Renaissance - Reflections of Reality
Advancement in painting techniques during the Renaissance was not only the rebirth of Art but the birth of Art as we know it today. Major contributing factors I will be discussing here are the adoption of oil-based pigment as the leading medium for painting and the idea that Art could not only tell a religious story in an emotional thought provoking way but represent the here and now, the reality of life in a realistic way.
Jan van Eyck was a 15th century Flemish painter, van Eyck was one of the most celebrated painters in Northern Europe during the fifteenth century, widely hailed for his miraculous ability to depict observed reality with a refinement verging on the microscopic. The beginnings of oil painting are recorded as early as the 12Th Century in Northern Europe. But it was the virtuoso handling of the medium on panel by van Eyck and Rogier van der Weyden that represented a turning point in its eventual adoption as the major painting medium in Europe in the 16th Century. By then van Eyck had been credited by some to be the first to engage in this medium; although he had been incorrectly credited with the "invention" of oil painting it was his experimentations and development that was not in dispute, providing much inspiration for other artists in Northern Europe and Italy. He was to pass his knowledge to few, yet many were to study his work and replicate the beauty, character, luminosity and longevity of his paintings.
Rogier van der Weyden was also a Flemish painter whom we can attribute his use of oil paint and the advancement of his technical abilities as major artistic achievements of the Renaissance period. Rogier was distinguished by his dynamic compositions stressing human acts and drama. It is believed Michelangelo was referring to Rogier when the Italian master observed that “Flemish painting (will) please the devout better than any painting of Italy, which will never cause him to shed a tear,...