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9.1 ARTH 213, November 7th

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Art History
ARTH 214
Cathleen Hoeniger

ARTH 213 Renaissance Art and Architecture Wednesday, November 7 2012th Early Netherlandish Painting, 1400-1450, continued Jan and Hubert van Eyck. Altarpiece of the Lamb. Finished 1432. Open Position (interior). Cathedral of St. Bavo, Ghent.  Outside panels show the use of illusionism in early Flemish painting o Illusionistic depictions of the donors, shown as if they were painted wood sculptures that had come to life o Unique artistic elements of Northern Europe at the time  Difficulty of depicting three dimensional images on a 2 dimensional surface o Would create a pictorial space that was not mathematically accurate, but created empirical perspective – using the senses to gain experiences about the natural world  When applied to the creation of illusionistic space in art: creating the feeling of space in a work of art using feelings, but not using mathematical rule o We get a feeling of deep space, and the feeling of a room that figures occupy but he hasn‟t used mathematical rules to achieve this  Iconography: the subject matter and meaning o Deices at the top – three figures with God the father enthroned in the center – aspects of the trinity as well  Virgin Mary as Queen of Heaven  God as Judge  John the Baptist to the left o Apocalyptic vision of a sacrificial lamb on an altar  Symbolic representation of Christ o Different groups of different types of holy and religious groups  Shows All Saints (a really important feast day when all the Christian Saints are celebrated)  They are congregating around an image of Christ being sacrificed (the lamb)  Militant approach (Christian soldiers)  Archetypal (St. George)  Kings (the Magi) – of the terrestrial world and will bow before Christ  Hermits – different approach to Christianity where they isolate themselves in the wilderness and partake in fasting rituals (holy anorexia) and self-flagellation  They‟re all flocking towards Christ o Presence of the Trinity links the upper and lower tiers o God the Father (red enthroned)  Beneath him is a semi-circle of Holy light and a dove (representing the Holy Spirit)  The Lamb beneath as Christ o Adam and Eve on the outside  Fallen from grace (covering their bodies)  Christ would be the new Adam, and the Virgin the new Eve  Very differtht esthetic than in Italy  15 century in the North there wasn‟t an over desire among artists to imitate classical art  Renaissance only arrived in the North in the 16 century with a few artists  Emphasis on intense naturalism in the North  Naturalism was seen as classical revival – it was a part of the Renaissance and was strongly emphasized in 15 century North  Very naturalistic (other than Eve‟s bloated belly)  Different figure type – Adam isn‟t idealized  Models had stood in the artist‟s studio  Emphasis on Eve‟s belly is an emphasis on her newfound fertility after the fall from grace  Details on hair – intense realism  Painting techniques being developed in the North o Were using an oil glazing method (compared to egg tempera being used in Italy) o As many as 35 layers of oil glazes in Jan van Eyck‟s painting o Gold parts here are made using yellow paint and glazes – no gold leaf o No more use of gold or silver leaf o Light enters the paint layers and is refracted (the angle of incidence changes) – light comes out refracted from different layers of these oil glazes  Gives the effect of texture  When you look at it, it feels like you could touch the velvet, the gemstones, etc.  Creates hyperrealism through the senses and this technique Jan van Eyck, Madonna with Chancellor Nicolas Rolin, c. 1425. Oil on panel. 26 x 24 3/8 inches. Paris, Louvre  Personal altarpieve  Made for Chancellor Nickolas Rolin who was the financial officer for the Duke of Burgundy (his economist, financial advisor – was in charge of the accounts for the Duchy of Burgundy)  Likeness is completely convincing because of the intense impericism, naturalism, in van Eyck‟s art  He‟s at prayer in his own private chamber – has a vision in which the Virgin appears to him seated on a throne with the Christ child on her lap, she‟s being crowned by an angel as Queen of Heaven  Tilled floor does not follow Alberti‟s rules – it still recedes into the distance, but it isn‟t mathematically correct  Window takes the form of a Romanesque (different from Ancient Rome) – rounded arches, not perfect semi-circles o Triple opening – whenever we see threes in Christian art we‟re meant to think of the Trinity  Balcony and garden o Whenever seen in association with the Virgin Mary there is symbolic meaning – Virgin is associated with the Garden of the Soul – the locus of Christian pleasure (not physical) o Flowers also have botanical symbolism  White lily is a symbol of the purity of the Virgin‟s womb  She was alone among women – she was not fertile, she gave birth without pain (lucky girl) o Peacock  Flesh of the peacock didn‟t rot – it became a symbol for eternal life o The backs of two figures  Interesting artistic device used to guide our eye into the distance o River is winding into the background and mountains to create depth  City in the background is most likely symbolic o Heaven takes the form of a perfect, idealized, city o Artist sometimes fools us into thinking that something‟s real, when really it‟s symbolic Jan van Eyck, Madonna with Canon George van der Paele, 1436. Groeningemuseum, Bruges. 122 x 157 cm  George was the ecclesiastic responsible for the Church of Saint Donation o He‟s shows as an old man – taken off his ecclesiastical garments – in prayer, having a vision of Saint Donation (the bishop) o St. George is also shown in his crusader armor – incredible depiction of armor  St. George is recommending the patron to the patron saint of the church  In the midst of this the Virgin is enthroned with the Christ child on her knee in a visionary form  Location is important o Architectural face is interesting – o Romanesque architecture  He had gone out and sketched Romanesque churches as case studies o Behind the arches is the area behind the altar in Romanesque churches – therefore the Virgin is seated on the altar – she is the High Altar  She is
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