece was commissioned for the main altar of this church, and was simultaneously a way for Tommaso to perpetuate his family’s name and importance in conjunction with the city of Florence and the hospital of Santa Maria Nuova.
[Source: khanacademy.org]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Portinari Altarpiece (Triptych)1476-9Oil/WoodHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Goes, Hugo van derc1430-1482Flemish painterNorthern Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1314-21]

Uffizi Gallery,  Florence Italy253 x 304  

Image source: european-traveler.com
The Last Judgment is a triptych of Hieronymus Bosch, it should not to be confused with either a fragmented piece of art by Bosch under the same title (now at Munich), or another full painting that is disputed as being by Bosch, or a painter in his workshop or a collaboration between artist and workshop. The outside of the shutters are painted in grisaille (a method of painting in grey monochrome), while the inside shutters and centre are oil on panel.

This and his Garden of Earthly Delights depict the Garden of Eden in the left panel and Hell in the right.

The left panel here shows the Garden of Eden. At the top God is shown seated in Heaven, while the Rebel Angels are cast out of Heaven and transformed into insects. At the foot of the panel, God creates Eve from the rib of Adam. In the middle Eve is tempted by the Serpent. Towards the centre of the panel, Adam and Eve are chased by the Angel into the dark forest.

The central painting is based on John’s Book of Revelation. Above is Christ as a judge, surrounded by the Virgin Mary, John the Evangelist and the apostles. The celestial zone, painted in a bright blue, contrasts with the rest of the panel, which is occupied by a dark brownish punishment of the Damned, while the Blessed occupy only a small portion. The punishments come from monstrous creatures of Hell: the damned are burned, speared, impaled, hung from butcher hooks, or subjected to cogs of bizarre machines.

The right panel shows Satan, in the centre, receiving the damned souls. The torture scenes continue in this panel, within a dark landscape dominated by flames and devilish figures.

The triptych is on show at the Groeningemuseum in Bruges Belgium. [Source: Wikimedia commons]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Last Judgement, The (Triptych)1482Oil/WoodHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Bosch, Hieronymousc1450-1516, aged 66Dutch painterNorthern Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1314-22]

Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna Austria168 x 60  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
Painted early in 1500, just before his 29th birthday, this is the last of his three painted self-portraits. Art historians consider it the most personal, iconic and complex of his self-portraits. The self-portrait is most remarkable because of its resemblance to many earlier representations of Christ.

It uses a frontal pose, which was exceptional for a secular portrait. In Italy. The conventional fashion for profile portraits was coming to an end, but being replaced with the three-quarters view which had been the accepted pose in Northern Europe since about 1420, and which Dürer had used in his earlier self-portraits.
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Self Portrait with Fur Collar1500Oil/PanelPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Dürer, Albrecht1471-1528, aged 56German painterNorthern Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1314-23]

Alte Pinakothek, Munich67 x 49  
This watercolour is considered a masterpiece of observational art, alongside his Great Piece of Turf (below) from the following year.

The subject is rendered with almost photographic accuracy. However, while the piece is normally given the title Young Hare, the portrait is sufficiently detailed for the hare to be identified as mature.
[Source: Wikimedia commons]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Young Hare, A1502Watercolour/GouacheAnimal painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Dürer, Albrecht1471-1528, aged 56German painterNorthern Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1314-24]

Albertinam, Vienna25 x 23  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
 The watercolour shows a large piece of turf and little else. The various plants can be identified as cock’s-foot, creeping bent, smooth meadow-grass, daisy, dandelion, germander speedwell, greater plantain, hound’s-tongue and yarrow.

It has a great level of realism in its portrayal of these natural objects.
[Source: Wikimedia commons]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Great piece of Turf1503Watercolour/Pen/InkStill Life
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Dürer, Albrecht1471-1528, aged 56German painterNorthern Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1314-25]

Albertinam Vienna40 x 31  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
The Garden of Earthly Delights is a modern title applied to Bosch’s most complex and enigmatic creation. The intricacy of its symbolism, particularly that of the central panel, has led to a wide range of scholarly interpretations over the centuries. Twentieth-century art historians are divided as to whether the triptych’s central panel is a moral warning or a panorama of paradise lost.

