Shared Flashcard Set


Art History NoRen Exam II
Northern Renaissance Art
Art History
Undergraduate 4

Additional Art History Flashcards





prayer beads used to count the 150 prayers that was the spiritual equivalent to reciting the 150 Psalms

 this personal devotional tool very prevalent among the laity in the middle ages

Advantages: you don't need a book, you don't have to be able to read

as you go through the prayers, it is similar to a book of hours – prayers were accompanied by meditation on one of the Mysteries of the Rosary, which recalls the life of Jesus Christ

Ars Moriendi

"The Art of Dying" offers advice on the protocols and procedures of a good death for lay people and priests, explaining how to "die well" according to Christian precepts of the late Middle Ages

It was written within the historical context of the effects of the macabre horrors of the Black Plague and consequent social upheavals of the 15th century

In Christian life, the state in which you die is very important. Diseases were so prevalent in society that people felt very insecure about living long and so they changed their approach to death.

relief printing technique where image is carved into the surface of a block of wood

small books that contained text and images in the same block

printed in Europe in the second half of the 15th century content was nearly always religious and aimed at a popular audience

cheap popular alternative to the printed book

journey or search of great moral or spiritual significance. Typically to a shrine or other location of spiritual importance to a person's beliefs and faith.
Court artist

an artist who painted for the members of a royal or noble family

Usually they were given a salary and formal title, and often a pension for life. For the artist, a court appointment had the advantage of freeing them from the restriction of local painters' guilds.

Workshop/ workshop practice

master and a number of assistants worked together producing pieces that went out in the master's name.

This was the standard in the Middle Ages and was often enforced by local guild regulations. Apprentices usually began young, working on simple tasks and perhaps one day becoming a master themselves.

Atelier = French for "workshop"


an association of craftsmen in a particular trade

often depended on grants of letters patent by a monarch or other authority to enforce the flow of trade to their self-employed members, and to retain ownership of tools and the supply of materials

state of being separate from religion
writings about saints - focus on the lives and miracles of men and women canonized by the church
Patron saint
a saint who is regarded as the intercessor and advocate in heaven - because they have already transcended to the metaphysical, they are believed to be able to intercede effectively
Joan of Arc (Jehanne d’Arc)

considered a national heroine of France and a Catholic saint - one of the patron saints of France.

A peasant girl who claimed divine guidance, she led the French army to several important victories during the Hundred Years' War, which paved the way for the coronation (crowning) of Charles VII.

She was captured by the Burgundians, sold to the English, tried by an ecclesiastical court, and burned at the stake when she was 19 years old.

Twenty-five years after the execution, Pope Callixtus III examined the trial, pronounced her innocent and declared her a martyr.

Hundred Years’ War

a series of wars/conficts waged from 1337 to 1453 by the House of Valois and the House of Plantagenet (Anjou) for the vacant French throne

The final outcome was a victory for the house of Valois; however, the war nearly ruined them.

France suffered greatly from the war, since most of the conflict occurred in that country.


practice of incising a design on to a hard surface by cutting grooves into it.

The result may be a decorated object in itself or may provide an intaglio printing plate for printing images - these images are also called engravings


intaglio printmaking technique in which an image is incised into a plate with a hard-pointed "needle" of sharp metal or diamond point.

Like etching, drypoint is easier for an artist trained in drawing to master than engraving, as the technique of using the needle is closer to using a pencil than the engraver's burin


granted by the Catholic Church after the sinner has confessed and received absolution/forgiveness - full or partial remission of temporal punishment

Alleged abuses in selling and granting indulgences were a major point of contention when Martin Luther initiated the Protestant Reformation

a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. Individuals who espouse heresy or commit heresy are known as heretics
Martin Luther

iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation

Luther taught that salvation is not earned by good deeds but received only as a free gift of God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ as redeemer from sin. His theology challenged the authority of the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church by teaching that the Bible is the only source of divinely revealed knowledge

He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment of sin could be purchased with money.

He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517.

His refusal to retract all of his writings at the demand of Pope Leo X in 1520 and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms in 1521 resulted in his excommunication by the pope and condemnation as an outlaw by the Emperor.


His translation of the Bible into the language of the people (instead of Latin) made it more accessible, causing a tremendous impact on the church and culture and his hymns influenced the development of singing in churches.

