Renaissance Art: Symbolism And Contribution To The Renaissance

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Emerging from the despair of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance was a welcomed period of change. Europeans grew into a cultured society as wealthy metropolises developed. Prosperous merchants moved into larger cities and ambitious artists followed their patrons. Within renaissance art, there were many different sub-movements; from Northern European art to the “New Flemish Style”, and lastly the Italian renaissance. All of these artists contributed to the advancement of European art in various ways by introducing methods of perspective, symbolism, and the use of oils in painting.
During the 15th century it was difficult for the average person to travel very far from their home. Phenomenally, artists of all means made their way to places like
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The “New Flemish Style” heavily relied upon symbols to convey ideas about both the painted and the painter. In the work “MÉRODE ALTARPIECE”, artists in a workshop headed by Master of Fémalle created a triptych. This triptych shows a couple praying outside a house while Mary Magdalene and an angel sit inside. Joseph is working in his carpenter’s shop on the third panel. The couple outside the house kneel in devotion while watching the miraculous event take place before their eyes. The wife’s prayer beads are a symbol of her faith and spirituality. Her and her husband’s clothes are another sign of piety. Mary and the angel in the home also hold indicators of their faith, the holy bible, while the white lilies on the table represent purity. The hanging pot of water illustrates Mary’s divinity as a vessel for Christ. Joseph busily works in his carpentry shop drilling holes into a wine board. This wine board alludes to the blood of Jesus Christ. Next to him the mouse trap symbolizes God trapping Satan thus prevailing against evil in the end. (Page 297-298) This painting is one of the numerous artworks that display the amount of thoughtfulness and symbolism in the New Flemish Style. Historians believe that this artwork was commissioned for a private chapel which explains the rich religious symbolism depicted. These emblems appealed to viewers in an intimate way and helped spread the adoration

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