NEW Course 22
Acquisition and Assimilation: The Italians and Early Netherlandish Painting
Dr Paula Nuttall
Summer School – Online
Monday 12 – Friday 16 July 2021
Although famously disparaged by Michelangelo as being “without reason or art”, Netherlandish painting was widely admired in early Renaissance Italy, and had a transformative effect on Italian art itself. This course will examine responses to Netherlandish painting in the fifteenth century from a range of viewpoints: textual, historical, technical and image-based.
Jan van Eyck and Rogier van der Weyden were acclaimed by Italian humanist commentators as the greatest painters of the day, on account of their virtuosic naturalism which chimed with artistic concerns in Italy. Their paintings graced the collections of the elite, including the rulers of Naples and Ferrara, and the Medici in Florence. Netherlandish artworks reached Italy through the agency of Italian merchants in the commercial metropolis of Bruges, such as the banker Tommaso Portinari, the patron of Memling and Hugo van der Goes, while painters’ travels also facilitated exchange. Increasing familiarity with Netherlandish paintings from about 1470 resulted in a wide range of responses from Italian painters – including Antonello da Messina, Piero della Francesca, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Leonardo da Vinci – from the assimilation of the Netherlandish oil technique, to the appropriation of Netherlandish landscape forms and portrait types, and the adaptation of novel Netherlandish devotional and secular imagery.