Those who identify with Luther's teachings are called Lutherans.

95 Theses
written by Martin Luther in 1517 and is widely regarded as the primary catalyst for the Protestant Reformation. The disputation protests against clerical abuses, especially the sale of indulgences.
Diet of Worms

The Diet of Worms (1521) was a diet (formal deliberative assembly) that took place in Worms, Germany.

most memorable for the Edict of Worms which addressed Martin Luther and the effects of the Protestant Reformation. Luther was summoned to renounce or reaffirm his views. The Edict of Worms was a decree issued on 25 May 1521 by Emperor Charles V, declaring Luther to be an obstinate heretic and banned the reading or possession of his writings.

It was the culmination of an ongoing struggle between Martin Luther and the Catholic Church over reform, especially in practice of donations for indulgences.


However, there were other deeper issues that revolved around both theological concerns: On a theological level, Luther had challenged the absolute authority of the Pope over the Church by maintaining that the doctrine of indulgences was wrong. Luther maintained that salvation was by faith alone. He had also challenged the authority of the Church by maintaining that all doctrines and dogmata of the Church not found in Scripture should be discarded. To protect the authority of the Pope and the Church, as well as to maintain the doctrine of indulgences, ecclesiastical officials convinced Charles V that Luther was a threat and persuaded him to authorize his condemnation by the Holy Roman Empire. Luther escaped arrest and remained in seclusion at Wartburg castle for several years where he continued to write and translate the New Testament into German.

Protestant Reformation

16th century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants.

they objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, which led to the creation of new national Protestant churches.

many other factors (including the Black Death & Western Schism) contributed to the growth of lay criticism in the church, and the creation of the Protestant Religion


Altarpiece of the Communion of the Apostles

Joos van Ghent



closely related to the Last Supper thematically, both being the institution of the sacrament of the Eucharist Christ is acting like a priest and is distributing communion to the apostles kneeling around Him - with Peter receiving the host

table is placed as an altar in the apse of the church

Donors – duke, late wife, and child (heir) – are part of the crowd in the background. He was known for having a great number of trade connections so he’s talking to the Persian emperor. He wanted to be understood as a learned and powerful leader

Increasing similarity to the ideas that were developed in Italy at the same time - may be a result of both regions borrowing from each other and influencing each other (arrangement of figures, balance)

Early Italian renaissance compositions are very static, very still and this work adopts that somewhat

Characteristics of Ghent’s style: kneeling poses, striding posture of Christ, and the soft drapery patterns


Allegory of Music

Joos van Ghent

c. 1475


Personification of Music seated on a very classical throne

Part of a series on the seven liberal arts - each panel included an enthroned woman personifying a corresponding liberal art.

The series appears to have been placed on two walls, one with the trivium and the other the quadrivium

The young man, likely Guidobaldo (son of Duke Federigo) is paying tribute to her – indicating his musical patronage and perhaps hoping to absorb her musical ability

Laurel branch (associated with Apollo) hangs to the left suggesting an appreciation for the gift of divine inspiration and genius as well as the promotion of humanist learning


Seven Liberal Arts

Trivium: Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic

Qadrivium: Arithmetic, Geometry, Music, Astronomy


Portinari Altarpiece

Hugo van der Goes



Tommaso Portinari, representative of the Medici family in Bruges, ordered this altarpiece for his family chapel in Florence

He commissions an artist from the region he’d had his success

Florence – great hub of the Italian renaissance

Hugo van der Goes – Netherlandish painter keenly aware of the tragic sense of life. This altarpiece is his own personal comment on life - intensely human confession

Usually entitled a Nativity but it more accurately represents the moment of the adoration of the holy family and the shepherds

Hugo has captured the spirit of wonder of Christ’s first epiphany to man on earth and the mood of his mother – she sadly understands and accepts the fate her son will endure for every man’s salvation

He was incredibly focused on the suffering of Mary and on the emphasis of humility

Hugo’s people react to the event as intensely concerned individuals – vividly differentiated, each response is an individual one

Hands – important in hugo’s work – enlarged and accent the picture like arrows pointing towards a single target

Wheat – bread; pattern on vase – wine = eucharist Elements of his death at his birth

Courtly and humble are contrasted and the virgin bridges the gap between the two halves – the courtly and humble are reconciled