Bosch painted three large triptychs (the others are The Last Judgment and The Haywain Triptych of c. 1516) that can be read from left to right and in which each panel was essential to the meaning of the whole. Each of these three works presents distinct yet linked themes addressing history and faith.
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Garden of Earthly Delights, The (Triptych)1505-1510Oil/WoodLandscape
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Bosch, Hieronymous c1450-1516, aged 66Dutch painterNorthern Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1314-26]

Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid Spain220 x 389  
The work dates to Dürer’s sojourn in Venice, and had been commissioned by Jakob Fugger, intermediary between emperor Maximilian I and Pope Julius II, during the painter’s stay as the banker’s guest in Augsburg.

The painting shows the Virgin Enthroned holding the Child in the centre, with two flying angels holding above he, an elaborate royal crown made of gold, pearls and gems. This was a Flemish art scheme already widespread in the German area at the time.

The throne’s backrest is covered with a green drape and by a baldachin (canopy) which is also held by two flying cherubim. Below is an angel playing a lute, considered to be a homage to Giovanni Bellini’s altarpieces. Mary is depicted in the act of distributing rose garlands to two groups of kneeling worshippers, the left side is headed by Pope Julius II being crowned by the Child, and the right group is headed by the German emperor Frederick III.
[Source: Wikimedia commons]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Feast of the Rosary Rosenkranzfest1506Oil/PanelHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Dürer, Albrecht1471-1528, aged 56German painterNorthern Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1314-27]

National Gallery in Prague, Prague Czechia162 x 192  

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Images source: khanacademy.org
Constructed and painted between 1512 and 1516, the enormous moveable altarpiece is essentially a box of statues covered by folding wings. It was created to serve as the central object of devotion in an Isenheim hospital built by the Brothers of St. Anthony. Isenheim is a village about 15 miles south of Colmar.
Sculpted wooden altars were popular in Germany at the time. At the heart of the altarpiece, is Nicolas of Hagenau’s central carved and gilded ensemble of three saints. These are rather unimaginative; a bearded and enthroned St. Anthony flanked by standing figures of St. Jerome and St. Augustine.

Below, usually covered by a painted panel is the carved predella. Christ stands at the centre of seated apostles, six to each side, grouped in separate groups of three. Hagenau thus presents an orderly, rational, mathematical and replete world with numerical perfections—one, three, four and twelve.

Grünewald’s painted panels present a very different world; visions of hell on earth, in which the physical and psychological torments that afflicted Christ and a host of saints are rendered as visions wrought in dissonant psychedelic color, and played out by distorted figures – men, women, angels and demons – lit by streaking strident light and placed in eerie other-worldly landscapes. The painted panels fold out to reveal three distinct ensembles. In its common, closed position the central panels close to depict a horrific, night-time Crucifixion.
[Source: khanacademy.org]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Isenheim Altarpiece, The1512-15Oil/PanelHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Grünewald, Matthias  (Mathis Gothart Neithart)1470/80-1528, aged 58German painterNorthern Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1314-28]

Musée d’Unterlinden, Colmar France0  

Image source: museodelprado.es

Closed
Image source: Wikimedia commons
The Haywain triptych features, in its central panel, a large wagon of hay surrounded by a multitude of fools engaged in a variety of sins. Christ is portrayed in the sky and an angel on top of the wagon looks up to the sky, praying, but none of the other figures see Christ looking down on the world.

The left panel shows God giving form to Eve and the progression of the Garden of Eden events. The right panel portrays Hell. The outside shutters feature a version of Bosch’s The Wayfarer, painted in colour and not the more usual grisaille.
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Haywain Triptych1512-1515Oil/PanelLandscape
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Bosch, Hieronymousc1450-1516, aged 66Dutch painterNorthern Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1314-29]

Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid Spain135 x 200  
At the time, Antwerp had grown in population with the influx of many southern immigrants fleeing the Spanish Inquisition.
There was a demand for money-changers and moneylenders among this international community, as international commerce was increasing in the port city.

