Renaissance and Reformation Early Netherlandish Art
by
Bret Rothstein
  • LAST REVIEWED: 04 July 2015
  • LAST MODIFIED: 29 October 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195399301-0225

Introduction

The term “early Netherlandish art” here refers to objects produced, and to a considerable extent consumed, between roughly 1380 and 1520 in the Low Countries, an area that encompasses modern-day Belgium and the Netherlands. This region underwent a number of seismic cultural shifts during the “long 15th century,” including the birth of modern banking, the rise of regional and linguistic identity, the growth of a middle class, and fundamental changes in vernacular religious practice. Part and parcel of these changes was a remarkable efflorescence of visual expression motivated by shifts in economic and political identity and fuelled by the readily available capital, both owned and loaned. The historical result is a visual culture that demonstrates remarkable complexity. Visual piety, for instance, betrays significant evidence of vernacular literacy (propelled by the printing press), its objects requiring responses that are both emotionally charged and thoughtful, at times even erudite. Far from simply a mechanism to extract tears from a credulous populace, religious imagery became an ever more refined and idiosyncratic tool for self-reform. Political expression seems to have become similarly complex, with civic identity becoming ever more important as conflicts between cities and their noble rulers became increasingly common. Thus, while in some ways visual expression represented a continuation of earlier practices, this efflorescence in the visual arts presented opportunities for the enterprising artist to transform how people conceived of art in the first place. It should come as no surprise, then, that artists who commanded high prices and enjoyed a large body of quite competitive patrons—including Jan van Eyck, Hugo van der Goes, the Limbourg brothers, Gerard Loyet, Claus Sluter, and Rogier van der Weyden—were both able and willing to pursue quite striking and, at times, boldly self-conscious sorts of innovation. Indeed, it is hardly surprising that such innovation should occur, given both the expansion of the market for art and the kinds of discernment that governed it.

General Overviews

The majority of scholarship on this subject has tended to favor panel painting (e.g., Snyder 2005), usually to the exclusion of other media. In truth, tapestries, manuscripts, and metalwork outstripped their more familiar counterparts with respect to monetary value and social status. Nonetheless, readers will be hard-pressed to find a proper representation of this outside a few sources, especially Smith 2004 and, to a lesser extent, Harbison 1995 and Nash 2008. Huizinga 1996, Prevenier and Blockmans 1986, and Van Uytven 1998 all provide excellent insight into visual and material culture, though none is an art historical study in the strictest sense of the term.

  • Harbison, Craig. The Mirror of the Artist: Northern Renaissance Art in its Historical Context. New York: Prentice Hall, 1995.

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    An accessible, if brief, social history of how images circulated in 15th- and 16th-century northern Europe, with an accent on the Low Countries and, to a lesser extent, Germany. Organized thematically rather than chronologically or by medium. Published in the UK as The Art of the Northern Renaissance (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1995).

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    • Huizinga, Johan. The Autumn of the Middle Ages. Translated by Rodney J. Payton and Ulrich Mammitzsch. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.

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      Though old (the original dates from 1919), this text still offers astute observations about the Netherlandish life of the senses. This translation has problems, but it provides Huizinga’s text in full. An earlier version, The Waning of the Middle Ages (1924), is less stilted, but it offers only an abridged text.

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      • Nash, Susie. Northern Renaissance Art. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

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        A well-illustrated account of art from the later 14th through mid-16th centuries in northern Europe. Particularly strong on the production and circulation of painting, sculpture, and prints.

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        • Prevenier, Walter, and Wim Blockmans, The Burgundian Netherlands. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1986.

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          Primarily a social history, this book provides invaluable historical background for anyone interested in visual culture of the day. Beautifully illustrated, including a number of images rarely seen elsewhere, and with some attention to the intellectual, political, and religious place of images.

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          • Smith, Jeffrey Chipps. The Northern Renaissance. London: Phaidon, 2004.

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            A rich and subtle account of visual culture in northern Europe more generally. Avoids undue emphasis on painting as well as excessive attention to the Low Countries while still attending nicely to both. Organized in a largely thematic manner; offers an especially sophisticated narrative of the topic.

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            • Snyder, James. Northern Renaissance Art: Painting, Sculpture, the Graphic Arts from 1350 to 1575. Edited by Larry Silver and Henry Luttikhuizen. Rev. ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2005.

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              A broad survey of arts in northern Europe, as befits a textbook. Though the revision marks a significant improvement on the original, this book still emphasizes panel painting, dedicating whole chapters to specific artists, treating manuscript illumination as easel painting in the making, and confining other media to secondary roles.

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              • van Uytven, Raymond. De zinnelijke middeleeuwen. 2d ed. Leuven, Belgium: Davidsfonds, 1998.

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                A social history of sense perception in the medieval and early modern Low Countries. Subdivided by objects of attention, including wine, women, clothing, food, odor, and music.

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                Museum Collection Catalogues

                Most catalogues on early Netherlandish art emphasize specific media. Campbell 1998; Hand and Wolff 1986; Sander 1993; and van Os, et al. 2000 provide excellent accounts of panel painting. For other media, Alexander, et al. 2005; Buck 2001; and Ritsema van Eck 1999 are particularly rich resources. Readers should also consult Rapp Buri and Stucky-Schürer 2001 (cited under Textiles) and van Beuningen, et al. 1993–2001 (cited under Metalwork).

                • Alexander, Jonathan J. G., James H. Marrow, and Lucy Freeman Sandler. The Splendor of the Word: Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts at the New York Public Library. New York: New York Public Library, 2005.

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                  Though it attends to a fraction of the library’s holdings (one hundred manuscripts), this volume provides an excellent point of entry for one of the strongest collections of medieval and Renaissance books in the United States. Includes extensive bibliography.

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                  • Bousmanne, Bernard, Céline van Hoorebeeck, Frédérique Johan, and Tania van Hemelryck. La Librarie des ducs de Bourgogne: Manuscrits conservés à la bibliothèque royale de Belgique. 4 vols. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2000–2009.

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                    The definitive survey of the Royal Library of Belgium’s rich collection of Burgundian manuscripts. The volumes are organized according to genre: Volume 1 covers liturgical and other religious works, Volume 2 didactic texts, Volume 3 literary works, and Volume 4 historical texts.

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                    • Buck, Stephanie. Die niederländischen Zeichnungen des 15. Jahrhunderts im Berliner Kupferstichkabinett: Kritischer Katalog. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2001.

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                      Surveys an immensely important collection of drawings. The introductory essay is clear and concise; the catalogue entries are thorough and measured.

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                      • Campbell, Lorne. The Fifteenth Century Netherlandish Schools. London: National Gallery Publications, 1998.

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                        A treasure trove of information concerning this extraordinary collection, including its history. The catalogue is organized by subject, with religious images contrasted with portraiture and other “profane” subjects.

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                        • Hand, John Oliver, and Martha Wolff. Early Netherlandish Painting. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 1986.

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                          A solid account of one of the strongest collections in North America. Discussions of material condition and provenance are particularly useful.

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                          • Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten. The Flemish Primitives: Catalogue of Early Netherlandish Painting: Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. 6 vols. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 1996–2013.

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                            A well-illustrated survey of paintings held in Belgian collections. Organized by artist rather than collection, these volumes attend most closely to attribution, iconography, and technical analysis.

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                            • Ritsema van Eck, Pieter C. Gebrandschilderde ruitjes uit de Nederlanden, 1480–1560/Painted Glass Roundels from the Netherlands, 1480–1560. Translated by Lysbeth Croiset van Uchelen and Peter Thomson. Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, 1999.

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                              A well-illustrated survey of some of the Rijksmuseum’s finest examples of later 15th- and 16th-century painted glass.

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                              • Sander, Jochen. Niederländische Gemälde im Städel, 1400–1550. Mainz, Germany: Philipp von Zabern, 1993.

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                                Includes essays on the history of the Frankfurt collection and on Johann David Passavant, an early and important curator there. The quite thorough catalogue groups the collection’s contents by artist.

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                                • van Os, Henk, Jan Piet Filedt Kok, Get Luijten, and Frits Scholten. Netherlandish Art in the Rijksmuseum. Vol. 1, 14001600. Zwolle, The Netherlands: Waanders, 2000.

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                                  A thorough account of the museum’s holdings. Readers should supplement this catalogue with more recent entries on the museum’s website, however, as a wealth of additional information has been made available there.

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                                  • Vlaamse Primitieven/Primitifs Flamands series. Brussels: National Center for the Study of the Flemish Primitives, 1957–1981.

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                                    One of the longest-running and most important studies of early Netherlandish painting; subdivided by museum. (The Belgian publisher Brepols has been publishing a continuation of the series since 1981.) Entries emphasize iconography and the material condition of objects, though patronage also receives attention.

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                                    Primary Sources

                                    The subject at hand predates the rise of criticism and theory as discrete practices, so the bulk of documentation prior to the 17th century comes in the form of contracts, inventories, or asides in the letters and diaries of visitors. The most reliable transcriptions of such material generally appear in specialized secondary sources, such as biographical studies and catalogues. Van Mander 1994–1999 is the largest and most valuable local source available, though one penned long after the period in question.

                                    • van Mander, Karel. The Lives of the Illustrious Netherlandish and German Painters, from the First Edition of the Schilder-Boeck, 1603–1604. Edited by Hessel Miedema. 6 vols. Doornspijk, The Netherlands: Davaco, 1994–1999.

