Renaissance art

Rogier Van Der Weyden by Geoff Harrison

Like many artists early in their careers, I was somewhat intimidated by the masters of the past, and in my case they were the Heidelberg School artists of the late 19th century.  But never mind them, what about Rogier Van Der Weyden (about 1399-1464).

Rogier Van Der Weyden                                                                       Descent From The Cross

Rogier Van Der Weyden                                                                       Descent From The Cross

His "Descent From The Cross" (c.1435) measuring approximately 2.6 metres wide is considered one of the masterpieces of the Renaissance.  It is a triumph of draftsmanship, composition and emotion.  The clear, cool colours of the new oil paintings which were just appearing on the scene at this time are another highlight.  I'm not of a religious inclination at all, but I do acknowledge the contribution religion has made to art and architecture.

If you care to look, you will find on Youtube a 5 minute segment from the series "The Renaissance Unchained" hosted by Waldemar Januszczak featuring this painting.  It is a very moving account of a work of genius which was a commission from the Cross Bowman's Guild - hence the shape formed by Christ's body.

King Frederick The Musician by Geoff Harrison

The Flute Concert, oil on canvas by Adolph Menzel 1850.  Frederick The Great is the flutist and C. P. E. Bach as on harpsichord.  The setting is the kings residence Sans Souci in Potsdam, Prussia around 1750.  As well as being a ruthless ruler, Frederick was an accomplished musician and composer.  Multi-skilling at its best.

Sans Souci   

Sans Souci





The Renaissance - A Fresh Perspective by Geoff Harrison

My favourite art historian/critic Waldemar Januszczak is at it again.  Following on from his excellent series on the Rococo and Baroque, he now turns his attention to the Renaissance in his latest series The Renaissance Unchained.  Given the mountains of material that has trawled through this period of history, you have to wonder what fresh perspective could Januszczak offer.  

He challenges the accepted line put forward by the world's first art historian Giorgio Vasari that the Renaissance began in Italy and that Michelangelo was at its centre.  Januszczak argues that being the first to put pen to paper on these matters meant Vasari's views "could harden quickly into art historical certainties that were passed from generation to generation.  And these weighty certainties were not easy to challenge."   So Januszczak makes a case for the Renaissance having its origins in Flanders and Germany.

Given that the series Rococo was not screened on either the ABC or SBS, I assume the same will apply this time around too.  I am only discovering these series by checking out the BBC4 website - rather sad really.