The Money Changer and His Wife depicts a man weighing jewels and pieces of gold at a table.
The couple are dressed as well-to-do citizens of Antwerp, where the painting was produced.

The wife is turning a page in a religious devotion book, open to a page illustrating the Virgin and Child, but is distracted by her husband’s accounting.
[Source: joyofmuseums.com]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Money-Lender and His Wife, The1514Oil/PanelGenre Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Matsys, Quentin 1466 – 1530Flemish painterNothern Renaissance
LOCATION:
SIZE (cms):  [1314-30]

Musée du Louvre, Paris71 x 67

Image source: Wikimedia commons
 The work shows a life-size, grotesque depiction of the stretched and unnaturally thin body of Jesus Christ lying in his tomb. The painting is especially notable for its dramatic dimensions (31 cm x 200 cm), and the fact that Christ’s face, hands and feet, as well as the wounds in his torso, are depicted as realistic dead flesh in the early stages of putrefaction. His body is shown as long and emaciated while eyes and mouth are left open.

Christ is shown with three visible wounds; on his hand, side and feet. Discussing the artist’s use of unflinching realism, art historians noted that Christ’s raised and extended middle finger appears to ‘reach towards the beholder’, while his strands of hair ‘look as if they are breaking through the surface of the painting’.
[Source: Wikimedia commons]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb, The1520-2Tempera/CnvHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Holbein the Younger, Hans1497-1543, aged 46German painterNorthern Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1314-31]

Kunstmuseum Basel, Basel CH30 x 200  
Erasmus (late 1460s-1536) was one of the most famous writers of his day and one of the most admired humanist scholars. In his portrait the artist has tried to surround the sitter with items which reflect his interests and profession.

Five largely original versions of an Erasmus portrait survive applying three main portrait types. It is difficult to untangle Holbein’s original work from that of his workshop and other copyists. Perhaps this is why a Latin couplet on the book on the back shelf, perhaps by Erasmus himself, praises Holbein’s skill: ‘I am Johannes (i.e. Hans) Holbein, whom it is easier to denigrate than to emulate.’

When Holbein moved to England he had a letter of recommendation from Erasmus to Thomas More, in whose house he initially lived.
[Source: nationalgallery.org.uk]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Erasmus of Rotterdam, Portrait1523Oil/Linden PanelPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Holbein the Younger, Hans1497-1543, aged 46German painterNorthern Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1314-32]

Private Collection18 x 14  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
Winged altar with the Last Judgement was by Cranach the Elder after the triptych by Hieronymus Bosch in Vienna, ca. 1524.

In the centre panel Christ is depicted as a judge sitting upon a rainbow. To the left souls are carried upwards by angels. Below and on the right panel it depicts Hell.
[Source: lucascranach.org]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Winged Altar with the Last Judgement (Flugelaltar mit dem Jungsten Gericht)1524Oil/PanelHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Cranach the Elder, Lucas1472-1553, aged 81German painter WittenbergNorthern Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1314-33]

Gemäldegalerie, Berlin Germany187 x 269  
This painting by Cranach the Elder is in the Royal Collection. It shows the sun god Apollo, admired for his moral standing and physical beauty, and his twin sister Diana or Artemis, goddess of the moon, who was associated with chastity, archery and hunting.

The scene is given a particular intensity by the way in which the figures are seen in relief but also related to the forest behind them. Diana’s precisely rendered hair curls around the stag’s antlers, which in turn are deliberately confused with the branches of the trees behind.

Cranach’s characteristically incisive clarity and attention to minute detail is seen here – for example, in the reflected light in the stag’s eye or the small swans swimming on the lake.
[Source: rct.uk]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Apollo and Dianac1525-7Oil/WoodHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Cranach the Elder, Lucas1472-1553, aged 81German painter WittenbergNorthern Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1314-34]

Royal Collection Trust, London UK84 x 57  

Image source: izi.travel.ru
The Four Apostles is the last of Dürer’s large works. It depicts the four apostles larger-than-life-size.

