The Renaissance elsewhere in Europe.

The Renaissance elsewhere in Europe.

19 Mayo 2011

The new Italian trends spread rapidly throughout Europe.

Artists there took these innovations on board and adapted them to their regional circumstances. Each artistic centre developed its unique style, its own Renaissance.

The Renaissance in France

The kings of France were great patrons of the arts. François I (1494-1547), the most important ruler during the Renaissance, brought architects, sculptors, painters and gardeners to his court at Fontainebleau. The great Italian masters, Primaticcio and Rosso Fiorentino, decorated the château. Rosso worked on its Gallery. He installed paintings on mythological subjects surrounded by stucco sculptures (coated with whitewash, which was lighter and cheaper than marble). This movement within the French Renaissance was called the “School of Fontainebleau”.

Rosso Fiorentino (1494-1541), Francis I Gallery: Frustrated Venus, XVIth century, Château de Fontainebleau © RMN/Peter Willi

François I also became patron to the famous painter Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519). He gave him lodgings in his house at Clos Lucé, near his château. The artist worked there until the end of his life. This is how he came to leave the Mona Lisa as a legacy to France. Bernard Palissy was a potter. His work is a prime example of the Renaissance in France. He made brightly coloured enamelled ceramics. He was inspired by nature, and showed plants and animals on his dishes. According to one story, he burned all his furniture to increase the heat in his furnace!

Bernard Palissy (c.1510-1589), Dish with Snake and Frog, XVIth century, Faience, Paris, Gustave Moreau Museum © RMN/Gérard Blot

The Renaissance in Flanders

Flemish artists invented oil painting and the new portable medium, canvas – it was the start of easel painting which spread through Europe. They differentiated themselves from Italian art. Flemish artists were fond of intimate interior scenes. The painters devoted themselves to painting the tiniest detail. Jean Van Eyck (c. 1390-1441), a very famous artist at that time, adopted new Italian techniques such as perspective, but kept the Flemish tradition of minute detail.

Portrait des époux Arnolfini par Jan Van Eyck (vers 1390-1441), huile sur bois © The National Gallery, Londres, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / National Gallery Photographic Department

The Renaissance in Germany

Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) is the best known German artist of the Renaissance. He was a painter as well as an engraver. He travelled to Italy to study the works of Antiquity and the Renaissance. When he returned to Nuremberg in Germany, he passed on the new things he had learned in Italy: including humanism, perspective, and the study of anatomy. Adam and Eve shows an advanced study of anatomy and a passion for botany. In Melencolia I he gives us an allegorical representation of the artist troubled by the times, constantly questioning the world – humanist man.

Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), Adam and Eve, 1504; Melancolia I, 1514, Print, USA, New-York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Dist. RMN / image of the MMA

The painter Hans Holbein (1497-1543) devoted himself to representing the human face. He painted portraits of courtiers, noblemen and merchants. They are faithful representations and bear social witness to the age. Look closely at the foreground of the painting The Ambassadors – there is a distorted image. If you turn your head to the side, you can make out a human skull. This is called a “vanitas”.

Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543), "The Ambassadors". Double Portrait of Jean de Dinteville and Georges de Selve, 1533, Huile sur bois. H.: 2,07; l.: 2,1 m, United Kingdom, London, National Gallery © The National Gallery, London, Dist. RMN / National Gallery Photographic Department

The Renaissance in the Netherlands

One artist stands out in the Netherlands, Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1450-1516). He rejected the Italian innovations. He did not want to represent reality like all his contemporaries, but instead to evoke an imaginary world full of monsters and fantastic creatures. A lot of things are happening in his paintings. He shows man’s vices and sins in a humorous way.

Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1450-1516), Triptychs: The Garden of Earthly Delights, c. 1510, Oil on wood. H.: 2,2; l.: 1,9 m, Spain, Madrid, Museo del Prado © BPK, Berlin, Dist. RMN / Lutz Braun

The Garden of Earthly Delights, détail © BPK, Berlin, Dist. RMN / Lutz Braun