Renaissance Art at the Crossroads: Italy and the Netherlands

25 September 2012 – 27 November 2012

The impact of Netherlandish painting, founded by Jan van Eyck and Rogier van der Weyden, was so profound in Italy that it changed the direction of Italian Renaissance art.

From Filippo Lippi to Raphael, Italian painters switched from egg tempera to the Netherlandish technique of painting in oils, adopted the northern approach to portraiture, emulated the depiction of light, texture and other illusionistic effects, and even copied landscape backgrounds from imported northern altarpieces. In the 15th century this influence travelled almost exclusively in one direction from north to south.

However, in the 16th century this direction was effectively to reverse as the works of Michelangelo and other Italian masters caught the imagination of Netherlandish artists and their patrons (from Gossaert ultimately to Rubens). In studying this cultural cross-fertilisation in the 15th and 16th centuries this course draws on more recent scholarship that has caused a major re-evaluation of Renaissance art. Cutting across national boundaries and the boundaries existing in traditional art history the course tells a newly-emerging story, with even well-known art works being seen from a fresh perspective.