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                                      Facsimile with English translation and introduction by Hessel Miedema. The translator’s commentary (Vols. 4–5) is an education in its own right. Readers should also consult Melion 1991 (cited under Historiography and Reception History).

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                                      Historiography and Reception History

                                      The critical fortunes of early Netherlandish art have waxed and waned at least partly because, absent any evidence of an accompanying theoretical apparatus as found elsewhere in Europe at the time, that art has found itself vulnerable to the epithet “primitive.” Unsurprisingly, the earliest systematic discussion of Netherlandish traditions (van Mander 1994–1999, cited under Primary Sources) was motivated at least partly by a desire to demonstrate the sophistication of local pictorial practice. Melion 1991 provides an excellent account of that desire. Sulzberger 1961 and, in more abbreviated form, Deam 1998, Haskell 1993, and Wolfthal 2003 all provide valuable information about the 19th-century revival of interest in early Netherlandish art, particularly painting, and its political and social ramifications. Schade 1996 offers an exhaustive study of the Andachtsbild, or devotional image; Holly 1984 discusses the intellectual foundations of early 20th-century art historical practice as it pertained to Erwin Panofsky, a towering figure in the study of early Netherlandish art.

                                      • Deam, Lisa. “Flemish versus Netherlandish: A Discourse of Nationalism.” Renaissance Quarterly 51.1 (Spring 1998): 1–33.

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                                        Maps discourses of national identity that governed the movement of several important paintings in the later 19th and early 20th centuries. Offers a sensitive account of linguistic and regional identity.

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                                        • Haskell, Francis. History and Its Images: Art and the Interpretation of the Past. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1993.

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                                          Discusses the historical uses of imagery. Includes one very important chapter on the revival of scholarly interest in early Netherlandish painting from the 19th century onward, with particular emphasis on questions of what constituted “medieval” versus “Renaissance.”

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                                          • Holly, Michael Ann. Panofsky and the Foundations of Art History. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1984.

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                                            Though concerned with the roots of art history more generally, this book sheds light on an important proponent of iconology and his relationship to other figures in early 20th-century scholarship. Includes specific attention to Panofsky 1953 (cited under Image and Fact).

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                                            • Melion, Walter S. Shaping the Netherlandish Canon: Karel van Mander’s Schilder-Boeck. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.

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                                              Required reading for the study of early modern Netherlandish visual culture. Attends closely to the ideas that underpinned van Mander’s historical project and, in the process, governed his discussion of earlier artists.

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                                              • Schade, Karl. Andachtsbild: Die Geschichte eines kunsthistorischen Begriffs. Weimar, Germany: Verlag und Datenbank für Geisteswissenschaft, 1996.

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                                                Traces the concept of the “devotional image,” from the 15th century through the later 20th century. The chapter on Panofsky is of particular importance for scholars of early Netherlandish art.

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                                                • Sulzberger, Suzanne. La réhabilitation des primitifs flamands, 18021867. 2 vols. Brussels: Académie Royale de Belgique, 1961.

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                                                  An important early study of 19th-century interest in early Netherlandish painting. Locates the origin of this “rehabilitation” in the work of Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel, who declared work by van Eyck, his contemporaries, and their immediate followers “altdeutsch” (early German).

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                                                  • van Biervliet, Lori. Leven en werk van W. H. James Weale: Een Engels kunsthistoricus in Vlaanderen in de 19de eeuw. Brussels: AWLSK, 1991.

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                                                    A thorough study of Weale, whose published primary sources continue to undergird much of the literature on early Netherlandish painting; also discusses the intellectual network in which he operated.

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                                                    • Wolfthal, Diane. “From Margarethe van Eyck to Agnes van den Bossche: Writing of the Early Netherlandish Female Painters.” In Essays on Women Artists: “The Most Excellent,” Vol. 1. Edited by Liana Cheney, 19–40. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen, 2003.

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                                                      An overview of the literature on women artists in the early modern Low Countries, with particular attention to the methodological questions raised by vanden Bossche.

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                                                      Technical Analysis

                                                      Few fields have been so affected by the practices of technical analysis and restoration as technical analysis. (Few have benefitted so much from them, too.) Consequently, the literature on this topic is quite substantial, and it tends toward specialization, frequently involving case studies larded with specialized terminology. Faries and Spronk 2003 and Spronk 1996 provide excellent entrées for the nonspecialist, as well as extensive bibliography for further investigation.

                                                      • Billinge, Rachel, Lorne Campbell, Jill Dunkerton, et al. “Materials and Methods of Northern European Painting in the National Gallery, 1400–1550.” National Gallery Technical Bulletin 18 (1997): 6–55.

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                                                        An excellent overview of working methods, materials, contemporaneous descriptions of workshops, and the like. Includes valuable discussion of frames, grounds, etc. This volume of the Technical Bulletin deals specifically with northern European art of the 15th and 16th centuries, so readers may also wish to consult the other essays in it.

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                                                        • Faries, Molly, and Ron Spronk, eds. Recent Developments in the Technical Examination of Early Netherlandish Painting: Methodology, Limitations and Perspectives. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Art Museums, 2003.

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                                                          A collection of studies that demonstrate the state of technical examination as a field. The broader, reflective essays by Faries, Spronk, and Ainsworth will likely be of particular utility for scholars new to this topic.

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                                                          • Spronk, Ron. More than Meets the Eye: An Introduction to Technical Examination of Early Netherlandish Paintings at the Fogg Art Museum. Harvard University Art Museums Bulletin 5.1. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Art Museums, 1996.

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                                                            Rigorous, concise, and well-illustrated. Placing the making and conservation of paintings in dialogue, the author provides an excellent introduction to both contemporary lab work and 15th-century painting technique.

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                                                            Media

                                                            Historically, the study of early Netherlandish art has tended to subdivide by medium. Recently, however, this has begun to change, as the field attracts an increasing number of scholars interested in broader issues of intellectual, political, religious, and social history.

                                                            Architecture

                                                            Relatively little scholarship is available in English on architecture, and much of the Francophone and Netherlandish literature takes the form of unpublished theses or articles in specialized journals. Furthermore, the bulk of art historical work pertains to structures from the 17th century onward, while earlier objects tend to receive attention of a more archaeological sort. Still, Lindquist 2008; Prochno 2002; and Bessemans, et al. 1998 provide three good points of entry. Kavaler 2012 (cited under Sculpture) also addresses aspects of architecture. Bouwen door eeuwen heen and Vermeulen 1928–1941 provide the most comprehensive surveys of monuments, while Meischke 1988 addresses aspects of design and production.

                                                            • Bessemans, Lutgarde, Inès Honoré, Maurits Smeyers, Veronique Vandekerchove, and Raymond van Uytven, eds. Leven te Leuven in de late Middeleeuwen: Tentoonstellingcatalogus. Leuven, Belgium: Peters, 1998.

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                                                              Though dedicated to one city in the southern Low Countries, this exhibition catalogue offers a wealth of information and images pertaining to various aspects of 15th-century material culture. Includes three essays on domestic architecture and patterns of behavior.

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                                                              • Bouwen door eeuwen heen: Inventaris van het cultuurbezit in België: Architectuur. Turnhout, Belgium: Ministerie van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap, 1976–.

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                                                                An exhaustive inventory of the architectural heritage of Flanders. Volumes 1a (Brussels), 3a (Antwerp), 4a (Ghent), and 18a and b (Bruges) address the most familiar environs. Includes extensive bibliographical information, as well as basic historical data. Available since 2009 in PDF form from the Flemish Community’s website on architectural heritage.

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                                                                • Lindquist, Sherry C. M. Agency, Visuality and Society at the Chartreuse de Champmol. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2008.

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                                                                  A social and intellectual history of a major Burgundian site. Though the author attends to various media, sculpture and its interaction with architecture remain this book’s strengths. The greater accent on religious practice contrasts usefully with Prochno 2002.

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                                                                  • Meischke, R. De Gothische bouwtraditie: Studies over opdrachtgevers en bouwmeesters in de Nederlanden. Edited by G. W. C. van Wezel. Amersfoort, The Netherlands: Bekking, 1988.

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                                                                    A selection of important essays on Netherlandish architecture from the later Middle Ages through the 16th century. Deals with both technical and stylistic matters.

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                                                                    • Prochno, Renate. Die Kartause von Champmol: Grablege der burgundische Herzöge, 1364–1477. Berlin: Akademie, 2002.

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                                                                      A meticulous study of the political and courtly uses of Champmol. Complements Lindquist 2008.

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                                                                      • van Mosselveld, J. H., ed. Keldermans: Een architectonisch netwerk in de Nederlanden. The Hague: Staatsuitgeverij, 1987.

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                                                                        A set of essays about a Brabantine family of architects, sculptors, and glazers active in the 15th and early 16th centuries.

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                                                                        • Vermeulen, Frans André Jozef. Handboek tot de geschiedenis der Nederlandsche bouwkunst. 3 vols. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1928–1941.

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                                                                          Though old, this remains an important starting point for the study of Netherlandish architecture up to the end of the 15th century. Vol. 1, Voorgeschiedenis en Middeleeuwen (Parts 1 and 2) is particularly useful. The author groups buildings by function (liturgical structures, town halls, domestic structures, etc.).

