- Paperback: 592 pages
- Publisher: Prentice Hall; 2nd edition (September 12, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0131895648
- ISBN-13: 978-0131895645
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.1 x 11.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #641,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Northern Renaissance Art: Painting, Sculpture, the Graphic Arts from 1350 to 1575, 2nd Edition 2nd Edition
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From the Back Cover
Snyder's classic survey provides an authoritative and absorbing assessment of Northern achievements, ranging from Bohemian court art under Charles IV in Prague in the 1350s to the open sale of pictures as commodities on Antwerp's art market in the 1560s. In rich detail and with utter clarity, this book tells the stories of the artists and the patrons who created this extraordinary flowering of art.
Now sumptuously illustrated in fill color throughout, this new second edition has been carefully revised and updated by Larry Silver, Professor of Art History at University of Pennsylvania and Henry Luttikhuizen, Professor of Art History at Calvin College. Highlights of this second edition include a reorganization of the chapters around centers of production, expanded coverage of the sixteenth century, including the addition of more sculpture and tapestries, and a stronger focus on the careers of major artists. Silver and Luttikhuizen have placed greater emphasis on the reception of Northern Renaissance Art and consequently the new edition features a much stronger consideration of social function arid cultural context.
Almost 680 illustrations, more than 250 in full color, are each keyed to the text, providing superb visual documentation. The book also includes notes to the text, maps, a timetable of the major artistic; political, religious, and scientific achievements of the period, a genealogy of the house of Valois, and a freshly updated bibliography.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
In many respects the text before you is an act of homage, a tribute to how well James Snyder's original text, now two decades old, has held up since it was written. At the same time, however, items and images have been added to introduce students to material that has attracted scholarly attention in the intervening years. A new design and expanded color have enhanced both the value of Snyder's analyses and the results of more recent scholarship. The text has been trimmed in places where Snyder was perhaps over-dependent on a few older scholars (e.g. Fraenger on Bosch, Tolnay on Bruegel), whose views are no longer held to be either essential or well-founded. Where Snyder used his own scholarship and his keen interests, particularly in Netherlandish painting, Dutch painting in particular, his insights remain lasting and fundamental, as valid as ever for today's students.
James Snyder also had his biases, and they sometimes made his book unbalanced. His preoccupation with the chronology of Jan van Eyck has been tempered and his apologetic comparisons of Northern art to the prevailing canon of the Italian Renaissance toned down. Relatively thin sections on Germany have been expanded to restore balance. More attention has also been paid to manuscript traditions in France, Flanders, and Snyder's beloved Holland. His discussion of sculpture and tapestry has been expanded to highlight historical developments in those media. In addition, his treatment of sculpture and prints has been reorganized. Whereas he confined sculpture and prints to their own separate chapters, in this edition they have been unified to unveil the accomplishments of those more versatile artists who worked across media, such as Schongauer (engravings and paintings) and Pacher (sculpture and paintings). Another result of this reunification of parts means that Snyder's own fundamental insights into Dutch printmaking and printed book illustrations can now be seen together with the paintings that he did so much to elucidate.
The revised text has also been arranged according to centers, except for a few chapters that focus on single artists. In fact, Snyder's original idea of starting with Bohemia sets the tone for the future considerations of place that follow, including chapters on regions as well as cities (Ghent, Bruges, Augsburg, and Basel), which form the main topics of organization for the artists and their works.
In editing and revising this text, our hope has been to update (especially in the notes and bibliography) and to clarify the valuable, evergreen textbook of James Snyder from 1985. Attentive comparison will chiefly reveal integration of media within reorganization by centers of art production, while still capturing Snyder's excitement for the period and its artists. We offer it anew to the current generation of students.
In closing, the authors would like to acknowledge the meticulous assistance of their students, Freyda Spira, Rebecca Merz, and David Malda, and the job-like patience of both their venerated teachers and long-suffering family members.
Larry Silver, University of Pennsylvania
Henry Luttikhuizen, Calvin College
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Top Customer Reviews
So exactly what does Northern Renaissance Art cover? Is it an age that can be separated, marked out and surveyed by political or religious activities? And by northern what is meant? Is Switzerland the home of northern art? Can it be made in Italy? And what makes it significant and different from the universally recognized world of Italian Renaissance Art, where the term 'art' is always capitalized?
