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The Greatest Art Works in Europe

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Scene from the Life of Saint Thomas Aquinas: The Vision of Fra Paolino, 1465

Bartolomeo degli Erri (1450 - ?). The importance of this picture is the accuracy of scale, proportion, and perspective. The figures are sized correctly in relation to the architecture and to their placement in the picture. The illusion of depth is expertly depicted by a series of overlapping planes. In the plane closest to us, an elder stands with his right hand raised. The next plane contains two columns on the right and left, next is the bench upon which three men sit, then the box on the upper right and so on until we reach the rear wall with two windows.

St. John the Baptist and St. Miniato

Lorenzo di Bicci (ca.1350 — 1427) was an Italian painter of the Florentine school, traditional in outlook, Florentine painter and architect from a dynasty of artists whose workshop thrived despite indifference to current developments in Renaissance art. The set is intended as a means of appreciating the craftsmanship and fine detail of works of art often overlooked when discussing subject matter. Painting and drawing examples illustrate various media and support.

The Holy Trinity (1491-93)

Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi(1445 - 1510), better known as Sandro Botticelli or Il Botticello ("The Little Barrel") was an Italian painter of the Florentine school during the Early Renaissance. The altarpiece shows the Holy Trinity with Mary Magdalene, St John the Baptist and Tobias and the Angel. The Holy Trinity appears as a vision between the penitent saints Magdalene and John in a bleak desert landscape. The Baptist is inviting the observer to worship the Trinity, and Mary Magdalene is turning to face it full of emotion.

Madonna and Child with Angels (1405-1410.)

Lorenzo di Bicci was a Florentine painter, his life is poorly documented and only a few works are securely attributed to him, but he is regarded as one of the best Florentine painters of his period. His style is clear and lively. The painting was lavishly covered with gold paint; like the Raczynski Tondo, it contains nearly life-size figures. The Virgin, crowned by two angels, is depicted as the Queen of Heaven.

Madonna and child

Taddeo di Bartolo (1362 or 1363 – August 26, 1422), also known as Taddeo Bartoli, was an Italian painter of the Sienese School during the early Renaissance. The Child is lying securely in the arms of Mary, but she is sad, melancholy expression on the faces of mother and child are intended to remind the observer of the torments the Son of God will suffer in the future.

The Crucifixion

Luca di Tomme (1355 - 1389) was trained in Siena by the Lorenzettis, the proprietor family of the most prolific workshop in the city. He was also influenced by the work of Simone Martini. Luca joined the painters’ guild in Siena in 1356 and worked consistently for the Siena Cathedral. The Crucifixion by Luca di Tomme  depicts the last moments of Christ on the cross while followers and the roman leaders watch.

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St. Mary Magdalene

Ugolino di Nerio (1280? - 1349) was an Italian painter active in his native city of Siena and in Florence between the years 1317 and 1327.He was a follower of Duccio di Buoninsegna, from whose Maestà some of his scenes are clearly derived. He was a leading master who contributed to the spread of Sienese painting in Florence by earning commissions to paint in the two main basilicas there, Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce.Mary Magdalene or Mary of Magdala is described, in the New Testament, as one of the most important women in the movement of Jesus throughout his ministry.

St. Paul

Lorenzo di Niccolo(1392 – 1411) was an Italian artist. The creation date of the art was between the 14th and 15th centuries. Lorenzo, often wrongly described as Gerini's son, was probably trained in his workshop, and the earliest works attributable to him have much in common with the older master's style. From 1401 on, Lorenzo is recorded as an independent painter. The art shows the apostle Paul.

The Magi Before Herod, ca. 1490

 Matteo di Giovanni (1435 - 1495) worked in Siena. According to the Gospel of Matthew, the Magi were three wise men from the East in search of the king of the Jews (Jesus). The Magi followed a star to seek the newborn child. Herod was king of Judea when Jesus was born and felt threatened by Jesus. He ordered the Magi to bring news of the child. The Magi had a dream of Herod's evil intent and fled before reporting to Herod. Herod became upset and ordered his soldiers to kill hundreds of newborn boys, commonly known as the Massacre of the Innocents. Here the three magi and their entourage stand before Herod, who sits on a throne.