Saints John and Peter appear in the left panel; the figures in the right panel are Saints Mark and Paul. Mark and Paul both hold Bibles, and John and Peter are shown reading from the opening page of John’s own Gospel. At the bottom of each panel, quotations from the Bible are inscribed.[

The Reformation reduced the number of religious commissions for artists. Dürer donated this work to the Nuremberg town council.
[Source: .albrechtdurer.org]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Four Apostles, The (two panels)1526Oil/WoodHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Dürer, Albrecht1471-1528, aged 56German painterNorthern Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1314-35]

Alte Pinakothek, Munich Germany215 x 76 each  
 A solemn woman wearing a soft cap of dense white fur sits with a red squirrel in her lap and a glossy-feathered starling at her shoulder. Common pets in the fifteenth-century, these animals also have a symbolic meaning and serve as clues to the sitter’s identity. She is thought to be Anne Lovell, whose husband, Sir Francis Lovell, was employed at the court of Henry VIII, King of England.

The couple had inherited a large estate. Squirrels nibbling on nuts feature on the heraldry of the Lovell family and the windows of the church at East Harling include two of the family’s coats of arms in stained glass, each showing six red squirrels.

The commission may have commemorated the birth of a son to the couple in the spring of 1526, but it also showed off their new status as wealthy landowners.
[Source: nationalgallery.org.uk]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling, A1526-8Oil/OakPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Holbein the Younger, Hans1497-1543, aged 46German painterNorthern Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1314-36]

National Gallery, London UK56 x 39  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
Portrait of Sir Thomas More is an oak panel painting commissioned in 1527.
The work was created when Holbein lived in London. He had gained the friendship of the Dutch humanist Erasmus, who recommended that he befriend More, then a powerful, knighted speaker at the English Parliament.

A closely related, though probably not directly preparatory, drawing with bodycolour is in the Royal Collection, and there is a copy in the National Portrait Gallery, probably ‘painted in Italy or Austria in the early seventeenth century’.

Another Holbein portrait of More, part of a large group portrait of his family, is now lost, but several drawings (also mostly in the Royal Collection) and copies survive.
[Source: Wikimedia commons]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Sir Thomas More, Portrait1527Oil/OakPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Holbein the Younger, Hans1497-1543, aged 46German painterNorthern Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1314-37]

Frick Collection, New York USA74 x 59  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
Duke William IV of Bavaria commissioned The Battle of Alexander at Issus in 1528 as part of a set of historical pieces that was to hang in his Munich residence.

Modern commentators suggest that the painting, through its abundant use of anachronism, was intended to liken Alexander’s heroic victory at Issus to the contemporary European conflict with the Ottoman Empire. In particular, the defeat of Suleiman the Magnificent at the siege of Vienna may have been the inspiration for Altdorfer.

A religious undercurrent is detectable, especially in the extraordinary sky; this was probably inspired by the prophecies of Daniel and contemporary concern within the Church about an impending apocalypse. The Battle of Alexander at Issus and four others that were part of William’s initial set are in the Alte Pinakothek art museum in Munich.
[Source: Wikimedia commons]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Battle of Alexander at Issus1529Oil/PanelHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Altdorfer, Albrecht c. 1480-1538German painterNorthern Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1314-38]

Alte Pinakothek, Munich Germany0  
In 1525 Martin Luther, the apostate Augustinian monk, married Katharina von Bora, a former nun. He was thoroughly aware of the political consequences of this step.

Shortly afterwards an aggressive pictorial propaganda campaign was launched that clearly set out to proclaim the event. Pairs of portraits and diptychs of the newly married couple were published in large numbers.
[Source: wga.hu]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Luther and Wife, Portrait Diptych of1529Oil/Tempera/Beech WoodPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Cranach the Elder, Lucas1472-1553, aged 81German painter WittenbergNorthern Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1314-39]

Uffizi Gallery,  Florence Italy38 x 24  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
Hans Holbein the younger was commissioned to paint a series of eight portraits of individual Hanseatic merchants from their base in Steelyard London. These portraits included Georg Gisze of Danzig; Hans of Antwerp and Hermann and Hillebrant Wedigh of Cologne.

