Early Renaissance in Northern Europe
Als ich chan = "The best that I am capable of doing"
Jan van Eyck, Man in a Red Turban, 1433.












Agesander of Rhodes, Polydorus of Rhodes, and Athenodoros of Rhodes, Laocoön and His Sons, 27 AD.
Rediscovered in 1506 near the Baths of Trajan











Renaissance Humanism
an emphasis on education and on expanding knowledge (especially of classical antiquity), the exploration of individual potential and a desire to excel, and a commitment to civic responsibility and moral duty
  • Renewed interest in classic Greece and Rome
  • Belief that Man was the measure of all things
  • Belief that humanity could achieve perfection through education
  • Valued a balance between faith and reason
  • Stressed man's superiority over nature
  • Interest and value in the individual
Fra Filippo, Madonna and Child, c. 1440.











The Medici in Florence
banking family in the Republic of Florence who rose to political power in the 15th century; in the 16th century, more than half the people of Florence were employed by the family in some capacity
Peter Paul Rubens, Disembarkation of Marie de Medici at Marseilles, 1622 - 1625
Medici Bank founded; will become Europe's largest
Exiled Cosimo de Medici returns to Florence and unofficial rule
Platonic Academy founded in Florence
Guttenberg begins selling one of the first books published with movable type in the West (movable type invented in China about 400 years earlier)
1464 - 1469
Piero de Medici rules
1469 - 1492
Lorenzo "the Magnificent" rules Florence
Medici bank fails; Medici exiled from Florence
Medici exile ends
1513 - 1521
Giovanni di Lorenzo de Medici becomes Pope Leo X
Grants indulgences for parishoners who donate towards the construction of St. Peter's Basilica
1523 - 1534
Giulio di Guliano de Medici becomes Pope Clement VII











quatrefoil = an ornamental design of four lobes or leaves as used in architectural tracery,
resembling a flower or four-leaf clover.


Andrea Pisano, Florence Baptistry di San Giovanni (south), 1329 - 1336.











Filippo Brunelleschi, Sacrifice of Isaac, competition panel for east doors, baptistry of Florence Cathedral,
1401 - 1402.
Lorenzo Ghiberti, Sacrifice of Isaac, competition panel for east doors, baptistry of Florence Cathedral,
1401 – 1402.











Lorenzo Ghiberti, Gates of Paradise (East Doors of Florence Baptistry), 1425 - 1452.












Restoration of Baptistry Doors











Vassari described the east doors of the Florence Baptistry as "undeniably perfect in every way and must rank as the finest masterpiece ever created."
bas relief = a projecting image with a shallow overall depth, for example used on coins, on which all images are in low relief

Lorenzo Ghiberti, Story of Abraham (East Doors of Florence Baptistry), 1425 - 1452.











Lorenzo Ghiberti, Adam and Eve (East Doors of Florence Baptistry), 1425 - 1452.











Lorenzo Ghiberti, Jacob and Esau, c. 1435.


"And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the Lord. And the Lord said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger." (Genesis 25:22–23)











"I strove to imitate nature as clearly as I could, and with all the perspective I could produce, to have excellent compositions with many figures." - Lorenzo Ghiberti
Ghiberti, Self-Portrait, Ghiberti from the Gates of Paradise (East doors of the Florence Baptistry), c. 1435.











Renaissance = 14th century to 17th century
Northern Renaissance
art north of the Alps in Flanders, Netherlands, and Normandy
1450s - 1550
Early Renaissance
Italian art in Tuscany
1400 - 1500
High Renaissance
Italian art in Rome, Florence and Venice
1500 - 1527
art in Florence, Rome, Venice, Spain and France
1530s - 1600











Petrus Christus, A Goldsmith (Saint Eligius?) in His Shop, 1449.
Perugino, Christ Delivering the Keys to Saint Peter,
c. 1481 - 1482.
Differences between Early Renaissance in the North and in Italy
      • Humanism does not make as great an impact in North until 15th century
      • Northern artists did not entirely reject the preceding Gothic style
      • Northern artists more concerned with Christianity than Classical mythology
      • New style evident mostly in painting in the North











In middle ages, illuminated manuscripts, tapestries and metalwork were the most highly valued art forms. By the 15th century, panel painting quickly became the most prized.
St. John the Evangelist from the Gospel Book of Abbot Wedcricus, 1147.
Rogier van der Weyden, Saint John Altarpiece, 1455 - 1460.











Three Netherlandish artists recognized as most remarkable innovators:

      Robert Campin

      Jan van Eyck

      Rogier van der Weyden











Robert Campin, Merode Altarpiece (Triptych of the Annunciation), c. 1425 - 1428. Oil on oak panel.