Incarnation = God is made flesh at the Nativity, joining the human-humble with the divine-regal in Christ’s birth


He suffered from severe clinical depression – he lived in the monastery as a member of the laity and one of the monks wrote that his melancholy had overtaken him

Scrupulosity – fears of damnation due to inadequacy in devotion

His dark outlook on religious matters and obsession with piety seems to show through in his artwork

Hugo van der Goes’ figures are generally very somber, meditative, and turned inwards – he was an artist marked by his own self-searching and these emotions are transferred to the people in his paintings

He had a mental breakdown a year before his death


Night Nativity

Geertgen tot Sint Jans

c. 1480-1485


Hugo van der goes captured in very personal terms the tragedies in the life of Christ, but Geertgen tot Sint Jans presents not dispair but sweet sadness

His people respond individually as do Hugo’s

He lived in connection to a monastery – the effects of mysticism can be most clearly discerned in his work

He never had a mental breakdown, but he got sick and died at the age of 28

His works are ridiculed and are said to be childlike with  blank facial expressions

Tender, poetic

glowing baby – source of light and attention is concentrated on this one spot

he is the only light source for all of the figures in the foreground and the angel is the light source in the background

mystical glow outshines all the natural lights of the world – transforms the figures into images of pure devotion

the extreme abstraction adds to the purity of mary/angels as a form

very reverent, still scene, frozen by the sense of reverence – joyful awe

as your eyes adjust to the darkness, you notice more details

it was a very different, original sense of a devotional scene that he seems to have come up with on his own


Madonna of the Rosary

Geertgen tot Sint Jans

c. 1480


andachtsbild - devotional image intended to encourage meditation

connections to the night nativity – the light source is the baby Jesus

different type of illumination was created to suggest the purity of celestial forms

likely painted for a member of the newly founded Confraternity of the Rosary in Haarlem

she is wearing a 12-pointed crown with a garland of red and white roses (literally a rosary)

rosary devotion was a direct development of the mystical practices – those who prayed the rosary received generous indulgences and reducing the time they might spend in purgatory

dragon – in apocolypse, the mother and child are supposed to grind the serpant beneath them

angels surrounding them are playing instruments, holding instruments of the passion, rosary beads, and scrolls that say “holy, holy, holy”

this piece is also considered the glorification of mary


Rosary bead

S. Netherlands

1500 – 1510


Opened up to create a small portable altarpiece of the Nativity scene and arrival of the magi

Carved from wood, about the size of a walnut

Status object and testament to their carving ability


Rosary devotion started simple but developed into more intricate objects

worn on belt as an elaborate piece of jewelry

piety was a status symbol


The Good Death

Ars Moriendi

Late 15th century


ars moriendi: the art of dying well

Woodcut from block book


Text that become incredibly well known among lay people

Unlike imitatio Christi, pictorial manual of instruction which served as a guidebook for the clergy in comforting and counseling the dying

Various temptations of demons to incite vice in the infirm followed by angels comforting and instructing the dying man. On the last page, virtue triumphs over all the temptations in the final hour of death


Death in Christianity is important part of spiritual life State in which you leave in life determines spiritual afterlife. Rise of the notion that you immediately face this after death rather than one final judgement is an idea that comes about in the 14th – 15th century. This speculation comes from huge mortality rate (primarily from the black plague) and people felt very insecure about life expectancy - changed their approach to death Process of walking a person through the five stages of grief as they approach death which becomes a moral lesson on how to live well too


 Six Chapters:

1. Death has a good side, consolation that death is not something to fear

2. five temptations of a dying man and how to avoid them (lack of faith, despair, impatience, spiritual pride and avarice)

3. seven questions to ask a dying man, consolation through the redemptive powers of Christ's love

4. the need to imitate Christ's life

5. addresses the friends and family - behavior at the deathbed

6. prayers for a dying man


Altarpiece of the Virgin with Saints and Angels

Hans Memlinc



His style includes several narratives in one picture

Sets the tone for French art which blends Italian and netherland styles

he was the painting leader of a very powerful artist guild and very wealthy

“Major minor master”

compared to jan van eyck and van der weyden – he has elements from these powerhouse artists and many other artists

he is quite obsessed with creating very poised, calm, courtly, static images

Central panel is an expansion of a theme frequently painted by memlinc – the Madonna and child enthroned and flanked by two angels

