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Northern Renaissance Art: Painting, Sculpture, the Graphic Arts from 1350 to 1575
     

Northern Renaissance Art: Painting, Sculpture, the Graphic Arts from 1350 to 1575

by James Snyder
 

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The Northern Renaissance, one of the most glorious periods in Western civilization, boasts such geniuses as Bosch, Durer, Van Eyck, Holbein, Bruegel, and Cranach, to name only a few. The painting, sculpture, and graphic works of these artists are fundamental to the understanding and development of Western art from 1350 to the present day. James Snyder, Professor of

Overview

The Northern Renaissance, one of the most glorious periods in Western civilization, boasts such geniuses as Bosch, Durer, Van Eyck, Holbein, Bruegel, and Cranach, to name only a few. The painting, sculpture, and graphic works of these artists are fundamental to the understanding and development of Western art from 1350 to the present day. James Snyder, Professor of Art History at Bryn Mawr College, provides an absorbing assessment of Northern achievements -- ranging from Bohemian court art under Charles V in Prague in the 1350s to the royal patronage of Francis I at Fontainebleau in the 1550s. He does full justice to the magnificence of the works while putting them into the context of their times. He elucidates broad issues, such as the significance of geography in explaining the cross-fertilization of ideas from one area to another; the rise in the economy, which brought with it the creation of new markets and new kinds of patrons; the impact of Italy on Northern artists as they increasingly traveled south, interpreting and adopting themes and compositional devices; and the development of regional schools in the Netherlands.

In rich detail but with utter clarity, Snyder explains major economic, social, and religious developments, tells the stories of the artists and the patrons who created this extraordinary flowering of art, and analyzes the works of art themselves. His effortless style and depth of knowledge make this book unique in its field. Almost 700 illustrations, more than 80 in full color, are each keyed to the text, providing superb visual documentation. The volume also includes notes to the text, maps, a timetable of the major artistic, political, religious, and scientific achievements of the period, a genealogy of the house of Valois, a bibliography, and a full index.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780131833487
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date:
01/01/2003
Pages:
559
Product dimensions:
11.75(w) x 9.05(h) x 1.50(d)

Read an Excerpt

In many respects the text before you is an act of homage, a tribute to how well James Snyder's original text, now two decades old, has held up since it was written. At the same time, however, items and images have been added to introduce students to material that has attracted scholarly attention in the intervening years. A new design and expanded color have enhanced both the value of Snyder's analyses and the results of more recent scholarship. The text has been trimmed in places where Snyder was perhaps over-dependent on a few older scholars (e.g. Fraenger on Bosch, Tolnay on Bruegel), whose views are no longer held to be either essential or well-founded. Where Snyder used his own scholarship and his keen interests, particularly in Netherlandish painting, Dutch painting in particular, his insights remain lasting and fundamental, as valid as ever for today's students.

James Snyder also had his biases, and they sometimes made his book unbalanced. His preoccupation with the chronology of Jan van Eyck has been tempered and his apologetic comparisons of Northern art to the prevailing canon of the Italian Renaissance toned down. Relatively thin sections on Germany have been expanded to restore balance. More attention has also been paid to manuscript traditions in France, Flanders, and Snyder's beloved Holland. His discussion of sculpture and tapestry has been expanded to highlight historical developments in those media. In addition, his treatment of sculpture and prints has been reorganized. Whereas he confined sculpture and prints to their own separate chapters, in this edition they have been unified to unveil the accomplishments of those more versatile artists who worked across media, such as Schongauer (engravings and paintings) and Pacher (sculpture and paintings). Another result of this reunification of parts means that Snyder's own fundamental insights into Dutch printmaking and printed book illustrations can now be seen together with the paintings that he did so much to elucidate.

The revised text has also been arranged according to centers, except for a few chapters that focus on single artists. In fact, Snyder's original idea of starting with Bohemia sets the tone for the future considerations of place that follow, including chapters on regions as well as cities (Ghent, Bruges, Augsburg, and Basel), which form the main topics of organization for the artists and their works.

In editing and revising this text, our hope has been to update (especially in the notes and bibliography) and to clarify the valuable, evergreen textbook of James Snyder from 1985. Attentive comparison will chiefly reveal integration of media within reorganization by centers of art production, while still capturing Snyder's excitement for the period and its artists. We offer it anew to the current generation of students.

In closing, the authors would like to acknowledge the meticulous assistance of their students, Freyda Spira, Rebecca Merz, and David Malda, and the job-like patience of both their venerated teachers and long-suffering family members.

Larry Silver, University of Pennsylvania Henry Luttikhuizen, Calvin College

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