Art of the Northern Renaissance: Courts, Commerce and Devotion.
London, Laurence King, 2018. Cm. 25x17, pp. 240, figg. 140 a col. e in nero n. t., cart. e sovrac.
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In this lucid account, Stephanie Porras charts the fascinating story of art in northern Europe during the Renaissance period (ca. 1400–1570). She explains how artists and patrons from the regions north of the Alps – the Low Countries, France, England, Germany – responded to an era of rapid political, social, economic, and religious change, while redefining the status of art. Porras discusses not only paintings by artists from Jan van Eyck to Pieter Bruegel the Elder, but also sculpture, architecture, prints, metalwork, embroidery, tapestry, and armor. Each chapter presents works from a roughly 20-year period and also focuses on a broad thematic issue, such as the flourishing of the print industry or the mobility of Northern artists and artworks. The author traces the influence of aristocratic courts as centers of artistic production and the rise of an urban merchant class, leading to the creation of new consumers and new art products. This book offers a richly illustrated narrative that allows readers to understand the progression, variety, and key conceptual developments of Northern Renaissance art.