15th Century Art in Europe

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1

19-1 Double Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and His Wife, Jan van Eyck; 1434; oil on wood panel

Detail/Symbolism: Mirror-- inscription of Van Eyck (Van Eyck was here), Van Eyck probably one of the people seen in the mirror. Mirror is the all-seeing eye of god, and the passions of Christ are seen in the frame surrounding the mirror. Wealth-- elaborate garments, dog, fur lining on cape, chandelier, red velvets on bed, oriental rug, oranges. Painting is of the cloth merchant Giovanni Arnolfini. Prayer Beads-- hanging next to mirror, symbol of the couple's piety. Oranges-- could be a symbol of wealth or a symbol of fertility. Dog-- fidelity, lust, or funerary. Shoes-- mens slippers/ wooden outdoor shoes, the point outside the home, indicating that his place is outside the home. Red female slippers in background point into the home, her place is within the home. Shoes are a symbol of a new marriage/fertility. Woman-- is lifting her skirt revealing her feet, suggestive of sexual intent. Carving of St. Margaret on headboard, patron saint of childbirth.

Interpretations: Wedding-- probably taking place with two witnesses and the bride and groom, image may have served as a marriage license. Woman is pregnant. Could be two families coming together to make a powerful business contract in the form of a marriage. Memorial-- single candle lit over wife, could be that she has died.

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19-2 Annunciation, Visitation, Presentation in the Temple, Flight into Egypt, Melchior Broederlam, oil on panel

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19-3 Well of Moses, Claus Sluter, 1395-1406, limestone with traces of paint, Chartreuse de Champmol

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19-5 February: Life in the Country, Très Riches Heures

Paul, Herman, and Jean Limbourg; 1411-16; Color and Ink on Parchment

Imagery depicts both laboring peasants and the aristocrats--Agreeable in the eyes of aristocratic patrons of the book. “Book of Hours”—eight hours in the day that had prayers associated with them

Notes: woman in blue may be the owner of the farmstead—she is lifting her dress to warm her legs by the fire, but does so in a “classy” and modest manner, while the peasants behind her are not modest about their warming

Detail: atmospheric perspective covering the city in the background. bold pops of color associated with the international gothic style. cutaway view of the farmhouse.

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19-8 Unicorn is Found at the Fountain, from the Hunt of the Unicorn tapestry series

c.1495-1505; wool, silver-and-gilt-wrapped thread

woven tapestries seen as a sign of wealth

Detail: curved lines "faked" during weaving process (because weaving is horizontal and vertical); tonal variations in fur; use of light and shadow

Imagery: Unicorn-- theme of series; mythology says unicorn can only be captured by a virgin, unicorn is representative of Christ, Virgin Mary is trying to catch the unicorn. OR unicorn can be a symbol for romantic love. Lions--symbol of courage, valor, faith, and mercy. Stag--symbol of Christ's resurrection (because the stag is able to shed and re-grow its antlers; seen as a defender against snakes (snakes=evil/devil). Rabbits, Pomegranates & Oranges--fertility. Dogs--fidelity (Fido=faith). Strawberry--sexual love. Beech Trees--nobility. Monogram A,E.-- Anne of Brittany who once owned the tapestry (appears an average of 5 times per tapestry in series)

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19-10 Mérode Altarpiece; Workshop of the Master of Flémalle; c.1425-30s; oil on wood panel; speculated artist: Robert Campin

Symbols: Majolica-- glazed earthenware vessel, with lily (lily=virgin mary) Water Pot-- symbolizes the vessel (Mary is the vessel that will carry Jesus). Jewish Prayer Shawl-- jewish faith. extinguished candle-- God's divinity taking human form (moment of immaculate conception), the candle is blown out as the baby 'flys in' to be 'immaculately conceived'. Baby Jesus flying in with a cross through the window-- moment of immaculate conception. Joseph's Workshop-- in right wing, Joseph is working in his carpentry shop. Mousetrap--in window, Jesus is the cheese trying to attract satan and trap him.

Detail: lifted shudders in workshop, use of perspective Drapery-- used drapery to create drama, use of light and shadow, you can see a sense of the body underneath the garmats

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19-12 Man in a Red Turban, Jan van Eyck, 1433, oil on panel

Frame is inscribed with his motto: "As I Can" in greek letters. I Can = Eyck Can; he was showing off how real he could paint.

Not an idealized figure, but an individualized likeness. Possibly a self-portrait, red veins in eye, five-o'clock shadow, probably painted by getting close to himself in a mirror. Turban references the ancient East.

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19-14 Ghent Altarpiece (closed), Jan and Hubert van Eyck; 1432; oil on panel; Cathedral of St. Bavo, Ghent

commissioned by wealthy city official in Ghent for the Cathedral of St. Bavo. Patron and his wife are represented in the lower left and right-hand corners of the closed altarpiece.