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                                                                          Drawing

                                                                          The bulk of scholarship on drawing necessarily pertains to preparatory work for panel paintings, whether in the form of underdrawing or, less commonly, preparatory work or copies. Consequently, technical analysis and workshop practice have loomed large. Ainsworth 1989 provides a fine historiography.

                                                                          • Ainsworth, Maryan Wynn. “Northern Renaissance Drawings and Underdrawings: A Proposed Method of Study.” Master Drawings 27.1 (Spring 1989): 5–38.

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                                                                            Addresses both 15th- and 16th-century artifacts. Combines an overview of the subject with various methodological reflections.

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                                                                            • Koreny, Fritz, ed. Early Netherlandish Drawings from Jan van Eyck to Hieronymus Bosch. Antwerp: Rubenshuis, 2002.

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                                                                              A good introduction to the place of drawing, conceived broadly, in the 15th-century Low Countries. Offers a particularly measured discussion of two thorny topics, attribution and date.

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                                                                              • Koreny, Fritz, ed. Special Issue, Early Netherlandish Drawings. Master Drawings 41.3 (Autumn 2003).

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                                                                                The proceedings from a symposium that accompanied a 2002 exhibition at the Rubenshuis in Antwerp. Particularly revealing with respect to artists’ working methods and the transmission of pictorial models.

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                                                                                Furniture

                                                                                There is rather little information to be had on this topic as such. Most treatments occur within the context of broader social or cultural history—such as one finds in Bessemans, et al. 1998 (cited under Architecture)—rather than art history per se. Needless to say, it is an area ripe for further study. Though similarly broad in its emphasis—surveying, in essence, technologies of daily life—Thuis in de late middeleeuwen (de Jong 1980) provides readers with a wealth of objects as well as a basic introduction to the topic of domestic life in the 15th and early 16th centuries.

                                                                                • de Jong, J. W. M. Thuis in de late middeleeuwen: Het Nederlands burgerinterieur 1400–1535; Tentoonstelling in het Provinciaal Overijssels Museum van 5 oktober tot 31 december 1980. Zwolle, The Netherlands: Waanders, 1980.

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                                                                                  This exhibition catalogue offers a wealth of objects from daily life in the 15th-century Low Countries. An introductory essay deals with domestic architecture and its uses. The catalogue has been organized by function, with sections on furniture, toiletries, etc.

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                                                                                  Manuscripts, Illumination, and Early Printed Books

                                                                                  Unlike many other media, early books have enjoyed considerable scholarly attention. Much of the work deals with attribution or with establishing original context. See, for instance, Delaissé 1968, Meiss 1967–1968. Some studies, such as those in Wieck 2001, also have dealt with aspects of religious use. Others, such as Defoer, et al. 1990; Morrison and Kren 2006; Smeyers and Cardon 1995; and Vanwijnsberghe 2001, aim to synthesize the two approaches. Increasingly, scholars are also turning their attention to other aspects of the social and intellectual life of books. Rudy 2010 and Marrow 2005 exemplify two approaches to the topic.

                                                                                  • Defoer, Henri L. M., Anne S. Korteweg, and Wilhelmina C. M. Wüstefeld. The Golden Age of Dutch Manuscript Painting. New York: George Braziller, 1990.

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                                                                                    An exhibition catalogue. Includes an excellent overview essay as well as bibliography. The catalogue is organized by period and region.

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                                                                                    • Delaissé, L. M. J. A Century of Dutch Manuscript Illumination. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968.

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                                                                                      An important early study of books produced outside the Francophone courtly milieu of the Valois dynasty. The author attempts to identify traits particular to Dutch manuscript ornamentation, which he then ambitiously links to various local linguistic, political, religious, and social circumstances.

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                                                                                      • Kren, Thomas, and Scot McKendrick, eds. Illuminating the Renaissance: The Triumph of Flemish Manuscript Painting in Europe. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2003.

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                                                                                        The catalogue from a stunning 2003 exhibition. Includes several essays on workshop practice and on exchange between illumination and panel painting, as well as an excellent bibliography.

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                                                                                        • Marrow, James H. Pictorial Invention in the Netherlandish Manuscript Illumination of the Late Middle Ages: The Play of Illusion and Meaning. Edited by Brigitte Dekeyzer and Jan van der Stock. Paris: Peeters, 2005.

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                                                                                          Though brief, this text offers an important survey of reflexivity and its uses in early Netherlandish manuscripts. Of particular importance is the author’s attention to strategies that range beyond the purely pictorial (e.g., playing with format or materials).

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                                                                                          • Meiss, Millard. French Painting in the Time of Jean de Berry. Vols. 1–2. London: Phaidon, 1967–1968.

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                                                                                            Despite its title, this cluster of volumes deals almost exclusively with manuscript illumination, with the first volume dedicated to ducal commissions and the second to the so-called Boucicaut Master. (A third volume, published by George Braziller in 1974, addresses the Limbourg brothers.) Though the author tends to treat illuminations as small panel paintings and to ascribe French origins to virtually all objects of aesthetic merit, these studies nonetheless offer important observations about style and iconography.

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                                                                                            • Morrison, Elizabeth, and Thomas Kren, eds. Flemish Manuscript Painting in Context: Recent Research. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2006.

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                                                                                              A collection of essays produced to accompany the exhibition Illuminating the Renaissance. The essays by James Marrow and J. J. G. Alexander on the history and state of manuscript studies are especially valuable.

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                                                                                              • Rudy, Kathryn M. “Dirty Books: Quantifying Patterns of Use in Medieval Manuscripts Using a Densitometer.” Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art 2.1 (Summer 2010): 1–26.

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                                                                                                A beautiful example of how to combine technical analysis with aspects of social history. The author maps the highly selective and often idiosyncratic use 15th-century readers made of their religious manuscripts.

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                                                                                                • Smeyers, Maurits, and Bert Cardon, eds. Flanders in a European Perspective: Manuscript Illumination around 1400 in Flanders and Abroad; Proceedings of the International Colloquium, Leuven, 7–10 September 1993. Leuven, Belgium: Peeters, 1995.

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                                                                                                  Various essays on manuscripts in the early 15th-century Low Countries. Both the organization of the volume and several of the papers treat book production as an adjunct to panel painting. Nonetheless, this volume provides important information on topics ranging from workshop practice to the social and political implications of books.

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                                                                                                  • Vanwijnsberghe, Dominique. “De Fin or et d’azur”: Les commanditaires de livres et le métier de l’enluminure à Tournai à la fin du Moyan Âge (XIVe–XVe siècles). Leuven, Belgium: Peeters, 2001.

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                                                                                                    A meticulous study of the market for manuscript illumination in later 14th- and early 15th-century Tournai. The author uses extensive archival research and painstaking codicological sleuthing to trace the commissioning, execution, and subsequent circulation of decorated books. A second volume, “Moult bons et notables”: L’enluminure tournaisienne à l’époque de Robert Campin, 1380–1430 (Leuven, Belgium: Peeters, 2007), treats of the stylistic relationship between manuscript illumination and panel painting.

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                                                                                                    • Wieck, Roger S. Time Sanctified: The Book of Hours in Medieval Art and Life. 2d ed. New York: George Braziller, 2001.

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                                                                                                      An excellent introduction to the structure and ornamentation of the hours, including Netherlandish examples, drawing on objects from American collections. Includes three historical essays.

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                                                                                                      Metalwork

                                                                                                      Metalwork, the most esteemed of arts in the 15th-century Netherlands remains one of the least discussed in modern scholarship. The best introduction remains Collon-Gevaert 1951, though van der Velden 2000 provides a good overview of metalwork as part of its larger analysis. Van Beuningen, et al.1993–2001 and Willemsen 1998 examine the most broadly available, and therefore arguably most important, objects: inexpensive, mundane items. Deuchler 1963 addresses the other end of the spectrum, treating the loot left after the defeat of Charles the Bold by the Swiss in 1477.

                                                                                                      • Collon-Gevaert, Suzanne. Histoire des arts du métal en Belgique. Brussels: Palais des Académies, 1951.

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                                                                                                        A broad overview of metalwork in the southern Low Countries that includes discussion of 15th-century practice and surviving monuments.

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                                                                                                        • Deuchler, Florens. Die Burgunderbeute: Inventar der Beutestücke aus den Schlachten von Grandson, Murten und Nancy, 1476/1477. Bern: Stämpfli, 1963.

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                                                                                                          A painstaking study of the spoils from the defeat of Charles the Bold at Nancy. Includes discussion of metalwork as a component of those spoils.

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                                                                                                          • van Beuningen, H. J. E., A. M. Koldeweij, and Dory Kicken. Heilig en profaan. 3 vols. Cothen: Stichting Middeleeuwse Religieuze en Profane Insignes, 1993–2001.

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                                                                                                            Volume 1 (1993) offers a catalogue of over one thousand badges from the collection of H. J. E. van Beuningen. Volume 2 (2001) provides an additional 1,200 or so from other collections. The images alone are worth the price of admission. Volume 3 (1994) is a collection of essays dealing with the social and cultural context of these remarkable objects.

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                                                                                                            • van der Velden, Hugo. The Donor’s Image: Gerard Loyet and the Votive Portraits of Charles the Bold. Translated by Beverley Jackson. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2000.

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                                                                                                              Though primarily a study of votive imagery, this book provides important information concerning the activities and social status of metalsmiths. Also offers stimulating observations about the social and intellectual significance of materials.

