Influenced by a revival of interest in Greco-Roman ideals and sponsored by a newly prosperous merchant class, fifteenth-century European artists produced works of astonishingly innovative content and technique.
The International Gothic style of painting, still popular at the beginning of the century, began to yield to the influence of Early Netherlandish Flemish masters such as Jan van Eyck, who emphasized narrative and the complex use of light for symbolic meaning. Patrons favored paintings in oil and on wooden panels for works ranging from large, hinged altarpieces to small, increasingly lifelike portraits.
This beautifully illustrated guide analyzes the people, places, and concepts of this early Renaissance period, whose explosion of creativity spread throughout Europe in the sixteenth century. Divided into three sections, the book highlights key terms of the century, including styles and techniques; the four main regions of artistic production—Northern and Central Europe, France and Flanders, the Western Mediterranean, and Italy—and the important cities within each area; and approximately 50 individual artists. Distinctive facts are called out in the margins of each entry, and crucial components of each illustration are identified.