p.p1 to human detail. Sandro Botticelli – The Birth

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Jan van Eyck – Arnolfini Portrait is away from Northern Renaissance and it is 
describing about the authoritative view and a double portraits. Northern Renaissance subject matter are usually landscape, genre scene and its main focus is on naturalism. Northern Renaissance movement might be described as the very singular result of a blending of Late Gothic art and combined new ideas about observation, and reformation ideology. Northern Renaissance saw their God in every aspect of the world so they like to depict an exacting naturalism that verged on the spiritual. Jan van Eyck likes to hide the meaning or symbolism through visible objects throughout his painting. By using materials with symbolic meaning, he is able to hint at the symbolism within the painting without outright saying what he wants to illustrate. On the other hand Italian Renaissance is more focused on humanism. (Schafer, M13)
Humanism essentially means their focus is primarily on human subjects instead of idealistic images of God.  Basically Renaissance means “rebirth”and Italian Renaissance is a rebirth of interest in ancient Greece and Rome. People had a renewed interest towards Greek and Roman mythology as well as the nudity in the mythology. The differences between the Northern and Italian is Italian Renaissance were more secular and depict anatomy, attention to human detail. Sandro Botticelli – The Birth of Venus is describing the birth of Venus. Venus is the goddess of love, and the inspiration for her was taken from the writings of ancient poet, Homer. Venus is depicted in the center and it is set apart from the genre scene.(Schafer, M14) The interesting point about Jan van Eyck is the medium in which he used. Jean van Eyck invented the oil painting technique and Arnolfini Portrait is painted by oil painting on wood. The oil painting technique is more realistic and shows brilliant color, creating a more realistic scene. Oils makes the pigments translucent and it allows application of colors to be in thinner layers, or glazed. Oil paints is a very flexible medium, in that the application can be both thin or thick, allowing the details to become more clear. Which is how Arnolfini Portraits cloths are showing rich reds and green, which were hard to produce in that time period. The objects are also very detailed and it looks very realistic. (4.) On the other hand, The Birth of Venus is a work of tempera on canvas. Tempera is an technique of painting with pigment that uses egg yolk or egg white diluted in water. It make the paint more lyrical and softer. This is how The Birth of Venus got its soft colors and smooth transitions. 
Arnolfini Portrait is a painting that depicts double portraits. When taking a closer look at the main points of the painting, they all have their own symbolic meaning, creating a narrative throughout the painting. Starting from the background of this painting, the bedroom sets the storyline. The moving on to the focal point of the painting, a couple consisting of a man and woman fills the scene.  The man carries a serious and solemn expression while holding on to the woman’s hand, representing the symbol of an oath. The man illustrated in the image is an Italian man, who is a merchant working in the bruges. At this time bruges was a town that was thriving economically in the early 15th century. Through the portrait we can see his wealth, which is depicted throughout the background of the painting through the use of ornamentation. Such as clothing, furnishings, and miscellaneous objects in the house. Arnolfini Portrait indicates, the iconography and symbolism of this painting is almost endless, and highly complicated. First of all, this painting provides very clear drawing that shows of the rank and social status of the subject. The woman’s clothing is a robe and it is trimmed with fur and uses decadent fabric. The mans is also dressed in a velvet cloak with fur. These items of clothing shows that the couple are among the wealthier class of citizens. The dog in between the man and woman also symbolizes the fidelity or loyalty between them. 
Another symbolic in this painting is a mirror. A convex mirror hangs on the wall on the background. In the reflection, the man and woman seems more like greeting visitors. The man wearing the red turban has been identified as painter himself. Above the mirror and below the chandelier, there is an word said “c de Eyck fuit hic” which translates to “Johannes van Eyck was here”. It represents that the artist was present within the time of the painting. This also means that Jan van Eyck was officially the witness to the wedding ceremony. In other words, this painting in a sense focuses on the religious significance of the occasion.(5)
In contrast, The Birth of Venus is more likely idealized. In the middle of the painting, the female figure stands radically naked. The depiction of nude women was not something that was generally done in the Middle Ages, with a few special cases. The Birth of Venus  by Sandro Botticelli was the first nude painting which broke the barriers and rules of painting during that time. Venus is partially standing on a seashell. She has a tilt to her head and she leans in an uncomfortable contrapposto-like position. Renaissance paintings are generally leans towards naturalism or more realistic styles of painting. But Botticelli ignores these sentiments and created his own style of figures, making them more curvy and ideal.(1)
Overall, the Italian Renaissance mainly focuses on classical sources and individual for shows ideological center.  Likewise their subject matter were classically mythological and religious scenes. For the Norther Renaissance, their focus was more on portrait religious scenes and genre scenes. Keeping a focus on the role of an individual but combines the individual with a religious subject matter.

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