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                                                                                                              • Willemsen, Annemarieke. Kinder delijt: Middeleeuws speelgoed in de Nederlanden. Nijmegen, The Netherlands: Nijmegen University Press, 1998.

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                                                                                                                An important survey of toys produced and consumed in the Low Countries, as well as depictions of those toys in contemporaneous imagery. Though largely taxonomical, the text offers some observations regarding the uses of cheap objects (e.g., tin toys).

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                                                                                                                Painting

                                                                                                                As befits a subject characterized by remarkable stylistic and technological change, the literature on this topic is vast and methodologically diverse, encompassing archival research, attribution, technical analysis and conservation, iconography, and social and intellectual history. Ridderbos, et al. 2005 provides a good overview of this diversity. Concerning style and technique, see Châtelet 1981; Hand and Spronk 2006 includes extensive discussions of technique and technique, along with some discussions of iconography and, to a lesser extent, social history. Wolfthal 1989 combines meticulous archival and museum work with aspects of social history. On the intellectual and social ramifications of the painted image, see Belting and Kruse 1994, Martens 1998, Jacobs 2011, Rothstein 2005, Sander 1995, and Wilson 1998. Panofsky 1953 (cited under Image and Fact) remains an essential source on the topic, too. Studies pertaining more or less directly to naturalism and its relationship to symbolism have been given their own section (see Image and Fact), largely because such matters seem to be of much greater importance to contemporary art historians than they were to 15th-century painters and viewers.

                                                                                                                • Belting, Hans, and Christiane Kruse. Die Erfindung des Gemäldes: Das erste Jahrhundert der niederländischen Malerei. Munich: Hirmer, 1994.

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                                                                                                                  An ambitious study of how painting responded to the social and intellectual pressures brought to bear on it in the 15th century. Proposes a complex origin for what we now term the aesthetic interest of such imagery.

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                                                                                                                  • Châtelet, Albert. Early Dutch Painting: Painting in the Northern Netherlands in the Fifteenth Century. Translated by Christopher Brown and Anthony Turner. Oxford: Phaidon, 1981.

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                                                                                                                    The author’s approach is traditional, emphasizing individual artists, attributions, and the like. However, the text sheds welcome light on artists from less familiar artistic centers, including Delft, Leiden, Gouda, and Utrecht.

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                                                                                                                    • Hand, John Oliver, and Ron Spronk, eds. Essays in Context: Unfolding the Netherlandish Diptych. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Art Museums, 2006.

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                                                                                                                      A collection of essays meant to accompany a 2006 exhibition and catalogue titled Prayers and Portraits. Offers a range of approaches, from technical analysis to social and intellectual history.

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                                                                                                                      • Jacobs, Lynn F. Opening Doors: The Early Netherlandish Triptych Reinterpreted. State College: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2011.

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                                                                                                                        The new standard reference for work on this particular format. Especially engaging with respect to discussions of how physical format guided, and was at times guided by, interpretation. Includes extensive bibliography.

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                                                                                                                        • Martens, Maximiliaan P. J., ed. Bruges and the Renaissance: Memling to Pourbus. Bruges, Belgium: Stichting Kunstboek, 1998.

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                                                                                                                          An exhibition catalogue. Includes objects from, and essays pertaining to, an important but frequently overlooked period in the history of Bruges.

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                                                                                                                          • Ridderbos, Bernhard, Anne van Buren and Henk van Veen, eds. Early Netherlandish Paintings: Rediscovery, Reception and Research. Translated by Andrew McCormick and Anne van Buren. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2005.

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                                                                                                                            An important overview of several methods native to the study of early Netherlandish art. Archival work, iconographical studies, patronage, and technical analysis figure most prominently; historiography also receives attention.

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                                                                                                                            • Rothstein, Bret L. Sight and Spirituality in Early Netherlandish Painting. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

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                                                                                                                              A study of the relationship between religious function and artistic self-awareness before the advent of verbal art theory.

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                                                                                                                              • Sander, Jochen “Die Entdeckung der Kunst”: Niederländische Kunst des 15. und 16. Jahrhunderts in Frankfurt. Mainz, Germany: Philipp von Zabern, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                This exhibition catalogue includes a series of important essays on 15th- and 16th-century Netherlandish art, with an emphasis on the Frankfurt collection. Subjects include pictorial genres (e.g., Marian imagery), interactions between sculpture and painting, and aspects of artistic self-awareness in the 15th century.

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                                                                                                                                • Wilson, Jean C. Painting in Bruges at the Close of the Middle Ages: Studies in Society and Visual Culture. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                  Examines the circulation of pictures in one of the most important economic and artistic centers of the early modern Low Countries. Strongest on the relationship between imagery and social mobility.

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                                                                                                                                  • Wolfthal, Diane. The Beginnings of Netherlandish Canvas Painting, 1400–1530. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

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                                                                                                                                    Painstakingly examines the history of a crucial medium that, due to low survival rates, has generally been overlooked. Also proposes links between the relatively low cost of painted textiles and specific potential audiences.

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                                                                                                                                    Prints

                                                                                                                                    Geographical boundaries mean relatively little where the circulation of the exactly repeatable pictorial statement is involved. Hence, many of the studies here engage European visual culture more generally; examples of this include Areford 2010, Landau and Parshall 1994, Lehrs 1969, Parshall and Schoch 2005, Parshall 2009, Strauss 1978–, and Hollstein 1949–2010. Nonetheless, some localized studies have begun to appear, van der Stock 1998 foremost among them. Grössinger 2002 is also worth consulting.

                                                                                                                                    • Areford, David S. The Viewer and the Printed Image in Late Medieval Europe. Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                      Though broad in geographical scope, this study provides an especially incisive account of how people adopted, and frequently also adapted, prints. The author’s attention to contemporaneous function, rather than modern aestheticism, is also salutary.

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                                                                                                                                      • Grössinger, Christa. Humour and Folly in Secular and Profane Prints of Northern Europe, 1430–1540. London: Harvey Miller, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                        A survey of early modern witty images. The author groups objects largely by subject matter and treats them in a primarily descriptive manner.

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                                                                                                                                        • Hollstein, F. W. H. Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts, ca. 1450–1700. 72 vols. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sound & Vision, 1949–2010.

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                                                                                                                                          Initiated by Friedrich Wilhelm Hollstein (1888–1957), these catalogues, plus a parallel set (the New Hollstein series), offer a comprehensive survey of printed imagery from the early modern Low Countries. Though weighted toward the 16th and 17th centuries, these volumes still offer much for the scholar of early Netherlandish art.

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                                                                                                                                          • Landau, David, and Peter Parshall. The Renaissance Print, 1470–1550. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1994.

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                                                                                                                                            An important overview of the mechanically reproduced image in early modern Europe more generally. The sections by Parshall deal in detail with key aspects of northern European print culture, including production, marketing, acquisition, and (later) display.

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                                                                                                                                            • Lehrs, Max. Late Gothic Engravings of Germany and the Netherlands: 682 Copperplates from the “Kritischer Katalog”; With a New Essay “Early Engraving in Germany and the Netherlands.” New York: Dover, 1969.

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                                                                                                                                              An invaluable pictorial resource, combining as it does the images from Max Lehrs’s pioneering 1908–1934 study. Includes an engaging essay by A. Hyatt Mayor.

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                                                                                                                                              • Parshall, Peter W., ed. The Woodcut in Fifteenth-Century Europe. Studies in the History of Art 75. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                A collection of essays initially presented in a colloquium meant to accompany the 2005 exhibition Origins of European Printmaking. The authors address a range of topics, from religious function to material context. German topics and objects figure most prominently, but Netherlandish visual culture does receive attention.

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                                                                                                                                                • Parshall, Peter W., and Rainer Schoch, eds. Origins of European Printmaking: Fifteenth-Century Woodcuts and Their Public. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                  The catalogue from a 2005 exhibition. Beautifully illustrated and with three important studies of the later medieval and Renaissance woodcut as well as its subsequent reception. The essay by Peter Schmidt on the expense, function, and relative status of woodcuts is particularly valuable.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Strauss, Walter. L., ed. The Illustrated Bartsch. New York: Abaris, 1978–.

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                                                                                                                                                    As the title suggests, an illustrated—but also an updated—rendition of the catalogue generated by Adam von Bartsch (1757–1821). A valuable resource, though far broader in scope than the Hollstein catalogues (Hollstein 1949–2010). The images are available via Artstor, which requires a subscription.

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                                                                                                                                                    • van der Stock, Jan. Printing Images in Antwerp: The Introduction of Printmaking in a City: Fifteenth Century to 1585. Translated by Beverley Jackson. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sound & Vision Interactive, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                      By narrowing the geographical scope of his inquiry, the author has accounted for the extraordinary richness of print culture in a thriving urban center. Though the emphasis is on images, print culture more generally does come into play, resulting in an unusually sophisticated account of the topic.

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                                                                                                                                                      Sculpture

                                                                                                                                                      Long dominated by stylistic and technical study (e.g., Steyaert 1994), sculpture has increasingly been the subject of religious and intellectual history. This shift is exemplified in Jacobs 1998, Kavaler 2012, and Timmermann 2009. Jugie 2010 moves in that direction to some extent as well. Joubert and Sandron 1999 and van de Velde, et al. 2005 attend most closely to patronage and the art market; Preising and Rief 2013 combine that with attention to the religious function of objects.

