1 Religious Icon, Northern Netherlandish School’s Nativity, with footnotes #17
This painted Nativity, which emphasises the humble nature of Christ’s birth, offers an intimate portrayal of the Holy Family. Kneeling in a ruined stable, the Virgin gazes devoutly down at the Christ Child, His small and vulnerable body resting on a fold of her drapery, while Joseph is shown removing his hat as a sign of reverence. Through the arch of the crumbling building, an angel announces Christ’s miraculous birth to shepherds on the hillside, two of whom have already come to witness the event: their strongly characterised faces can be seen peering through a window on the right. The original function of this panel is not known. It may have stood on its own as an aid for private devotion, or functioned as part of a larger ensemble: as the central panel of a triptych; or as one of the panels of a polyptych, depicting scenes from the life of Christ or the Virgin. More on this painting
Early Netherlandish painting is the work of artists active in the Burgundian and Habsburg Netherlands during the 15th- and 16th-century Northern Renaissance; especially in the flourishing cities of Bruges, Ghent, Mechelen, Louvain, Tournai and Brussels, all in contemporary Belgium. Their work follows the International Gothic style and begins approximately with Robert Campin and Jan van Eyck in the early 1420s. It lasts at least until the death of Gerard David in 1523, although many scholars extend it to the start of the Dutch Revolt in 1566 or 1568 Early Netherlandish painting coincides with the Early and High Italian Renaissance but is seen as an independent artistic culture, separate from the Renaissance humanism that characterised developments in Italy. Because these painters represent the culmination of the northern European medieval artistic heritage and the incorporation of Renaissance ideals, they are sometimes categorised as belonging to both the Early Renaissance and Late Gothic. More on the Netherlandish School
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