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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

International Gothic Art

1. (4 pts.) State two stylistic characteristics of International Gothic art. Name by title one painting and one sculpture that were made in the International Gothic style.
Figure 1[1]
The International Gothic style was a decorative and linear one, striving to idealize and to stylize; a style that had originated from a realistic art. Gothic Art is concerned with the painting, sculpture, architecture, and music characteristic of the second of two great international eras that flourished in western and central Europe during the Middle Ages.
Gothic art evolved from Romanesque art and lasted from the mid-12th century to as late as the end of the 16th century in some areas. The term Gothic was coined by classicizing Italian Figure 2[2]>>>>>
writers of the Renaissance, who attributed the invention (and what to them was the non-classical ugliness) of medieval architecture to the barbarian Gothic tribes that had destroyed the Roman Empire and its classical culture in the 5th century Ad. The term retained its derogatory overtones until the 19th century, at which time a positive critical revaluation of Gothic architecture took place. Although modern scholars have long realized that Gothic art has nothing in truth to do with the Goths, the term Gothic remains a standard one in the study of art history. [3]

2. (4 pts.) Who was probably responsible for discovering oil paint? In which country was oil painting invented? Give 2 advantages oil painting had over tempera?


Oil paint was probably developed for decorative or functional purposes in the High Middle Ages. Surfaces like shields — both those used in tournaments and those hung as decorations — were more durable when painted in oil-based media than when painted in the traditional tempera paints. Another reason oil is preferred over tempera is that in comparison to tempera oil dries over a long period of time while tempera can dry in as little as five minutes if not kept extremely moist.
Vasari, credited two northern European painters in an small country known as Flanders which is now a small part of Belgium for inventing oil paint. The van Eyck brothers, Huybrecht and Jan, became the inventors of oil painting while creating a painting on a wood panel. However Theophilus (roger of Helmerhausen) clearly gives instructions for oil-based painting in his treatise, On Divers Arts, written in 1125. Early Netherlandish painting in the 15th century was however the first to make oil the usual painting medium, followed by the rest of Northern Europe, and only then Italy. The popularity of oil spread through Italy from the North, starting in Venice in the late 15th century. By 1540 the previous method for painting on panel, tempera had become all but extinct, although Italians continued to use fresco for wall paintings, which was more difficult in Northern climates.[4]

3. (1 pt.) In Robert Campin's "Merode Triptych" a symbolism is used to convey spiritual messages. Give an example of this symbolism and explain its meaning.

Mary sitting on the floor learning from the angel, Gabriel, in the center of the painting depicts her as an important symbol of the time. She is also sitting on the floor rather then the nearby chair which is humbling. The patrons to the left are actually the image of the painting’s own patrons Jan Engelbrecht and his wife.
The painting’s symbolism can be epitomized by the act of observing; privileged access to the sacred realm; the ability of art to give the appearance of reality to what can only be imagined.


4. (1 pt.) The meaning of Hieronymous Bosch's "The Garden of Earthyly Delights" has several interpretations. Give one of those interpretations that makes sense to you.

This triptych or three panel painting was probably made for the private enjoyment of a noble family. It is name comes from the luscious garden in the middle panel. The garden is filled with cavorting nudes and giant birds and fruit. The triptych depicts the history of the world and the progression of sin. The story starts with the creation of the world all the way to the original sin of Adam and Eve on the left panel. The story continues to the torments of hell, a dark, icy, yet fiery nightmarish vision, on the right and continues to the Garden of Delights in the center illustrated by a world deeply engaged in sinful pleasures.

5. (1 pt.) The invention of printmaking, moveable type and the printed page would have enormous impact on Western civilization. How did these inventions greatly change the collection of art during that time period?

By the early sixteenth century, the potential of the print medium was being fully exploited and had a decisive impact on the history of art. Prints replaced drawn medieval model books as an inexhaustible source of motifs—figures in every position, and architectural models ornamental designs. The Renaissance was fueled by prints that spread knowledge of ancient Roman buildings and sculpture. Prints provided a new outlet for artists to explore their own interests, whether in classical antiquity, tales of magic and witchcraft, landscape, everyday life, or fantastic visions. Woodcuts, engravings, and etchings also publicized the inventions of painters, spread knowledge of new styles, and facilitated stylistic comparisons.
While many of the techniques necessary to produce prints were known before the fifteenth century, it was the widespread availability of paper that made printmaking feasible. The first paper mills in Germany and Italy opened by the 1390s, around the same time that the first woodcuts were produced. By the middle of the fifteenth century, prints were also being produced using the intaglio (cut or incised) technique.
So, in short print making, movable type, engraving, greatly changed the way that art was appreciated, distributed, and made.

6. (1 pt.) Describe the difference between a 'woodcut' and an 'engraving'.

Wood-engraving is a form of woodcut developed in the eighteenth century but differs in several ways. Wood-engraving was carried out using the end-grain of a hard wood, usually boxwood (the combination of hard wood and end-grain meant that much finer detail was possible than could be achieved with a woodcut). Larger images could only be made by binding two or more blocks together. The surface of the prepared block was given a wash of white and then the image to be engraved was drawn, in reverse, on the block using a simple lead pencil. The image was then engraved using a graver or burin similar to those used for copper or steel engraving. An instrument called a tint-tool was used for engraving close parallel lines for unmodulated areas such as clear sky or calm water.

Wikipedia describes Engraving as “the practice of incising a design onto a hard, flat surface, by cutting grooves into it. The result may be a decorated object in itself, as when silver, gold or steel are engraved, or may provide an intaglio printing plate, of copper or another metal, for printing images on paper, which are called engravings. Engraving was a historically important method of producing images on paper, both in artistic printmaking, and also for commercial reproductions and illustrations for books and magazines. It has long been replaced by photography in its commercial applications and, partly because of the difficulty of learning the technique, is much less common in printmaking, where it has been largely replaced by etching and other techniques. Other terms often used for engravings are copper-plate engraving and Line engraving.”

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[1] “The Washing of the Feet,” polychromed wood, detail from the retable of the High Altar, 1498. In Toledo cathedral, Spain. Archivo Mas, Barcelona
[2] Presentation of Richard II of England to the Virgin and Child, front of the “Wilton Diptych,” panel paintings in the International Gothic style; in the National Gallery, London Courtesy of the trustees of the National Gallery, London
[3] Martindale, Andrew Henry Robert. "Gothic Art and Architecture." History World. 1974. University of East Anglia. 1 Aug.-Sept. 2007 .
[4] "Wikipedia." Wikipedia. 31 Aug. 2007. 2 Sept. 2007 .
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