                                                                                                                                                      • Jacobs, Lynn F. Early Netherlandish Carved Altarpieces, 1380–1550: Medieval Tastes and Mass Marketing. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                        A sensitive discussion of the medium as inflected by religious, social, and economic forces. Builds on archival sources as well as incisive visual analysis.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Joubert, Fabienne, and Dany Sandron, eds. Pierre, lumière, couleur: Études d’histoire de l’art du Moyen Âge en l’honneur d’Anne Prache. Paris: Presses de l’Université de Paris-Sorbonne, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                          This collection addresses a broad array of topics. Essays on workshop practice and Valois patronage, among others, will be especially useful for scholars of early Netherlandish art.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Jugie, Sophie. The Mourners: Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                            An exhibition catalogue emphasizing the genre of pleurants, or mourning figures arrayed about the bases of Burgundian ducal tombs, rather than individual monuments. Includes a brief essay on historical and architectural context, as well as a discussion of the history and restoration of the objects themselves.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Kavaler, Ethan Matt. Renaissance Gothic: Architecture and the Arts in Northern Europe, 1470–1540. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                                              Though broad in its geographical scope, this book amply demonstrates the intellectual, religious, and artisanal sophistication of late Gothic architectural ornament.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Preising, Dagmar, and Michael Rief, eds. Mittelalterliche Bildwerk aus Utrecht, 1430–1530. Zurich, Switzerland: Belser, 2013.

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                                                                                                                                                                The catalogue for an exhibition of sculpture produced in Utrecht before iconoclasm. Includes essays on workshop organization and technique, as well as on Utrecht itself in the later 15th and early 16th centuries.

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                                                                                                                                                                • Steyaert, John W. Late Gothic Sculpture: The Burgundian Netherlands. Ghent, Belgium: Ludion, 1994.

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                                                                                                                                                                  The catalogue from a 1994 show in Antwerp. Includes extensive discussions of stylistic development and technical analysis. An essay by Wim Blockmans helps frame art and its makers as part of a larger cultural context.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Timmermann, Achim. Real Presence: Sacrament Houses and the Body of Christ, c. 1270–1600. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                                    A sophisticated account of how these important objects articulated the presence of the divine. Attends primarily to German monuments, but also addresses Netherlandish material.

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                                                                                                                                                                    • van de Velde, Carl, Hans Beeckman, Joris van Acker, and Frans Verhaeghe. Constructing Wooden Images: Proceedings of the Symposium on the Organization of Labour and Working Practices of Late Gothic Carved Altarpieces in the Low Countries, Brussels, 25–26 October 2002. Brussels: Brussels University Press, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                                      A collection of essays dealing, as the subtitle suggests, mainly with resources, workshop practices, and aspects of the early Netherlandish art market.

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                                                                                                                                                                      Stained Glass

                                                                                                                                                                      As was the case elsewhere in Europe, early Netherlandish churches and cathedrals were frequently resplendent with stained glass. The Reformation saw the destruction of much of this material, especially in the northern provinces. Fortunately, a fair amount survived the iconoclasm and has become the subject of art historical study. Caen 2009, Helbig 1961, and van Ruyven-Zeman 2011 all attend closely to materials, methods, and the condition of surviving objects and, in some cases, iconography. Husband 1995 is perhaps the best point of entry but is rich enough to sustain the more advanced reader. Damen 2005 provides a wealth of contextual information, though with little attention to questions of visual culture.

                                                                                                                                                                      • Caen, Joost M. A. The Production of Stained Glass in the County of Flanders and the Duchy of Brabant from the XVth to the XVIIIth Centuries: Materials and Techniques. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                                        A thorough study of objects, materials, and modes of production. Includes valuable information on workshop practices and the market.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Damen, M. J. M. “Vorstelijk vensters: Glasraamschenkingen als instrument van devoties, memorie en representaties (1419–1519).” Jaarboek voor Middeleeuwse Geschiedenis 8 (2005): 140–200.

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                                                                                                                                                                          An exercise primarily in political history, this essay builds on archival data concerning expenditures for donations of stained glass through the end of the 15th century. The author discusses both the anticipated religious benefits of such donations as well as the more immediate political gains to be had.’

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Helbig, Jean. Les vitraux médiévaux conservés en Belgique, 1200–1500. Corpus vitrearum medii aevi, Belgique 1. Brussels: Weissenbruch, 1961.

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                                                                                                                                                                            A census of extant stained glass from before 1500 in the southern Low Countries. Entries are thorough, describing each object in detail and discussing its conservation, iconographical sources, date, and style.

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                                                                                                                                                                            • Husband, Timothy B. The Luminous Image: Painted Glass Roundels in the Lowlands, 1480–1560. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                                              An excellent survey of the topic. Includes invaluable information on design, technique, and iconography.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • van Ruyven-Zeman, Zsuzsanna. Stained Glass in the Netherlands before 1795. Corpus Vitrearum: The Netherlands 4. 2 vols. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2011.

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                                                                                                                                                                                A comprehensive inventory of ornamentation in liturgical and public structures. Volume 1 emphasizes the northern Netherlands, Volume 2 the south. Each is organized by province. The entries are meticulous, taking care also to address the history of each building under consideration.

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                                                                                                                                                                                Textiles

                                                                                                                                                                                Relatively little has been published on the subject of early Netherlandish costume. Van Buren 2011 represents the most ambitious attempt to rectify this situation, insofar as it addresses both extant items and the treatment of dress in imagery from the later 14th and 15th centuries. Concerning tapestry, Rapp Buri and Stucky-Schürer 2001 and Weigert 2010 provide the subtlest and most sophisticated accounts of the topic. Campbell 2002 is an excellent introductory resource, while Rudy and Baert 2007 offers some of the richest and most intellectually ambitious analysis to date.

                                                                                                                                                                                • Campbell, Thomas P. Tapestry in the Renaissance: Art and Magnificence. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  Though broad in its emphasis, this massive volume addresses the 15th-century Low Countries in some detail. The discussion of markets, patronage, and production is especially strong.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  • Rapp Buri, Anna, and Monica Stucky-Schürer. Burgundische Tapisserien. Munich: Hirmer, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    A beautifully illustrated survey of tapestries from the Burgundian Low Countries. Organized by monument, with particular attention to commission, original context, and iconography. This volume also addresses the relationship of textiles to other media, including metalwork, painting, and texts.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    • Rudy, Kathryn, and Barbara Baert. Weaving, Veiling, and Dressing: Textiles and Their Metaphors in the Late Middle Ages. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      Although this collection of essays pertains to European visual culture more generally, there is a marked accent on the Low Countries. Especially strong with respect to the intellectual and spiritual ramifications of textiles.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      • van Buren, Anne H. Illuminating Fashion: Dress in the Art of Medieval France and the Netherlands, 1325–1515. New York: Morgan Library & Museum, 2011.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        An invaluable resource concerning both styles and uses of clothing in French and Netherlandish visual cultures of the later 14th through 16th centuries. Includes an excellent introductory essay.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • Weigert, Laura. “‘Theatricality’ in Tapestry and its Afterlife in Painting.” Art History 33 (2010): 224–235.

                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8365.2010.00739.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                          A sensitive account of how various 15th-century tapestries, including several from the southern Low Countries, structure visual experience. The author makes a strong case for how objects and contemporaneous dramatic practices might have related to one another.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          Theater and Public Spectacle

                                                                                                                                                                                          The literature on theater, rhetorical performance, and other sorts of public spectacle is substantial. Rather than try to encompass these topics in their own right, it is perhaps more prudent simply to list a few more recent sources on the subject that in various ways address the intersection between these topics and other aspects of visual expression, such as painting, prints, sculpture, and tapestries (van Dijk and Ramakers 2001 and Smith 1990).

                                                                                                                                                                                          • Smith, Jeffrey Chipps. “Venit nobis pacificus Dominus: Philip the Good’s Triumphal Entry into Ghent in 1458.” In “All the World’s a Stage—”: Art and Pageantry in the Renaissance and Baroque. Edited by Barbara Wisch and Susan Scott Munshower, 258–290. University Park: Dept. of Art History, the Pennsylvania State University, 1990.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            Discusses the relationship between processional imagery and early Netherlandish painting, with particular attention to the Gentenaars’ landmark (and failed) effort to regain ducal favor in the wake of a disastrous 1453 rebellion. Includes a discussion of the relationship between tableaux vivants and painting.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • van Dijk, Hans, and Bart Ramakers, eds. Spel en spektakel: Middeleeuws toneel in de Lage Landen. Amsterdam: Prometheus, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              A collection of essays covering various topics, from print and text transmission to the theatricality of liturgical performance. The introductory essay is particularly useful for a general reader, and the bibliography is excellent.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              Markets for Art

                                                                                                                                                                                              Insofar as extant sources speak to a culture too busy making objects to pontificate about them verbally, studies of the market speak most explicitly to the value and circulation of objects, as well as to the social and economic status of their buyers. Campbell 1976 provides a concise overview of commissions, while Ewing 1990 and Wilson 1983 shed important light on the sale of work made “on spec.” Martens 1992 and Smith 1979 are models of in-depth, highly localized study and remain standard works on patronage. Prak, et al. 2006 provides a broad view of the social and economic life of guilds in the Netherlands, while North and Ormrod 1998 takes a view that is both geographically and temporally more expansive. Van Uytven 1992 surveys arguments about the economic motives that fueled the art market and offers an important hypothesis about art as social capital.

