The Northern Renaissance is the period that began in the 15th century, which preceded the Baroque era. The Northern Renaissance covered the whole Europe, except Italy. It should be noted that the term itself should not be confused with the Italian Renaissance, since these two periods did not coincide either in time or in some characteristic features.
However, there were some similar features: the fixation on the ideas of humanism, the concentration on man as a person, the desire to display emotions on the canvas and reveal the inner world of the character. Though unlike the masters of the Italian Renaissance, the artists of the Northern Renaissance chose the heroes of their paintings not to be just a person, but a strong personality, whose achievements in any sphere deserved attention.
Another significant difference is that the antiquity was not of interest for the Northern Renaissance: artists drew inspiration from religion. In the paintings of the artists of the Northern Renaissance, there is a strong influence of Gothic art, substantially no anatomical accuracy of the characters depicted. Particular attention was paid to detailing: the painters of Germany and the Netherlands had no equal here.
A special role in the canvases by the artists was played by nature, symbolizing God according to the principles of pantheism. This idea was activelу used and was familiar to many artists: subsequently, it was the factor that contributed to the conversion of the landscape into an independent art genre.
The Era Representatives
The Northern Renaissance affected many countries: the Netherlands, England, Spain, France, Germany. However, the paintings by artists of the Dutch and German Northern Renaissance are of the greatest interest for viewers and researchers.
The van Eyck brothers, Peter Bruegel, Hieronymus Bosch are the greatest masters of painting, who made a great contribution to the development of fine arts in the 15th–16th centuries. The works by these artists are recognized masterpieces stored in the largest museums and galleries of the world.
The most important figures of the German Northern Renaissance are, first of all, Albrecht Durer, famous not only for his magnificent engravings, but also for fine examples of paintings, in which the Italian Renaissance is distinctly seen. In addition, the fantastic paintings by Lucas Cranach, Matthias Grunewald, Wolf Huber are of much interest. One of the most famous painters of Germany of the Renaissance is Hans Holbein, an outstanding portraitist.