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  • Empires - The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance
    Empires - The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance
    A fascinating and highly entertaining look at one of the most important families of the Renaissance era--the Medici.
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    “Sister Wendy Beckett has transformed public appreciation of art through her astonishing knowledge, insight and passion for painting and painters.” This set includes Sister Wendy's Story of Painting, Sister Wendy's Odyssey, and Sister Wendy's Grand Tour. Simultaneously delightful and scholarly--this is a must have for anyone interested in art history.

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    When British stencil artist Banksy traveled to Los Angeles to work, he came across obscure French filmmaker Thierry Guetta and his badly organized collection of videotapes involving the activities of graffiti artists. Inspired, Banksy assembled them with new footage to create this talked-about documentary, and the result is a mind-boggling and odd film (so strange as to be thought a hoax by some) about outsider artists and the definition of art itself.
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    A dramatization of the Impressionist movement as seen through the eyes of Claude Monet. Highly entertaining and informative.
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    A very personal and revealing look at the personalities that created Impressionism.

Entries in Early Northern Renaissance (1)


Hugo van der Goes: A Strange and Melancholy Genius

Hugo van der Goes - Monforte Altarpiece - c. 1470 - Oil on wood, 150 x 247 cm - Staatliche Museen, Berlin) (click photo for larger image)Early Netherlandish painting refers to the work of artists, sometimes known as the Flemish Primitives, active in the Burgundian and Habsburg Netherlands during the 15th- and 16th-century Northern Renaissance; especially in the flourishing cities of Bruges, Ghent, Tournai and Brussels. One of its great masters was Hugo van der Goes ( c. 1440-1482).

The most brilliant work from the early period of Van der Goes is the Monforte Altarpiece, named after the town in which it was housed, in a college belonging to a group of Spanish Jesuits. It was subsequently transferred to the Berlin museum. It is a large-scale triptych, of which only the central panel, a long horizontal rectangle, has survived to the present day. A group of hovering angels have been amputated from the top of the panel, and the two wings have disappeared. The theme of the surviving picture is the adoration of the Magi.

The Three Kings and their followers come upon the Virgin, the Holy Infant and Joseph amid the ruins of a palace. A group of villagers observe this extraordinary scene through a gap in the wall. The figures, both actors and witnesses, are all shown on the same scale, whether humble or magnificent. They are neither reticent nor exalted, but react to the event in their various ways, surprised or self-conscious. In the background we can see a few women, some cottages and a river besides which the Kings' horses are waiting. In the foreground, symbolic flowers - the lily and columbine - and a pottery vessel are depicted with great care. A tiny squirrel is running along one of the beams above the opening through which the villagers observe the scene. Van der Goes has given free rein to his imagination, both in the composition and in his handling of paint, deploying the splendidly rich colors that are so characteristic of his art, mixing blazing reds with the most delicately nuanced shades.

You can read more about Hugo van der Goes right HERE on What About Art?