Restraint characterizes side panels where action and anguish would be expected

Execution of John the Baptist and visions of the apocalypse, plagues, famine, and mass hysteria

Unusual interest in spelling out stories as fully as possible was on of the many new traits characteristic of Netherlandish painting at the end of the fifteen century and memlinc is one of the assiduous innovators in this genre


Halo is part of the tapestry – similar to firescreen Madonna

Fruit – Christ is the new adam

Mary is surrounded by four saints and two angels

St Catherine (wheel), St Barbara (tower) John the Baptist (lamp) John the evangelist (young and beautiful with a chalice)


Passion of Christ

Hans Memlinc



Last supper, carrying of the cross, crucifixion, deposition, resurrection, many different scenes of jesus’ crucifixion

Devotional image – one painting of each moment that you’re going through with the rosary beads

Part of the devotional practice of the stations of the cross – you cite prayers for each station He went through – periods from entry to Jerusalem to his crucifixion – places you’d stop in the map of the city of Jerusalem

Muted emotionality helps because of how much is contained within the composition


Pilgrimages did not need to be physical journeys to be effective – believers go on spiritual journeys as well These mystical excursions could occur as worshippers clebrated mass or even while they looked at devotional images

Passion scenes may have given a devout viewer opportunity to transport themselves mystically to the holy lands, helping the spiritual pilgrim re-experience sacred events in the life of Christ


Judgment of Cambyses

Gerard David



influence of Italian renaissance art is more evident in the works of Gerard David

After the death of memlinc, david acquired full status as a painter of the city and his workshop grew immensely He contrasts memlinc because his figures aren’t as courtly and landscapes were much more vivid, vibrant, and detailed. He was very good at depicting believable space.

Secular story – for the coucil room in Bruges' city hall

Classical roman story of a bad judge – Sisamnes

Four images, two in forefront, two in the background: Judge is accepting a bribe, king finds out and addresses the corrupt judge, the judge is being executed – flayed alive (skin stripped off), and the skin is then put on the judges seat as a reminder The new judge – son of sisamnes – sits on the throne of judgement draped with his father’s skin

Image is meant to be a warning for the judge to be good, positive, and not corrupt

publicly stated the values of bruges and would send the message that you wouldn’t have to worry


Melun Diptych

Jean Fouquet

c. 1450


Under charles VII the hundred year war finally was coming to an end

Financial strength of the French monarchy causes them to stabilize and more people are interested in court displays - Jean fouquet is one of the painters that appears to respond to this rising demand and sets the tone for late 15th cent. He rose to popularity as a court painter

 His style is classical combined with naturalism Jean fouquet 

Etienne chevalier – “Stephen the knight” and his patron saint Stephen

Everyone is looking at baby Jesus and the baby is pointing back at the donor

Two scenes are so radically different to show she’s in a different, separate space

Patron saint is presenting chevalier in a courtly way Emphatically weird color scheme and proportions

Her breast is displayed though it doesn’t add to the story – supposedly the virgin is a total idealization of the courtly beauty at the time (Tiny waist, big boobs, shaved hairline)

Chalky skin tone may be a reference that the woman who posed for this was actually dead at the time It was modeled after chevalier’s mistress

Red/blue – colors associated with French crown

Bare breast – sensuality and sexual appeal rather than nourishment

This diptych was actually installed above the owner’s dead wife – scandalous!


Old Bulldog Scratching Himself

Master of the Amsterdam Cabinet

c. 1485


purely secular themes focusing on trivial daily sights motivation is unclear, but low-life genre grew in popularity - he delighted in the rustic charm of the commonplace as part of life's lighter moments

This dog marks an increase in mundane art, and things that occupy our everyday lives, rather than merely religious pieces, the dog has a sense of humor to it.

Drypoint, intaglio, burr (shows in the shadows and around edges) More sketchlike approach, thicker strokes, darker values

Intensity of contrast in the piece. The burr isn’t catching the ink consistently in the piece


Drypoint is very difficult, but has the ability to look more sketchy, and this is because the burrs are left on the metal, rather than brushing them away. Drypoint also allows much darker values to be achieved.


