Annunciation in Northern Renaissance Art

Topics: Early Netherlandish painting / Pages: 10 (2428 words) / Published: Jun 21st, 2002
"Of all religious subjects, that of the Annunciation is closest to the artist as a Christian. The subject is described only by Luke, patron saint of painters, who was popularly believed to have been a master of their craft as well as a physician."1

Flemish painting was founded in the Low Countries at the start of the fifteenth century. The Low Countries, consisting of what is now Belgium and Holland, as well as the provinces of Artois and Hainault, and the cities of Arras and Cambrai.2 "No other artists give quite the same sensation of being free to see, through a window of a picture frame, a vanished world preserved in all completeness, as a piece of amber preserves the fragile detail of an insect from centuries ago."3 Though many artists and works of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries are considered to be of Flemish origin, the reality is that artists, either due to intrigue with their area, or for economic reasons, chose to make their home or place of work in the region. Many of the more famous Flemish artists spent their childhood in Germany, France, or just outside of the Flemish territory. By paying or earning their way into these communities, artists became known as Flemish, and because so many talented people worked closely together, a similarity of style developed, thus we have the Flemish style of painting. Not one artist should be considered to be the greatest painter of the region because quite a few were able to distinguish themselves from the generic, and thus developed their ow individual ways of presenting their ideas. The Annunciation is one of the most popular biblical scenes depicted in the early northern renaissance painting community. By focusing on this one particular scene, as painted by artists considered to be great at their craft in the Flemish region, either by birth or by employment, it is possible to note the individual style of each, and therefore, prove that not one of these artists should be considered the ‘best

Bibliography: Braziller, George, Pub. The Tres Riches Heures of Jean, Duke of Berry. New York: George Braziller, Inc., 1969. Conway, M.P., Sir Martin. The Van Eycks and Their Followers. London: John Murray, 1921. Davies, Martin. The Early Netherlandish School. London: National Gallery Publications, 1968. Dumont, Georges-Henri. Hans Memling. New York: Barnes & Noble, Inc., 1966. Eisler, Colin. Early Netherlandish Painting. London: Philip Wilson Publishers, LTD., 1989. Friedlander, Max J. From Van Eyck to Bruegel. New York: Cornell University Press, 1981. Hasting, Julia. Annunciation. London, Phaidon Press Limited, 2000. Richardson, E.P. Flemish Painting of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries. Detroit: Detroit Institute of Arts, 1936. Snyder, James. Northern Renaissance Art: Painting, Sculpture, the Graphic Arts from 1350-1575. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1985.

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