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Technology, Mediums, and Their Effect on the 15th Century

Autor:   •  November 23, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  1,747 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,446 Views

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Technology, Mediums, and their Effect on the 15th Century

There were many things changing in the 15th century. The Great Schism was coming to an end, followed by the Hundred Years' War, and feudalism as well was dying out. One thing that had a great change to it was the art. Different art technologies like oil painting arrived and took over, along with wood panel as a medium, graphic arts, glazing (oil paint), and different styles and perspectives were being used along with many other advances. Its advances like these that had changed art forever.

In Burgundy, Northern Renaissance had gotten its start in graphic arts. Starting in the 14th century, if an artist was proficient in producing illuminated manuscripts, then that artist could make a good living, but it died out. Then, early 15th century, illumination came back and even took over entire pages in some instances. We now had entire paintings crowding manuscript pages all the way to their borders.

The Royal families of France were avid collectors of these, which became popular enough so that the text was looked at as unimportant. One of the best surviving examples of these manuscripts is the Limbourg Brothers "Book of Hours", created for the duke of Berry, which contained nothing more that religious scenes and calendar pages with peasants doing normal peasant things. Because of this, It only made sense that, since the paintings are what made these manuscripts popular in the first place, then the paintings should move onto a bigger medium, and because of oil paints, which had just been discovered, it has been made possible for artists to paint on wood or canvas.

Oil paints were a colossal improvement for art in the 15th century. It let the artist construct paintings on wood panel and even on canvas. This was a big step up from tempera. Oils did not dry as fast as tempera did and did so more orderly, allowing the artist to go back re work and fix things if he pleased. Rather then apply oil paints in the light, flecked brushstrokes the tempera required, the artists could just lay the oils down in layers, better known as glazes, over opaque or semi opaque layers, and in doing so could create deeper tones by repeating the glaze process. In fact, the Northern Renaissance artist who is credited most with developing oil techniques like this one was Jan Van Eyck.

Wood panel as a medium was a big thing as well. It was very easy to paint on with oil paints, and was the preferred medium. In Florence, there were more woodcarvers than there were butchers, suggesting that wooden panel was in high demand and also suggesting that in a way art was a necessity of life, even more so than meat, and this was for everyone, not just the wealthy.

Perspective also came into place in the 15th century. Before figure size and distance was just estimated and guessed at if even that, now artists are trying to figure out a way


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