                                                                                                                                                                                              • Campbell, Lorne. “The Art Market in the Southern Netherlands in the Fifteenth Century.” Burlington Magazine 118.877 (April 1976): 188–198.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                Though brief, this essay remains one of the best starting points for any study of the early Netherlandish art market. Includes extensive documentary sources as well as incisive observations about patronage outside the courts.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                • Ewing, Dan. “Marketing Art in Antwerp, 1460–1560: Our Lady’s Pand.” Art Bulletin 72.4 (1990): 558–584.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.2307/3045762Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                  An introduction to a large and important art market. Working from extensive archival sources, the author not only maps the contours of the Pand itself but also charts that institution’s declining fortunes as a result of changes to both the economy and the art market in the southern Low Countries.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Martens, Maximiliaan P. J. “Artistic Patronage in Bruges Institutions, ca. 1440–1482.” PhD diss., University of California, Santa Barbara, 1992.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    Based in extensive archival research. Though quite localized, this remains a model for the study of patronage in the Low Countries. Attention to civic structures also allows it to provide an interesting counterpart to Smith 1979.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    • North, Michael, and David Ormrod, eds. Art Markets in Europe, 1400–1800. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      A series of essays on early modern art markets. The essays by Wim Blockmans and Maximiliaan Martens—on manuscript acquisition and on the Bruges art market, respectively—will be most useful.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Prak, Maarten, Catharina Lis, Jan Lucassen, and Hugo Soly, eds. Craft Guilds in the Early Modern Low Countries: Work, Power and Representation. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        A group of essays concerning craft guilds in the Netherlands. Especially strong with respect to economic and social history. Includes extensive bibliography.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Smith, Jeffrey Chipps. “The Artistic Patronage of Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, 1419–1467.” PhD diss., Columbia University, 1979.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          A thorough and insightful study of ducal patronage. Contrasts usefully with the findings of Martens 1992.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          • van Uytven, Raymond. “Splendour or Wealth: Art and Economy in the Burgundian Netherlands.” Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society 10 (1992): 101–124.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            An incisive study of the gross conspicuous consumption that drove the art market of the 15th-century Low Countries. Includes earlier bibliography on this disputed topic.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Wilson, J. C. “The Participation of Painters in the Bruges ‘Pandt’ Market.” Burlington Magazine 125.965 (August 1983): 476–479.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              A brief but informative overview of the Bruges Pand. As Ewing 1990 does for Antwerp, so this study also charts the fortunes of its subject over the course of the 15th and early 16th centuries.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              Image and Fact

                                                                                                                                                                                                              The relationship between visual experience and naturalistic depiction has been a long-standing preoccupation among scholars of early Netherlandish painting. At the heart of the matter lie questions about how the putatively documentary functions of pictorial naturalism relate to religious function, especially where symbolism is at issue. With respect to naturalism as a kind of goal, see Panofsky 1934 and Panofsky 1953 and, in its own way, Bedaux 1986. Essays by Reindert Falkenburg and Peter Parshall in Ainsworth 2001 revisit the question in quite useful ways, echoing a number of ideas first articulated in Marrow 1986. Rothstein 2005 (cited under Painting) argues that early Netherlandish naturalism was less a function of the desire to record optical experience than an investigation of epistemological doubt. Schlie 2002 (cited under Visual Piety) ascribes a sacramental function to it. Parshall 1993 is an indispensable study of discourses of image as reportage in early modern northern Europe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Ainsworth, Maryan W., ed. Early Netherlandish Painting at the Crossroads: A Critical Look at Current Methodologies. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                Though dedicated primarily to well-established methods, this volume offers an important survey both of those methods and of the literature on them at the time of publication.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Bedaux, Jan Baptist. “The Reality of Symbols: The Question of Disguised Symbolism in Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait.” Simiolus 16.1 (1986): 5–28.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  An attempt at refuting iconographical approaches to van Eyck’s London double portrait and, by association, early Netherlandish painting more generally. The author is particularly exercised by the notion of “disguised symbolism,” namely, the idea that painting strove to cloak metaphorical content in meticulous, almost documentary naturalism.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Marrow, James H. “Symbol and Meaning in Northern European Art of the Late Middle Ages and the Early Renaissance.” Simiolus 16.2–3 (1986): 150–169.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.2307/3780635Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    An incisive review of Panofskian iconography and its various limitations, especially its tendency to approach verbal sources as determinants of visual form. Argues instead that scholars should approach early Netherlandish (and some German) imagery as highly specific and visual prompts to self-reflection, rather than vehicles for conveying textual information.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Panofsky, Erwin. “Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait.” Burlington Magazine 64.372 (March 1934): 117–119.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      An early and particularly concise formulation of the iconographical approach to early Netherlandish painting, which the author went on to advance in subtler but more ambitious ways in Panofsky 1953 Continues on pp. 122–127.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Panofsky, Erwin. Early Netherlandish Painting: Its Origins and Character. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1953.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        An ambitious study linking stylistic analysis with often subtle iconographical readings. Unsurprisingly, this text now shows its age, particularly in the author’s tendency to treat paintings as repositories for textual information. Nonetheless, this book transformed the study of art from the 15th-century Low Countries, and there is still much of value in it.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Parshall, Peter. “Imago Contrafacta: Images and Facts in the Northern Renaissance.” Art History 16.4 (December 1993): 554–579.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A crisp and lucid survey of ideas about the relationship between image and referent throughout northern Europe. Particularly useful for its approach to the rather slippery nature of that relationship as articulated in the later Middle Ages and Renaissance.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Portraiture

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          While scholars have yet to account fully for the appearance of so new and peculiar a phenomenon as the portrait, there remains much of value in the literature. Van der Velden 2000 (cited under Metalwork) and Dülberg 1990 both address aspects of the portrait’s social and political functions; the latter also addresses some of the genre’s more intriguing interpretive challenges. Bauman 1986 remains the best overview of Netherlandish images in general, while Campbell 1990 and Campbell, et al. 2008 treat the topic within a survey of European portraiture more generally.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Bauman, Guy. Special Issue: Early Flemish Portraits 1425–1525. Art Bulletin 43.4 (Spring 1986).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            An excellent overview of the topic. Emphasizes genres—group portraits, individuals, donor portraits, etc.—and iconographical details, rather than social history.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Campbell, Lorne. Renaissance Portraits: European Portrait Painting in the 14th, 15th, and 16th Centuries. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1990.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A broad survey of European portraiture in the 15th and 16th centuries. Organized by types (single sitters, group portraits, etc.) and formal attributes (clothing, posture, etc.).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Campbell, Lorne, Miguel Falomir, Jennifer Fletcher, and Luke Syson. Renaissance Faces: Van Eyck to Titian. London: National Gallery of Art, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Offers another broad survey of types. Also includes four essays on the cultural and technical aspects of Renaissance portraiture.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Dülberg, Angelica. Privatporträts: Geschichte und Ikonologie einer Gattung im 15. und 16. Jahrhundert. Berlin: Mann, 1990.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A broad, sophisticated discussion of portraiture as a peculiar artistic and cultural phenomenon. The author employs documents, iconography, and physical format to demonstrate that her subject served not merely as static ornament but as almost an active participant in daily life.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Visual Piety