St. John Baptist, and St. John Evangelist; Scene of annunciation, muted color scheme on top, angel Gabriel speaking to Mary. Mary is speaking back, but her text is upside down so God (looking down from above) can read it.

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19-15 Ghent Altarpiece (open), Jan and Hubert van Eyck; 1432; oil on panel; Cathedral of St. Bavo, Ghent

Shudders of altarpiece opened only on Sundays and Holy Days. Realistic, luminous drapery, textural details, international gothic style, realism of particulars, carefully controlled lighting.

Upper Level: God crowned with the triple crown, and an earthly crown at his feet. Virgin Mary and St. John Baptist are represented on either side of God in a sacred space. Angels singing and playing music in top, unidealized portrayals of Adam and Eve.

Lower Level: panels stolen several times-- Nazis in WWII, and all but one recovered in 1945.

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19-16 Deposition, Rogier van der Weyden, c. 1435-1438, oil on wood panel

Commissioned by a Crossbowman's guild, as a result-- there are crossbows in the corners. Deposition is the moment of Christ being taken down from the cross, usually placed in the Virgin Mary's arms. Detail: Figures are near life-size. Faces are individualized, each expresses real and tangible emotions. Woman on left crying, nose is red. White garments on Christ are balanced out by the white veil on left and right and above. The weight/curve of Jesus' body is echoed by the Virgin Mary below, they are joined in suffering. Skull: Memento Mori means that death is inevitable. Rich, vibrant colors, drapery, light and shadow.

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19-18 Virgin and Child , Dieric Bouts, c.1455-1460, oil on wood panel

Based upon ancient Byzantine icons, this one is the "Affectionate Virgin." It's a commonplace, everyday scene of the virgin and child. Very human, no gold halo/background. Mary's hands look strong, wrinkled, and worn, her fingernails are dirty.

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19-19 Portinari Altarpiece, Hugo van der Goes, c.1474-1476, tempera and oil on wood panel

Altarpiece depicts Nativity scene. Central Panel- Christ child surrounded by Mary and Joseph. Left panel: Joseph and Mary traveling towards Bethlehem. Right Panel: Magi approaching the manger. (continuous narrative)

Symbolism: Objects in distance represented less clear in a blueish tone. Christ child is lying alone, vulnerable & exposed (foreshadowing?) Bundle of wheat: references location of Bethlehem (translated to House of Bread from Hebrew), symbolic of Eucharist. Red lily-- represents blood of Christ. Violets-- humility. Seven columbines represents the Seven sorrowful mysteries of the Virgin Mary. St. Margaret-- Patron Saint of Childbirth-- Dragon below her.

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19-26 St. Wolfgang Altarpiece, Michael Pacher; 1471-81; Church of St. Wolfgang, Austria; carved from wood, painted with gold leaf and slight touches of color.

Center: Christ crowning Mary as the queen of heaven.

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19-28 The Temptations of St. Anthony, Martin Schongauer; c. 1470-80, engraving

known for his skills in drawing and his technique in shading with lines only.

Temptation as a physical assault. St. Anthony gazes serenely at the viewer, remains relatively calm and is able to overcome the temptations. He is accepting of his fate of being tempted, but not succumbing to temptation. his initials are at the bottom

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583 – A Goldsmith in his Shop, Petrus Christus, 1449, oil on oak panel

Petrus had a career lasting 3 decades, but he only signed/dated 6 paintings. Portrait of the goldsmith documenting his profession. Ribbon on front of table is a betrothal belt, implies the purpose the couple is in the goldsmith's shop. Coral and Sharks Teeth: used to ward off the "evil eye." Scale: justice, representative of the last judgement- weighing of souls, saved souls are lighter, damned souls are heavier. Mirror: allowed the goldsmith to view who was approaching his shop, allows us to see the outside scene: two male figures, one holding a falcon, symbol of high status. Red figure compliments the goldsmith's garment, unifies the interior and exterior space.

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St. Luke Drawing the Virgin and Child, Rogier van der Weyden, c.1435-1440, oil and tempera on wood panel

virgin and child miraculously appear in front of St. Luke so he can record their appearance, based on a 6th Century Byzantine legend. St. Luke is patron saint of the guild of doctors and apothecaries, which includes painters.

Elegant room and view, small garden, city scene, rural landscape. Demonstration of the artist's skill in many scenes. St. Luke may be a self-portrait of the artist.

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Head of Christ, Petrus Christus, c.1445, oil on parchment, laid down on wood

Miniature portrait, intended for private devotion, image of Christ is individualized, intended to direct the viewer's meditation/prayer. Gold elements function as halo, only idealized items in portrait.

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The City of Nuremberg, from the Nuremberg Chronicles; Michael Wolgemut, Wilhelm Pleydenwurff, and workshop published in 1943. woodcut within a printed book, hand-colored after printing.

Each copy of the book contained 1,900 woodcut blocks? maybe?

This scene: panoramic view of the city of Nuremberg. 45-50,000 citizens.

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