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Northern Renaissance Art Comparison

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Northern Renaissance Art Comparison
Kayla Cummings
2/15/2013
ARTH 104-004

A Renaissance Art Comparison

Art in the Renaissance period was majorly influenced by social, political, and cultural aspects of this time period. Art in Italy during the fifteenth century greatly influenced art throughout northern Europe. Though there are distinct differences between the Italian Renaissance and the Northern Renaissance, Italy did inspire a movement that eventually spread throughout the rest of Europe. Two particular art pieces from each area that will be examined are Fra Angelico’s Annunciation from Florence, Italy, and Robert Campin’s Merode Altarpiece from Northern Europe. Not only are the elements of composition important in these two works of art, but also the style, overall
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Angelico as an artist was not focused primarily on humanism unlike other artists during the Italian Renaissance, but rather he was dedicated to the Roman Catholic Church. Angelico was asked to create this fresco painting for the Dominican monks of San Marco in order to inspire the monks to immerse themselves in their religion (Kleiner). In this painting we see the Virgin Mary and the Archangel Gabriel on the stairs leading to the friar’s cells. We can see the classical elements shown in this painting through the arches and columns that the convent consisted of. Angelico shows great linear perspective in Annunciation, as well as pristine clarity and simplicity. The colors are a bit plainer, with hues of pinks, but give off an intimate feel that complimented the convent nicely. Mary and Gabriel look serene and accepting of their encounter- at peace with their exchange. Angelico’s interpretation of this famous scene was mostly affected by the convent he was part of. His religious views influenced the simple, quiet, yet remarkable painting in San …show more content…
The first panel is the donors that commissioned the painting by Campin, the second panel is the same Annunciation scene of Mary and Gabriel but depicted quite differently, and the third panel is Saint Joseph. This painting pays close attention to clarity and detail, with varying colors and realism. The painting is in oil, and has a style that reflects the Northern Renaissance period. For example, the angel and Mary do not have halos, and it lacks linear perspective. The lack of halos, as well as Mary’s face (which doesn’t seem too happy about the fact that she is about to conceive Christ’s child) could relate to the religious separation that Northern Europe was experiencing during the Renaissance. Northern Renaissance art is very well known for its symbolism, and in this painting nearly every object is symbolic of spiritual ideas (Harris). For example, lilies represent Mary’s virginity, Joseph’s tools represent the Passion of the Christ, and the extinguished candle represents God taking human

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