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The profusion of religious imagery in the early modern Low Countries is remarkable enough from the standpoints of theology and economic history. No less important, though, is the way this profusion inflected religious thought and practice itself. Attempts to come to grips with the matter began in earnest with Panofsky 1953 (cited under Image and Fact), though in a manner that tended to treat images as repositories for textual information. Ringbom 1984 and Lane 1984 represent later iconographical work at its best, though the method’s limitations cannot be denied there. More recently, attention has turned toward the image as a dynamic component of religious refinement, though it should be noted that Marrow 1979 is an early foray into this line of inquiry. On this point, see, among others, Rothstein 2005 (cited under Painting), Acres 2013, Falkenburg 1994, Falkenburg 2011, Merback 1999, Schlie 2002, and Veelenturf 2000. Lentes 2004–2011 contains essays employing a range of methods and thus providing quite diverse findings. With respect to how one categorizes a given religious image, see also Schade 1996 (cited under Historiography and Reception History).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Acres, Alfred J. Renaissance Invention and the Haunted Infancy. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2013.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Though it ranges beyond the 15th-century Low Countries, this book is nonetheless important for the study of Netherlandish art. Of particular importance is its attention to the religious utility of allusion and to related matters of figuration within the visual arts.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Falkenburg, Reindert L. The Fruit of Devotion: Mysticism and the Imagery of Love in Flemish Paintings of the Virgin and Child, 1450–1550. Translated by Sammy Herman. Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 1994.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Discusses how early Netherlandish religious paintings appealed to multiple senses, not simply vision. Drawing on extensive primary sources as well as close visual analysis, the author argues that observation of such pictures was designed to activate a panaesthetic experience with distinct metaphorical and anagogical implications.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Falkenburg, Reindert. The Land of Unlikeness: Hieronymus Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights. Zwolle, The Netherlands: W Books, 2011.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Though nominally about a single painting by a single (admittedly important) artist, this book is ultimately about Netherlandish imagery as a form of, and prompt to, argument.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Lane, Barbara G. The Altar and the Altarpiece: Sacramental Themes in Early Netherlandish Painting. New York: Harper & Row, 1984.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          An exhaustive iconographical study. Contrasts interestingly with Schlie 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Lentes, Thomas, ed. Kultbild: Visualität und Religion in der Vormoderne. 4 vols. Berlin: Reimer, 2004–2011.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Collected essays on four important topics: sight and sacral character (Volume 1), the Mass of St. Gregory (Volume 2), cult images in the time of the Reformation (Volume 3), image theory and use (Volume 4). The material in Vols. 1, 2, and 4 address early Netherlandish art most directly.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Marrow, James H. Passion Iconography in Northern European Art of the Late Middle Ages and Early Renaissance: A Study of the Transformation of Sacred Metaphor into Descriptive Narrative. Kortrijk, Belgium: Van Ghemmert, 1979.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A meticulous study of the narratives and component motifs that comprised this crucial pictorial genre. Especially strong on the relationships between verbal and pictorial sources.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Merback, Mitchell B. The Thief, the Cross, and the Wheel: Pain and the Spectacle of Punishment in Medieval and Renaissance Europe. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A sophisticated analysis of pain as cultural currency. Treats suffering as a lens through which societies refracted topics critical to their constitution.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Ringbom, Sixten. Icon to Narrative: The Rise of the Dramatic Close-Up in Fifteenth-Century Devotional Painting. 2d ed. Doornspijk, The Netherlands: Davaco, 1984.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  An important early study of half-length religious subjects. While some of the author’s conclusions have come into question, the text remains an excellent point of entry to the topic. Usefully, the author declines to reinforce artificial geographical distinctions, noting instead a broadly shared set of Continental interests.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Schlie, Heike. Bilder des Corpus Christi: Sakramentaler Realismus von Jan van Eyck bis Hieronymus Bosch. Berlin: Gebr. Mann, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A discussion of the religious utility of pictorial style. Eschewing complex symbolic readings, the author offers an iconology of naturalism. An important counterpart to Lane 1984.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Veelenturf, Kees, ed. Geen povere schoonheid: Laat-middeleeuwse kunst in verband met de Moderne Devotie. Nijmegen, The Netherlands: Valkhof, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A collection of essays on the links between a particularly important religious movement, the Modern Devotion, and various art forms, including architecture, pilgrimage keepsakes, manuscript illumination, music, panel painting, and theater.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Social Position in the City and At Court

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      As Huizinga 1996 (cited under General Overviews) rightly noted, the 15th-century Low Countries were characterized by a muscular and complex life of the senses, from political theater to the plastic arts. What Huizinga did not recognize, however, was that this life was in fact supremely pragmatic and reflective, particularly where people capitalized on it to articulate social and political positions. (Indeed, in his account, the intensity of that life sometimes comes across as almost psychotic.) Fortunately, later scholarship has done much to rectify the situation. Buettner 2001; Damen 2007; Fliegel 2004; Martens 1992; Marti, et al. 2009; and Maurice-Chabard 1999 treat the circulation of objects in courtly milieux. Weigert 2008, by contrast, inverts this, treating of the circulation of courtly life among objects. Stroo 2002 addresses questions of propaganda and broader discourses of power, while Vandenbroeck 1987 sheds important light on class conflict and anxiety. Interest readers should also consult Merback 1999 (cited under Visual Piety). Van der Velden 2000 (cited under Metalwork) discusses the politics of lavish and highly public religious donations, while Willemsen 2008 (also in Willemsen 1998, cited under Metalwork) offers several important observations about the cultural history of childhood.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Buettner, Brigitte. “Past Presents: New Year’s Gifts at the Valois Courts, ca. 1400.” Art Bulletin 83.4 (December 2001): 598–625.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.2307/3177225Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A fascinating study of objects as social currency in the Valois and, to a lesser extent, Burgundian courts. The author’s attention to putatively minor arts (metalwork, tapestry, and the like) is also welcome. Contrasts interestingly with Damen 2007, which is concerned less with objects than with politics.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Damen, Mario. “Gift Exchange at the Court of Charles the Bold.” In In but not of the Market: Movable Goods in the Late Medieval and Early Modern Economy. Edited by Marc Boone and Martha Howell, 81–100. Brussels: Koninklijke Vlaamse Academie van België voor Wetenschappen en Kunsten, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A case study of gift exchange in the Burgundian court ca. 1468. Provides important information about both the relative values accorded various media and the intricate social codes that govern the circulation of objects in this rarefied environment. Complements Buettner 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Fliegel, Stephen N., Sophie Jugie, Virginie Barthélémy, et al. Art from the Court of Burgundy: The Patronage of Philip the Bold and John the Fearless, 1364–1419. Cleveland, OH: Cleveland Museum of Art, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This catalogue for a joint French-American exhibition from 2004–2005 boasts terrific images of a broad array of objects, including manuscripts, tapestries, and metalwork. The essays are generally good, but those on architecture are particularly welcome.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Martens, Maximiliaan P. J. Lodewijk van Gruuthuse: Mecenas en Europees diplomaat, ca. 1427–1492. Bruges, Belgium: Stichting Kunstboek, 1992.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The catalogue for a 1992 exhibition dedicated to one prominent member of the Burgundian Order of the Golden Fleece. Essay topics include a biographical survey, heraldry and other courtly signs, and Gruuthuse’s library.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Marti, Susan, Till-Holger Borchert, and Gabriele Keck, eds. Charles the Bold (1433–1477): Splendour of Burgundy. Brussels: Mercatorfonds, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The beautifully illustrated catalogue from a 2008–2009 exhibition. Several brief but useful essays address the political and social use of objects in a courtly context.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Maurice-Chabard, Brigitte, ed. La splendeur des Rolin: Un mécénat privé à la Cour de Bourgogne. Paris: Picard, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A collection of essays on Nicolas Rolin, who effectively ran the Burgundian court for nearly three decades in the 15th century, and his family. Organized in three main parts: the first pertains to biography and the like, the second to architectural projects, and the third to other arts.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Stroo, Cyriel. De Celebratie van de macht: Presentatieminiaturen en aanverwante voorstellingen in handschriften van Filips de Goede (1419–1467) en Karel de Stoute (1467–1477). Brussels: Paleis der Academiën, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Examines the discourses of political power in manuscripts and their ornamentation at the 15th-century Burgundian court. Heraldic emblems and the like figure at least as prominently as presentation miniatures.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Vandenbroeck, Paul. Beeld van de andere: Vertoog over het zelf; Over wilden en narren, boeren en bedelaars. Antwerp: Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, 1987.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Though oriented largely toward 16th-century material, this is perhaps the most successful of Vandenbroeck’s attempts to trace a history of class conflict in visual culture of the early modern Low Countries. His discussion of disreputable subjects as “negative self-definition” on the part of patrons is especially important.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Weigert, Laura. “Chambres d’Amour: Tapestries of Love and the Texturing of Space.” Oxford Art Journal 31.3 (2008): 317–336.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Discusses the social and intellectual use of tapestries in French and Burgundian courts. Particularly strong concerning recurrent motifs and the ways these framed the viewer’s movement through space and society.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Willemsen, Annemarieke. Back to the Schoolyard: The Daily Practice of Medieval and Renaissance Education. Studies in European Urban History (1100–1800) 15. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Though perhaps more of a historical study than a strictly art historical one, this book nonetheless sheds invaluable light on the material and visual cultures of education. The Low Countries figure especially prominently in the author’s analysis.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Gender

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Though ultimately part and parcel civic and courtly identity, gender has in the early 21st century not only attracted increased attention but also propelled the development of new art historical methodologies. Thus, while relegating it to a dedicated section has questionable implications, it does reflect an important and continuing change in the state of the field. Pearson 2008 provides an excellent overview of the situation. Eichberger 2005 and Pearson 2005 address the use of images to negotiate gender politics in the 15th and early 16th centuries. Wolfthal 1999 and Wolfthal 2010 address broader discourses of sexual difference and gender roles.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Eichberger, Dagmar, ed. Women of Distinction: Margaret of York, Margaret of Austria. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This exhibition catalogue includes several important essays on the visual cultures of gender in the Burgundian court. The bibliography is excellent as well.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Pearson, Andrea G. Envisioning Gender in Burgundian Devotional art, 1350–1530: Experience, Authority, Resistance. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A study of art and its relationship to contested power in the early modern Low Countries. Especially valuable for its move beyond iconography toward the social history of subjects and formats.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Pearson, Andrea. “Introduction: Portraiture’s Selves.” In Women and Portraits in Early Modern Europe: Gender, Agency, Identity. Edited by Andrea Pearson, 1–13. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A clear and concise discussion of the methodological issues raised by the study of gender in early modern European art.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Wolfthal, Diane. Images of Rape: The “Heroic” Tradition and Its Alternatives. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Examines the visual culture of sexual violence in early modern Europe. Combines iconographical work with broader analyses of underlying cultural patterns.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Wolfthal, Diane. In and Out of the Marital Bed: Seeing Sex in Renaissance Europe. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A broad overview of conjugal themes in early modern art; includes important discussions of Netherlandish topics. Organized thematically.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Cultural Exchange

