European Art An Overview based on The Annotated Mona Lisa (1992) Renaissance: the beginning of modern painting Four breakthroughs: Oil on Stretched Canvas, Perspective, Use of Light and Shadow, Pyramid Configuration Mascaccio, The Tribute Money c. 1427 Three Dimentional Realism
An Overview based on The Annotated Mona Lisa (1992)
Mascaccio, The Tribute Money c. 1427
Donatello, “David” c. 1430-32
Donatello pioneered the Reanaissance style of sculpture with
Rounded body mass
Leonardo Da Vinci, “Mona Lisa” 1503-6
Embodied all the Renaissance discoveries of perspective
Anatomy, and composition
Michelangelo, “The Last Judgment,” detail, 1541 Sistine Chapel , Rome.
St. Bartholomew, a martyr who was flayed alive, holds up his skin with a
Grotesque self-portrait of Michelangelo
Masterpiece embodies the High Renaissance in its balance
Sculptural quality, architectual perspective and fusion of pagan and
Titian, “Bacchanal of the Adrians,” 1518, Prado
Madrid. This pagan wine party contains the major
Ingredients of Titian’s early style: dazzling contrasting
Colors, ample female forms, and asymmetric
Van Eyck, “Arnolfini Wedding,” 1434,
NG, London.. A master of realism,
Van Eyke recreated the marriage
scene, in miniature in the mirror.
Virtually every object symbolizes the
painting’s theme-the sanctity of
marriage-with the dog representing
fidelity and the cast-off shoes holy
Dürer, “Four Horsemen of the
Apocalypse,” c. 1497-98
Dürer used fine, engravinglike lines
for shading. In this doomsday
vision, the final Four Horsemen-war
pestilence, famine, and death,
El Greco, “Resurrection,” c. 1597-1604, Prado
Madrid. Many characteristics of El Greco’s
late, mystical style are evident here:
immensely long bodies, harsh light as if from
a threatening storm, strong colors, twisted
figures, sense of movement, and intense
Caravaggio, “The Conversion of St. Paul,”
c. 1601, Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome.
Although criticized for portraying holy
figures as common people, Caravaggio’s
radical styleof sharp light and dark
contrasts changed European art.
Rubens, “The Descent from the Cross,”
c. 1612, Antwerp Cathedral. This painting
full of Baroque curves and dramatic
lighting , established Rubens’s
Hals, “The Jolly Toper,” 1627,
Hals used sweeping, fluid
brushmarks to freeze the passing
moment in candid portraits of
Probably the best known painter in the Western world, Nightwatch
is an example of his early style, shows his technical skill with lighting,
composition, and color that earned it the reputation as one of the
world’s greatest masterpieces.
Hogarth, “Breakfast Scene,” from Marriage a la Mode, c. 1745
NG, London. Hogarth is best known for satirical pictures
poking fun at English society.
Velázquez, “Las Meninas,”
1656, Prado, Madrid.
Velázquez created forms through
color and light rather than
through lines, achieving
startlingly real images of the
human figure. Voted “the
world’s greatest painting” in
In the seventeenth century, France was the most powerful
country in Europe and Louis XIV tapped the finest talents
to glorify the monarchy.
Poussin, “Burial of Phocion,” 1648, Louvre, Paris. Poussin’s
balanced, orderly scenes shaped Western art for 200 years.
David, “Oath of the Horatii,”
1784, Louvre, Paris. David’s
“Oath of the Horatii” marked
the death of Rococo and birth
of Neoclassical art, which
should, David said, “contribute
forcefully to the education
of the public.”
Goya, “The Third of May,
1808,” 1814-15, Prado,
Madrid. Goya protested
the brutality of war by
individualizing the faces
of the victims of the
faceless firing squad.
The poet Baudelaire
praised Goya for “giving
monstrosity the ring
Constable, “The Hay Wain,” NG, London. Constable portrays the farmer with his hay wagon (or “wain”) as an integral part of the landscape emphasizing Constable’s mystical feeling of man being at one with nature. Critics found this landscape so lifelike one exclaimed, “The very dew is on the ground.”
Daumier, “The Third-Class Carriage,” c. 1862, MMA, NY. A spiritual heir to William Hogarth,
Honoré Daumier drew savagely satirical caricatures that punctured the pomposity of Royalists,
Bonapartists, and politicians. King Louis Philippe jailed Daumier for his cartoon of the king
swallowing “bags of gold extorted from the people.” Still Daumier continued his attacks. “The
Third Class Carriage,” portrayed working class passengers as dignified, despite being
crammed together like lemmings. This was the earliest pictorial representation of the
dehumanizing effect of modern transportation.
Impressionism radically departed from tradition by rejecting Renaissance
perspective, balanced composition, idealized figures, and chiaroscuro.
Instead, the Impressionists represented immediate visual sensations
through color and light.
l’herbe,” 1863, Musée
Manet painted flat areas of color, a radical break with traditional
chiaroscuro. Edouard Manet is often called the Father of Modern
Museum of Art
When cateracts blurred his vision, Monet’s painted water lilies became hazier and finally indistinguishable from the water and reflections. He had invented a new kind of painting that foreshadowed abstraction. “The essense of the motif is the mirror of water whose appearance alters at every moment, thanks to the patches of sky which are reflected in it, and which give it light and movement.” he said.
Renoir, “Le Moulin de la Galette,” 1876, Musée d’ Orsay, Paris.
Renior specialized in human figures bathed in light and color, ex
pressing te everyday joys of life. “The earth as the paradise of the gods,
that is what I want to paint,” he said.
Van Gogh, “The Starry Night,” 1889 MoMA, NY. Van Gogh expressed his emotional reaction to a scene through color.
Georges Seurat, “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte,” 1884-86, Art Institute of
Chicago. Seurat developed the pointillist technique of using small
dots of pure color.
Cézanne’s late nudes with their stiff, geometric forms, were a precursor
Stripe (Madam Matisse), 1905,
Statens Museum für Kunst,
Matisse used color to transform a conventional subject into a vibrating, original design. Energizing the face,
the unexpected streak allows the head to compete with the assertive background. matisse stressed surface
pattern, placing equal emphasis on foreground and background, and on objects and the space around
them. “No point is more important than any other,” he said, abandoning shadow and perspective for a flat,
ornamental, “overall” effect.
Pablo Picasso, filled with patriotic rage after the bombing of Guenica, created the 25-foot-wide by 11-foot-high
mural in one month. It is considered the most powerful indictment ever of the horrors of war. “Painting is not done
to decorate apartments,” Picasso said, “It is a instrument of war for attack and defense against the enemy.” Picasso
incorporated certain design elements to create a powerful effect of anguish. He used a white-gray palette tp emphasize
hopelessness and purposely distorted figures to evoke violence. The jagged lines and shattered planes of cubism denote
terror and confusion, while a pyramid format holds the composition together. Some of Picasso’s symbols, like the slain
fighter with a broken sword implying defeat, are not hard to decipher. Picasso’s only explanation of his symbols was:
“the bull is not fascism, but it is brutality ad darkness . .. The horse represents the people.”