Thursday, April 18, 2013

Northern European Renaissance (pt. 13)


Rogier van der Weyden is another key name of the Northern European Renaissance.  He, like so many others, usually painted images with religious themes.  Here is his Descent from the Cross panel.
This, like Giotto's Piet√†, almost looks like a stage picture from a play; each character strikes a different pose and indicates an expression of sorrow over the death of Christ.  Mary's and Jesus' pose are identical, each of their bodies curving in an "S" shape.  Mary's and Christ's hands almost touch but do not—like Michelangelo's Creation of Adam, except no effort is being put forth here because one character is dead and the other passed out unconscious.  Mary's other hand rests next to a skull.
Van der Weyden also specialized in portraits.  Here is his Portrait of a Lady, which displays the ideal submissive woman of the time.  Once again, this is propaganda.
There is very little color or excitement in this painting, eh?  This woman does not wear much jewelry (an indication that she is humble), and yet the belt buckle and ring at the bottom indicate that she is wealthy.  She wears mournful black and pure white.  She looks down submissively.  Her hands are folded together.  This is all propaganda for this woman, what would have been intended as an advertisement for her to possible suitors.  Would you want to marry this woman?

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