Chapter 20 - Chapter 20 The Renaissance in the North...

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Chapter 20 The Renaissance in the North Between Wealth and Want
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Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Northern Europe Controlled by the dukes of Burgundy, Flanders (modern Holland, Belgium, and Luxemburg) included the prosperous cities of Bruges and Antwerp Bruges was a major center of culture. The financial capital of the north, the city was home to the Medici banking interests in the region Because the city’s prosperous merchant class, like the nobility, actively supported the arts, Bruges was home to a thriving community of painters
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Burgundy in 1467
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Bruges Throughout the fifteenth century, Bruges’s population ranged between 40,000 and 50,000, quite large by Northern European standards Wages in Bruges were the highest in Northern Europe, and the city provided the most extensive social-care networks anywhere—including 11 hospitals and hospices. Erasmus compared the people of Bruges to the people of Golden Age Athens Of all the Flemish towns, Bruges was the first to build a town hall. Its Radiant-style Gothic decoration recalls the palaces of French and Burgundian nobility
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Town Hall (at right) and Greffe (at left) Bruges, Belgium Town Hall 1376-1402; Greffe, 1534-37 The Greffe is the office of civil clerks
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Selling Art: Bruges and Antwerp In Bruges, painting was a major commodity second only to cloth. By the middle of the 15th century Antwerp had supplanted Bruges in importance, and it became the chief distribution center for the arts in Northern Europe Both cities sponsored fairs at which art would be sold. In 1553 alone, Spanish and Portuguese ships left the Antwerp docks with more than 4 tons of paintings
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Johannes Stradanus, Oil Painting , or Jan van Eyck’s Studio 8” x 10.5” late 16th century This print shows van Eyck’s Bruges studio as a factory where paintings are made as goods for consumption by a rising middle class In his Lives of the Painters , Giorgio Vasari wrote that van
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Miniatures The Renaissance in the North is much more intimately linked to medieval traditions than the Renaissance in the south. In particular, the northern culture developed a taste for detailed renderings of material reality Fifteenth century Burgundian painters fused the Gothic intricacies with naturalism in their miniatures, the painstakingly detailed, hand- painted decorations of manuscripts The most famous miniature painters were the
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Limbourg Brothers, The Temptation of Christ, from Les Très Riches Heures de Duc du Berry Illumination on parchment, 6 ¾” x 4 ½” ca. 1415 A Book of Hours typically begins with a calendar illustrated with images showing daily life or special events associated with each month of the year. It continues with short prayers to be recited during the 8 canonical hours, or designated times for prayer Castle depicted belonged to Jean, duke of Berry, who commissioned this book. Near Bruges, it was considered by many to be the most beautiful private home in the world Christ’s refusal of the devil’s offer of worldly riches perhaps is to remind the Duc of the transience of worldly things
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