Charles Harrison

AP European History

National Gallery of Art Project Revised

The Death of Saint Clare, The Master of Heilgenkreuz, c.1400/1419

This painting shows the legend of Saint Claire on her deathbed being visited by a group of sainted virgins led by Mary. The painting shows a strong presence of religion in society. The color and shapes of people were signs of the Renaissance. The artist uses international gothic style. The style is shown in his exaggerated figures with their bulbous foreheads and clinging drapery, which are characteristically Austrian. The painter must also have been aware of the most advanced art produced at the courts of Paris and Prague.

The artist was named for a diptych from Cistercian abbey in southeastern Austria.

The Crucifixion, Master of Saint Veronica, c.1400/1410

This painting shows the crucifixion with Saint John, Saint Longinus, and a Carthusian monk. There is a lot of symmetry. There are two angels on each side and two people on each side of Christ. This painting is lyrical rather than tragic. It shows that the society is strongly religious and that they put great value in art because of the gold background.

The anonymous master who painted this work was the leading painter in Cologne shortly after 1400. He lived from 1395 to 1420. His name derives from his finest work, Saint Veronica with the Sudarium, preserved in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich. A Carthusian monk probably used the painting as a focus for prayers and meditation, since a member of that monastic order is shown kneeling at the right of the cross. The painting's small size would make it suitable for such use, probably in the monk's cell.

Saint George and The Dragon, Rogier van der Weyden, c.1432/1435

The mixture of reality and fantasy that is common in early Netherlandish painting is shown in this painting. This shows the popular legend where Saint George in black gothic armor pins the dragon to the ground with his lance. At the left kneels the fashionably attired Princess Cleodolinda who was to have been sacrificed to the dragon. George was a Roman soldier living in third-century Cappadocia, but the setting has here been transformed from Asia Minor to the Belgian countryside. The detail in the background shows the greater attention to detail that was being shown at the time of the work. The fantasy type setting shows that during this time people were entertaining themselves with myths and legends such as this one.

The artist was Netherlandish and lived from 1399/1400 to 1464. He painted portraits and religious works. In 1436 he was the official painter of Brussels.

The Adoration of the Magi, Fra Angelico, c.1445

This is a painting of the three wise men. In it there were many colors, shows, large crowds with exotic costumes, and animals. It shows the eldest king kissing Christ's foot. From this painting you gather that society at this time is very interested in wealth, political powers, and spiritual significance. It shows that all Earthly power and wealth submit to the divinity of Christ. A 1492 inventory of Lorenzo de' Medici's estate possibly identifies this picture as the most valuable in the collection of the powerful Florentine family

The artist lived from 1400 to 1455. He showed new realism. He started painting in 1417 in Florentine. Fra Angelico was a Dominican known for his great monastic devotion. The representation of the Virgin Mary here characterizes his style in the pure, simple form of her head and the gentle refinement of her features.

Saint Jerome Penitent, Jan Gossaert, c.1509/1512

These two panels are painted with the subtly varied grays known by the French term "grisaille," a palette that mimicked the appearance of stone sculpture and was used most often on the exteriors of altarpiece shutters. Seen in the desert where he lived for a time as a hermit, Jerome holds the stone he used to beat his chest in penance for the visions of pleasure that interrupted his meditations. He looks to a crucifix growing out of a gnarled and lifeless tree. The imagery suggests both death and salvation. There is no color, and it shows Saint Jerome kneeling below a crucifix. Jerome's lion sits in vigil too. The man and beast have similar expressions.

The artist was Netherlandish and lived from c.1478 to 1532. He was sometimes called Mabus after his hometown. He was greatly influenced by Italy. Gossaert was apparently the first Netherlandish artist to travel in Italy, but it is unclear whether he painted Saint Jerome before or after his trip. Jerome's robust physique and beardlessness, uncommon in medieval representations, could have been inspired by ancient or Italian Renaissance works, but the darkly threatening landscape and the lion's unnaturally flat face seem more at home in northern art.

Saint George and the Dragon, anonymous, c.1370/1420

This is a figure of Saint George on a horse over the slain dragon. It is carved from alabaster with polychrome details. It was preserved in a Spanish convent, but originated from England. The sculptor has designed a saint who seems to tower over his elegantly curving horse as he plunges a lance into the dragon. It also shows the rescued princess, who holds the dragon by a leash made from her belt. The sculptor decided to carve the figures with large, smooth surfaces, leaving the textures of chain mail, horse hair on the mane, and scales on the dragon to be applied in paint. This is a characteristic of early sculptors. Details done with carving did not come along until later in the Renaissance.

The Feast of the Gods, Titian, c.1514/1529

In this illustration of a scene from Ovid's Fasti, the gods, Jupiter, Neptune, and Apollo among them, revel in a wooded pastoral setting, eating and drinking, attended by nymphs and satyrs. According to the tale, Priapus, the god of fertility, approached the sleeping nymph Lotis. But Silenus' ass brayed, alerting the deities who laughed at Priapus' misadventure. It is starting to show equality of man because the nymphs and satyrs are the same size as the actual gods instead of being much smaller. Previous works showed gods being much larger than their inferiors to show that they were superior enough to be even physically larger.

Titian was a Venetian that lived from 1490 to 1576. He was a true Renaissance artist. He showed the new realism of human figures and landscapes along with the depth and color of the Renaissance.

Cupid With the Wheel of Fortune, Titian, 1520

This painting shows baby Cupid leaning on an old wagon wheel. It has very little color and there is a face of a beast subtly painted in the background. Along with the beast in the background it appears that he is holding on the wheel to avoiding falling off the floor that he is standing on. This painting makes you think about its meaning because it has no obvious purpose. In early Renaissance paintings, meanings were obvious and everything included in the painting had an obvious purpose. It shows a higher level of painting at this point in time with all of the subtle details. It also shows how Titian tries to make the viewer think about the meaning of the work instead of simply admiring brush strokes and figures.