The Crucifixion, ca. 1490

Matteo di Giovanni (1435 - 1495).The crucifixion is one of the most important events in Christianity. Painters have produced many versions of this event because each of the four Evangelists wrote different accounts of the crucifixion.According to Matthew, Jesus was crucified for being accused of blasphemy. He was crucified on a hill called Golgotha (place of the skull). Soldiers drew lots for Christ's belongings (shown at right). Two thieves were crucified along side Christ. Attending the crucifixion were the Virgin Mary (in dark blue), Mary Magdalene (in red) and other women helpers.According to Luke, Pontius Pilate discussed the charges against Jesus with Herod. Both found Jesus innocent of any charges. But, the chief priests and a large crowd wanted Jesus crucified. The robber on Christ's right repented (seen with a halo), the robber on His left railed Him.

Saint James the Less – Style of Hans Backofen

Backofen, active(1509-1519). Attachment to the forms and expressions of late gothic were evident in his work. Sculpture in wood, used for ecclesiastical furnishings (stalls), and often associated with painting in altarpieces, became one of the favorite media of German artists.

The sculpture shows Saint Paul.

The Lamentation, ca 1540

Ambrosius Benson ( ? - 1550) is known for his scenes of the Passions of Christ, religious allegories, and portraits of Saints. His figures are a bit stiff, though he was able to translate emotion by their facial expressions. In this picture, Benson's dark sky and somber background best express the gloom of the scene.
In this version, Christ is laid on a shroud and is surrounded by mourners. Joseph of Arimathaea holds Christ's shoulder. The Virgin Mary preys at Christ's side. Mary Magdalene kneels at the feet of Christ. An unknown mourner assists Mary Magdalene by holding her jar of oil used to anoint Christ's feet. John the Evangelist stands behind the Virgin Mary.

Nativity, ca. 1475 - 1500, Master of Retable of Reyes Catolicos

The Gospel According to Luke describes how Mary went to a manger to give birth because there was no place for them at the inn. Because Luke never described the manger, artists have exaggerated the event by turning the scene into an extravagant ceremony. Many artists usually included an ox and an ass (left) to reinforce a manger-like setting. In this version, Jesus lies on the ground surrounded by the Virgin Mary, Joseph (holding a rod and a lantern), a group of shepherds, and angels. The angels are grouped in threes. The number three is an attribute, or symbol, of the Trinity.

Two Scenes from the Passion of Christ: The Flagellation and the Crowning of Thorns, early 16th Century

Master of Kappenberg. The scenes are described in the gospels. In this picture, the two scenes are separatedby a center column. Left of the column is the Flagellation. According to the gospels, Pontious Pilate, Governor of Judea, had Jesus flogged before His crucifixion. On the right, the floggers placed a crown of thorns on the head of Jesus and proclaimed Him King of the Jews. The crown of thorns was intended to mock Jesus. The floggers deride Jesus as a King in shackles. Pontious Pilate watches the crowning (right center) as does a Jewish onlooker (far right doorway) wearing a yellow turban. During the Renaissance, many Jews were required to wear yellow.
Triptych (right wing) Mary Magdelene (left wing) Joseph of Arimathaea, 16th Century

Pieter Coecke van Aelst (1502-50) is known for painting in a realist style. A triptych is a set of three pictures. The outer pictures are called wings. The wings were hinged to a center panel and opened like doors. A triptych was usually placed on an altar. Joseph of Arimathaea was a wealthy disciple of Christ. He was allowed to take the body of Christ from the cross and lay Him in a tomb reserved for himself. He is typically seen with the nails of the cross and the crown of thorns worn by Jesus. The white sheet or shroud he carries covered Jesus in the tomb.

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