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Exhibition: Italian Renaissance And Northern Artists (Essay Sample)


Answer the following essay and short answer question. You may only consult your class notes, textbooks, readings, image lists as well as other resources posted on Mindtap and LMS. Evidence of any other research (Internet or otherwise) will count against your grade. Please make sure you properly cite the textbook, articles and class notes when you use them.

I. Essay (4-5 pages). You are curating an exhibition.
a. Choose four or Five works, studied In this class that come from different time periods and movements (preferably drawn from those in bold on the image lists, but not required) and that represent a theme or trend in visual language, art, and society that we (or the textbook) have discussed.
2. Essay explaining the theme of your exhibition Defend why these work well to illustrate your theme or illuminate a development of that theme. Address how you would install the works and which works you might hang next to one another. Explain political, social, philosophical, and aesthetic context as well as the role/function of art and visual language for that society and artist.
3. Checklist of works (artist, title, date, medium, style or movement) with a short description of each as you might find in a Museum label.
4. Issues to consider in comparing the works might include: the change in attitude toward naturalism and perspective; the role of ancient Greece and Rome; the relationship between religion and individuality. The “exhibition” theme can revolve around a political social or intellectual shift, and/or the changing relationship between patron, artist, and society. Make sure to address the role of humanism as it pertains to your theme and chosen works (without making it the exhibition theme).



Italian Renaissance influenced Northern artists who adapted religious theme when Italians pursued secular interests and southern art influence extended to Mannerism and Baroque art. In the leading artistic centers in like Rome and Florence, the presence of the Catholic Church was commonplace, where art and religion were more intertwined when compared to Northern Europe. In the works Double Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his Wife, Last Judgment, The Last Supper, and Christ with the Sick around Him, Receiving the Children, the Catholic Church influenced art, but the Northern European artists were more independent and their pursuit of religious themes personal.

In Jan van Eyck, Double Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his Wife 1434 the art of portraiture became more prominent from the 15th century. Van Eyck represented a Lucca financier in the painting an agent of the Medici family and his wife to be in a Flemish bedchamber and there are religious elements highlighting the sanctity of marriage vows (Kleiner 402). The Flemish painters depicted many objects and nothing was insignificant and Van Eyck showed people and objects that would appear to the naked eye, but Italian artist only illustrated few items. In van Eyck’s painting, there is a little dog, lighted candle, chandelier, a person’s image on the mirror, the couple, and the bedroom window is open.

The Giovanni Arnolfini and His Bride painting are the first in the exhibition, as the spread of Renaissance influenced Northern humanists, where Renaissance culture was adapted to the local conditions. The work of Van Eyck shows that the Northern European Renaissance artists were concerned with ancient learning like Italian Renaissance and reforming the church, unlike Italian Renaissance artists focused more on secular interests. The religious awakening in Northern Europe was also led by Protestants and Van Eyck’s painting depicts an idealized version of marriage, privacy, intimacy, and prosperity.

Among the Italian humanists, there were concerns for human values and interests, that were distinct, but not opposed to religion’s values, and humanists praised classical cultures that they were inspired by Latin literature (Kleiner 419). Unlike the previous period were religious was the most common, Renaissance humanism art depicted pagan sculptures and subject matter since during Renaissance the artists were more open to representing the natural world and humanism. Italians also painted mythical subjects and were more likely to depict monuments unlike painters from Flanders like van Eyck. Secular interests were predominant in Italy, but non-Italian Renaissance painters focused on more religious themes as they were interested in more Scriptural Christianity.

Michelangelo’s Last Judgment, 1536-41 was a papal commission that for the Sistine Chapel and represented Christ as a judge who oversees the world, and there are other symbols of the passion for Christ (Kleiner

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