Northern Renaissance By Grace Godden

Northern Renaissance

  • Although some of the patrons of Northern Renaissance artists were the leaders and elites, other patrons were the upperclass or wealthy middle class people.
  • The most influential regions during the Northern Renaissance were Germany, Flanders, and the Netherlands.
  • One notes a difference in the art of the Northern Renaissance after the Protestant Reformation, including a disappearance of depictions of Mary and the Saints, and an increased emphasis on figures reading or having a Bible.

Albrecht Durer

  • During his travels Albrecht Durer visited the Netherlands and Frankfurt.
  • While in Italy he met Michael Wolgemut, with whom he was apprenticed and who was also the leading artist, at that time, in Nuremberg.


  • His father was Hans Holbein the Elder, a painter and draughtsman and his uncle was the artist Sigmund Holbein. Hans followed in his father’s footsteps. One of Holbein’s brothers, Ambrosius, also became a painter but he died an early death in 1519.
  • Hans Holbein the Younger became famous as one of the greatest portraitists of the 16th century, also producing religious art, satire and Reformation propaganda. His most famous patrons were Henry VIII of England, Anne Boleyn, Desiderius Erasmus, Thomas Cromwell and Thomas More.

Van Eyck

  • Despite this legendary objectivity, Van Eyck’s paintings are perhaps most remarkable for their pure fictions. He frequently aimed to deceive the eye and amaze the viewer with his sheer artistry: inscriptions in his work simulate carved or applied lettering; grisaille statuettes imitate real sculpture; painted mirrors reflect unseen, imaginary events occurring outside the picture space.
  • Jan van Eyck is the most famous member of a family of painters traditionally believed to have originated from the town of Maaseik, in the diocese of Liège.


  • Pieter Bruegel the Elder became famous for disguising himself in peasant garb to be able to attend celebrations and weddings so that he could gain authentic details for his work.
  • Pieter Bruegel the Elder died on September 9th 1569 in Brussels and his body was laid to rest in Notre-Dame de la Chapelle in Brussels.


  • Desiderius Erasmus was born in Rotterdam, Netherlands, probably on October 27, 1466, the second son of a priest, Roger Gerard, and Margaret, a physician's daughter.
  • round 1484 his parents died of the plague (a highly contagious disease that results in the deaths of large numbers of people) and their appointed guardians sent the boys to another, more conservative school also run by the Brethren for three more years. From this religious community, Erasmus was educated in classical Latin and developed an appreciation of Christianity beyond its traditional basis.
  • "Give light, and the darkness will disappear of itself."

Thomas More

  • Thomas More was born in London on Feb. 6, 1478, to parents whose families were connected with the city's legal community.
  • More's first official trip abroad, on embassy at Antwerp in 1515, gave him leisure time in which he began his greatest work, Utopia
  • "I die the king's faithful servant, but God's first."

Christine de Pizan

  • Christine de Pizan was an Italian French author from late medieval times. She acted as the court writer in the royal court of French ruler, Charles VI.
  • Christine also served in the courts of several French dukes like Louis of Orleans, Philip the Bold and John the Fearless from Burgundy.
  • She wrote both poetry and prose with equal ease. Her poetry was infused with her knowledge of aristocratic customs and fashion in vogue. She also wrote biographies and books containing practical advice for women. She also wrote about mythology and history.

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