These represented a new type of merchant class, that was beginning to dominate trade in 14th and 15th-century Europe. Rather than haul goods from one market town to another, these new merchants dealt in goods on a large scale, importing and exporting across long distances. They often maintained permanent offices in the larger European or Asian cities, operated by agents or family members.
[Source: Wikimedia commons]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Merchant George Gisze, The1532OilPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Holbein the Younger, Hans1497-1543, aged 46German painterNorthern Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1314-40]

Gemäldegalerie, Berlin Germany96 x 86  
Holbein’s presence in England was due to the spread of Lutheranism across Germany, Scandinavia and Switzerland, and the consequent fall in demand for fine art painting.

Portrait of Thomas Cromwell is a smaller than usual oil painting by Holbein the Younger. Holbein’s presence in England was due to the spread of Lutheranism across Germany, Scandinavia and Switzerland, and the consequent fall in demand for fine art painting.

It is usually dated to between 1532 and 1534, when Cromwell, an English lawyer and statesman, served as principal secretary and chief minister to King Henry VIII of England. He was around 48 years old.

It is one of two portraits Holbein painted of him; the other is a tondo from a series of medallions of Tudor courtiers. [Source: Wikimedia commons]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Thomas Cromwell, Portrait1532-4Tempera/OakPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Holbein the Younger, Hans1497-1543, aged 46German painterNorthern Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1314-41]

Frick Collection, New York USA   
Jean de Dinteville, the man on the left, is shown on his second diplomatic mission to England on behalf of Francis I, King of France.

To the right is his close friend, Georges de Selve, Bishop of Lavaur.

This portrait was painted at a time of religious upheaval in Europe. Although the pope had refused to annul Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon which resulted in a break with the Roman Catholic Church. The array of objects on the table seem to allude to discord; the arithmetic book, for example, is open at the page concerning mathematical division.

If viewed from a particular angle the elongated shape between the men’s feet becomes a skull. Equally hidden at the top left of the picture is a crucifix that hints at the hope of redemption in the resurrected Christ.
[Source: nationalgallery.org.uk]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Ambassadors, The1533Oil/OakHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Holbein the Younger, Hans1497-1543, aged 46German painterNorthern Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1314-42]

National Gallery, London UK207 x 210  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
Portrait of Henry VIII is a lost work by Hans Holbein the Younger, it was destroyed by fire in 1698, but is still well known through many copies.

It was created in 1536–1537 as part of a mural showing the Tudor dynasty in the privy chamber at the Palace of Whitehall, Westminster.

Henry is posed without any of the standard royal accoutrements such as a sword, crown, or sceptre. This was common in progressive royal portraiture of the period, for example the portraits by Titian of the Habsburg family and other royalty, and also French and German royal portraits. But Holbein’s success in conveying royal majesty without such specific props is exceptional.

It is one of the most iconic images of Henry and is one of the most famous portraits of any English or British monarch.
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Henry VIII, Portrait of 1536-7Oil/CnvPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Holbein the Younger, Hans1497-1543, aged 46German painterNorthern Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms):   [1314-43]

Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool UK96 x 86  
The portrait was made to commemorate the defeat of the Spanish Armada (May 1588); the naval action is depicted in the background. It was formerly attributed to George Gower (1540-1596) but is now considered to have been produced by an unknown artist. The painting is on permanent public display in the Queen’s Presence Chamber in the Queen’s House, on the site of the original Greenwich Palace – the birthplace of Elizabeth I.
[source: rmg.co.uk]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I1588Oil/Oak panelPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Unknown (previously thought to be George Gower)00Northern Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms):
Queen’s House, Greenwich Palace, London UK105 x 133

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