The lines produced by printing a drypoint are formed by the burr thrown up at the edge of the incised lines, in addition to the depressions formed in the surface of the plate. A larger burr, formed by a steep angle of the tool, will hold a lot of ink, producing a characteristically soft, dense line that differentiates drypoint from other intaglio methods such as etching or engraving which produce a smooth, hard-edged line. The size or characteristics of the burr usually depend not on how much pressure is applied, but on the angle of the needle.


Carrying the Cross

Martin Schongauer

c. 1480


densely packed procession

Christ has more clothes on then normal and looks upset because He has just fallen

atmospheric perspective suggested by simple shapes of buildings and landscape


extremely detailed

far off landscape, Christ's face is very expressive, and there is a lot going on here, and it is a crowded, chaotic scene

shongauer's subtle use of the burin allows him to play masterfully with lighting effects



Erhard Reuwich

c. 1486


woodcut, massive fold out book, intricately detailed

from Bernhard von Braydenbach’s, “Peregrinatio in Terram Sanctnam "Pilgrimage to the Holy Land” Braydenbach, an aristocrat of considerable means, made a pilgrimage as penance for "loose living in his youth" He brought Reuwich as his personal artist to record the various sites and people. an extensive travelogue was printed upon their return to show their travels



Erhard Reuwich

c. 1486


from Bernhard von Braydenbach’s, “Peregrinatio in Terram Sanctnam (Pilgrimage to the Holy Lamb,”

text says "These animals are faithful depictions of those seen in the Holy Land"

depicts the exotic animals believed to have been seen by Reuwich but that were, for the most part, fanciful hybrids designed to satisfy the Western beliefs and interests

features the unicorn figures prominently among them


Melencolia I

Albrecht Dürer



perplexed thinker - this same dejected pose appears in the medieval personifications of sloth

includes aspects that relate to the technical and applied aspects of the artist that cannot extend its imagination beyond measurable limits of space

Artist caught in this status conflict of "Hand vs. Head"


Hand: physical, technical (class issue: lower, laborer) Head: Intellectual, conceptual, (class issue: elevated)



Albrecht Dürer



this self potrait blatantly reveals his self-esteem as one especially gifted – the artist as Christ

hieratic composition, hand held in a geture of benediction

remarkably similar to iconic images of Christ (e.i. Holy Face)

he characterizes himself as a creative genius with divine inspiration and he must strive for even greater perfection, far beyond mastery of a craft

growing conflicts between the artist-as-craftsman and artist-as-genius


The Complaint of the Persecuted Images

Erhard Schön

c. 1530


when martin luther was fleeing for his safety (after being deemed a heretic) his colleague from Wittenberg, Karlstadt, took over the reins of reform

he incited acts of iconoclasm with his fiery sermons and writings his aim was against “idols” not art per se

he believed visual images didn’t lead people closer to God but kept them removed, distracted

he encouraged his followers to cleanse Wittenberg’s church from idos

Luther responded that if faith was dependant on their destruction, this implies a return back to salvation by works-righteousness

The outward attack of images did not erase the idols deep within the heart

This broadsheet promotes Lutheran theology as it criticizes Karlstadt’s view of images Represents acts of iconoclasm and the text bellow argues that it is humanity rather than the images which is to blame for the problem of idolatry


Luther Preaching with the Pope in the Jaws of Hell

Lucas Cranach the Younger

c. 1550


Lucas Cranach and his workshop (which included his sons) produced numerous images advocating Lutheranism

In his print, Luther is juxtaposed with the Pope

Luther preaches from the elevated pulpit and the open bible implies that he is speaking the Word of God

To his left, a chaotic grouping of clerics, led by the pope, is cast into the jaws of hell

On the right is a depiction of Christ crucified and two Lutheran clergyman administering the Eucharist

This inexpensive woodcut could have been produced in large quantities for wide distribution

Was a form of powerful visual propaganda for the Reformed faith


Venus and Cupid

Lucas Cranach the Elder



cranach’s fame was due foremost to his superb portraits and unusual treatment of mythological figures

a number of woodcuts were executed for Frederick the Wise, with mostly religious or devotional subject matter

at this time he began experimenting with the effects of pattern

his prints introduce the new technique known as the tonal or chiaroscuro woodcut and the fact that he realized this technique was an innovation is attested by the fact he purposefully backdated some in order to gain priority

in this print, he eliminated the tonal block to exploit the sensuous lines of the classical nude

Supporting users have an ad free experience!