Well, the truth lies pretty much with all of the above. As Snyder shows, several distinct cultures fall into this very large historical category. If you're buying this book as a student for a class, I can only hope you have more than one semester to give to the material. Northern Renaissance Art covers an enormous time period and many countries. It approaches in diversity the far better known works and ideas of the Italian Renaissance. No one seriously discusses the Italian Renaissance in a single semester - the material is taught in a series of classes. The same limitations and requirements should apply to teaching the Northern Renaissance. Art history today no longer focuses on aesthetic questions of style; as a result a student faces a lifetime's study of a period's culture and history.
However, there are some basics. If one word could define what separates the two worlds of the Italian and Northern Renaissance - that word would have to be naturalism. Northern European artists revel in achievements of realism that far surpass the Italians, who, while perfectly capable of such stylistic work, prefer a more intellectually formalized approach. Indeed, Michelangelo dismissed northern artist's attention to nature and care for photographic details as incidental, and excessively ephemeral, when contrasted to his Italian art which used images for projecting deeper spiritual values. The public, however, was delighted with the landscapes, and their non-abstract openness. Many artists from the north specialized in landscape, and it became a manner so associated with them that it was not uncommon for Italian painters to hire Northern artists to fill in the 'less important' landscape backgrounds of their larger canvases.
The Italian Renaissance differed also in that it was singularly connected to the revival and reappreciation of ancient 'pagan' works of art. These antiquities provided a challenge, as well as a reawakening, for the artists and thinkers of Italy. In the north artists did not have at hand magnificent works of ancient architecture or sculpture: as a result intellectual challenges were quite different; though initially tied to the Italian thinking, the northern artists more and more shifted focus onto their own immediate world. As the fifteenth century closed they became attuned to newer discoveries from the exploration of new (not ancient)worlds by sea, and the individuals emancipation brought about through the beginnings of Protestant thought. For moderns this means that the Northern Renaissance often appears closer to us and our own post photographic record of the world. The artist's sense of intimacy with nature seems little different than what most of us know as landscape art. Their religious works also convey a striking ease with space less contrived than our eyes find the representation of space in most Italian painting of the same era. All made the more attractive for being so accessible. Some of this difference marks profound religious and philosophical differences - northern art has about it some of the fervor of emancipation - there is here a reflection of the Armana naturalism revolting against the old art of a more dogmatic less individualistic Egypt. Eventually Italian artists would adapt to this new naturalism, especially in the north of Italy in Venice, in the works of Bellini, Giorgione, and Titian.
This book introduces the reader to the early Flemish master painters, such as Van Eyck and Rogier van der Weyden, the later great German artists, such as Durer and Holbein and Grunewald, and the strange inner universe of Bosch. Topping off the age are the works of one of the grandest of all humanists, Pieter Bruegel the elder. And these are just some of the great painters! There remains a wealth of sculpture and architecture, drawing and craft work. Moreover, the Northern Renaissance is also an artistic universe filled with fresh new theories and a milieu profoundly effected by the great religious upheaval of the Reformation.
Snyder gives as good an overview of so much material as one could hope for - his work replete with an enormous number of images, many of which have for nearly half a millenium been accepted as iconic. The text treats the material with a practised consideration, born of many years study. However; the impetus of the book is to direct the reader further afield, and this is indisputably the author's greatest achievement and the point of such a survey work. The real jewels for readers will be enlarging these discoveries by travel and on site awareness, these efforts made more satisfying through study of specific texts directed at the new artists whose work transforms your view of what the Renaissance was.
"Northern Renaissace Art" is everything you could want to deepen your knowledge of this important period of history. The book is 750 pages long and has over 680 illustration of which 250 are in beautifully reproduced color. James Snyder does an excellent job of explaining why those iconic paintings that everyone knows are great and deserve to be remembered 500 years after they were painted. More importantly, Snyder takes those second tier masters out of obscurity and elevates them to their proper place in history. Before reading this book, I had never heard of such masters as Jan Gossaert, Jean Fouquet and Petrus Christus. It was a exciting to get know their work. By no means is "Northern Rensaissace Art" a reasonably priced book. But it is the type of book that will give you great pleasure for many years.
I intend to write to the publisher as well, but basically -- no, I cannot assign this great book to my large lecture course at a big university because the price is ridiculously high. Either make a coffee table book, or a textbook, but do not try to combine them like this. College students have enough financial problems.