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The vast majority of material on this topic frames it as essentially binary: Italy and its interactions with everything else (generally tagged as “the north”). Some work, such as Alexander-Skipnes 2007; Nuttall 2004; and Schmidt, et al. 1999, tries to render that particular flow of goods and styles more specific; some, such as Belozerskaya 2002, takes a broader Continental view. Bindman, et al. 2010 engages with questions of race as well as religious identity. Borchert 2002 provides some useful information about markets for art north and south of the Alps.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Alexander-Skipnes, Ingrid, ed. Cultural Exchange between the Low Countries and Italy 1400–1600. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Addresses a range of topics. The essays pertaining to the circulation of objects are especially stimulating.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Belozerskaya, Marina. Rethinking the Renaissance: Burgundian Arts across Europe. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Surveys the movement of Burgundian objects throughout Europe. Attends especially closely to tapestries, manuscripts, and the like.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Bindman, David, and Henry Louis Gates Jr., eds. The Image of the Black in Western Art. Vol. 2, Part 1, From the Early Christian Era to the “Age of Discovery.” Rev. ed. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Provides some modest discussion of racial difference in early Netherlandish painting, with particular attention to Burgundian territorial and religious ambitions.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Borchert, Till-Holger. Age of Van Eyck: The Mediterranean World and Early Netherlandish Painting, 1430–1530. London: Thames & Hudson, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Aimed at a general audience, the essays in this companion to a 2002 exhibition survey some of the basic issues at stake in the study of early Netherlandish painting. The comparative study of art markets and an essay on the historiography of a landmark 1902 exhibition are particularly useful.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Nuttall, Paula. From Flanders to Florence: The Impact of Netherlandish Painting, 1400–1500. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A synthetic account of how painters working or trained in Florence responded to transalpine models. Builds on both primary texts and extensive visual analysis.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Schmidt, Victor M., ed. Italy and the Low Countries: Artistic Relations: The Fifteenth Century; Proceedings of the Symposium held at Museum Catharijneconvent, Utrecht, 14 March 1994. Translated by Nicholas Devons, Derick Dreher, and Mark Roberts. Florence: Centro Di, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A collection of short essays, mostly on painting. Some attention to tapestries as well.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Artists

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Smaller studies abound, dealing with artists both prominent and obscure. A few of the more common names appear here. With respect to metalwork, while Gerard Loyet does not receive separate attention here, readers may consult Van der Velden 2000 (cited under Metalwork) for more information.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                André Beauneveu

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Active in the second half of the 14th century, Beauneveu worked primarily for Jean de Berry. He produced both sculpture and manuscript decoration. Nash 2007 provides an excellent overview of this artist and his context.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Nash, Susie. André Beauneveu: “No Equal in Any Land”; Artist to the Courts of France and Flanders. London: Paul Holberton, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A beautifully illustrated exhibition catalogue. Includes several essays that deal with patronage, workshop practice, and the subsequent reception of later 14th-century sculpture in France and the Low Countries.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hieronymus Bosch

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Cursed by the dual traits of colossal importance and extraordinary subtlety, Bosch’s work has become the frequent subject of almost grotesque misinterpretation. (The man himself was a solidly middle class citizen who seems to have entirely lacked any sort of exotic behaviors or philosophies.) Fortunately, there is a great deal of levelheaded work to be found on him and objects associated with him. As does the excellent discussion in Falkenburg 2011 (cited under Visual Piety), so do the sources listed here (Koldeweij, et al. 2001; Marijnissen 1987; Silver 2006; and Vandenbroeck 2002) include extensive bibliography for the interested party.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Koldeweij, Jos, Bernard Vermet, and Barbera van Kooij, eds. Hieronymus Bosch: New Insights into His Life and Work. Ghent, Belgium: Ludion, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A collection of essays that represent more or less the state of the literature at the time of the volume’s publication.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Marijnissen, Roger H. Hieronymus Bosch: The Complete Works. New York: Tabard, 1987.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A peculiar but informative book. The author groups the works in more or less traditional fashion (triptychs, fragments, etc.). He also juxtaposes images with various primary sources, from legal statutes and theatrical plays to proverbs and vernacular religious texts.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Silver, Larry. Hieronymus Bosch. New York: Abbeville, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Not a catalogue raisonné but rather a broad, beautifully illustrated overview of the artist and his times. Especially strong on the circles in which Bosch’s paintings circulated, as well as on the persistence of Bosch’s style and subjects in the 16th century.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Vandenbroeck, Paul. Jheronimus Bosch: De verlossing van de wereld. Ghent, Belgium: Ludion, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A revised version of the author’s earlier monograph on Bosch. Aims to map the contours of class conflict in Bosch’s work. Though Bosch was surely no bleeding heart, some of the author’s arguments are more persuasive than others.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Agnes vanden Bossche

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Active in Ghent in the 1470s and 1480s, vanden Bossche seems to have enjoyed considerable success in the art market. Part of a family of artisans, she specialized in painting on fabric. Wolfthal 1985 is the best starting point for readers interested in this artist, while Baldewijns and Lievois 1996 provides some material for further study.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Baldewijns, Jeanine, and Daniel Lievois. Agnes vanden Bossche: Een zelfbewuste vrouw en een merkwaardige kunstenares uit het 15de-eeuwse Gent. Ghent, Belgium: Bijlokemuseum, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A slim volume presenting some good background information concerning women artists in the Low Countries as well as biographical information concerning vanden Bossche.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Wolfthal, Diane. “Agnes Van Den Bossche: Early Netherlandish Painter.” Woman’s Art Journal 6.1 (April 1985): 8–11.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A brief study of vanden Bossche’s biography and work, of which only one example survives.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The Bouts Family

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Known primarily for its famous patriarch, Dieric Bouts, this Leuven-based family produced a significant number of painters. The second most famous of these is Albrecht, Dieric’s son, who was active well into the 16th century. Henderiks 2011 is the starting point for readers interested in him. Périer-d’Ieteren 2006 and Smeyers and Smeyers 1998 both provide valuable information on the elder Bouts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Henderiks, Valentine. Albrecht Bouts, 1451/55–1549. Brussels: Koninklijk Instituut voor het Kunstpatrimonium (KIK), Studiecentrum Vlaamse Primitieven, 2011.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A catalogue raisonné. Includes a discussion of the artist’s life and career, as well as his work and workshop practice.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Périer-d’Ieteren, Catherine. Dieric Bouts: The Complete Works. Brussels: Mercatorfonds, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The biographical component of this tome includes discussion of Bouts’s likely origins, training, and documented commissions. Additional essays address his technique, visual sources, and workshop practice. The catalogue is organized by “autograph” paintings, workshop pieces, and troublesome attributions.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Smeyers, Maurits, and Katharina Smeyers. Dirk Bouts (ca. 1410–1475): Een Vlaams primitief te Leuven; Tentoonstellingcatalogus. Leuven, Belgium: Peeters, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A collection of essays, mainly iconographical in emphasis. Includes some discussion of the valuation of Bouts’s paintings and of technical analysis.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Robert Campin/Master of Flémalle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Campin is known from various archival sources, and his documented association with Rogier van der Weyden has led numerous scholars to attribute a fairly large number of works to him. Significant doubts arise, however, with respect to several of those works, leading some to group these contested objects under the heading of another painter, one designated by the title “Master of Flémalle,” after a set of panels now in the Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt. For a summary of the debate, see Kemperdick and Sander 2008, which argues in favor of the split attribution. Thürlemann 2002 offers perhaps the most radical approach to the matter, attributing the Prado Deposition (generally assigned to Rogier van der Weyden) to Campin.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Kemperdick, Stephan, and Jochen Sander, eds. The Master of Flémalle and Rogier van der Weyden. Berlin: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A beautifully illustrated exhibition catalogue. The essays attend mainly to workshop practice and to disentangling the oeuvres of Campin and van der Weyden.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Thürlemann, Felix. Robert Campin: A Monographic Study with Critical Catalogue. Translated by Ishbel Flett. Munich: Prestel, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Attempts an extraordinarily ambitious reattribution of several key paintings. More than simply a catalogue raisonné, though, this book also offers a number of important insights regarding prominent thematic elements of the paintings in the Campin/Flémalle group.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Petrus Christus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Active in Bruges from 1444 to 1475/1476, Christus seems to have hit the ground running. (He purchased his citizenship.) He quickly achieved considerable financial success and elevated social status. Ainsworth and Martens 1994 offers a good overview of the artist and his place in 15th-century Bruges. Ainsworth 1995 presents a group of more specialized studies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Ainsworth, Maryan W., ed. Petrus Christus in Renaissance Bruges: An Interdisciplinary Approach. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A collection of essays, the bulk of which concern technical analysis and conservation. Several papers deal with art in Bruges more generally and with the relationship between the work of Christus and that of van Eyck.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Ainsworth, Maryan W., and Maximiliaan P. J. Martens. Petrus Christus: Renaissance Master of Bruges. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1994.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            An exhibition catalogue. Essays include a biography of the painter, a discussion of Bruges as an artistic center, and an overview of Christus’s oeuvre.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Gerard David

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Based in Bruges, Gerard David was a painter of immense subtlety and complexity, not to mention industry. His professional life as recorded in the archival sources was rich and full, affording a view of almost every aspect of artisanal practice. Both Ainsworth 1998 and van Miegroet 1989 offer good points of entry for the general reader, even as they also offer more in-depth analysis.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Ainsworth, Maryan W. Gerard David: Purity of Vision in an Age of Transition. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              An exhibition catalogue. Includes biography, technical analysis, and iconographical studies.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • van Miegroet, Hans J. Gérard David. Antwerp: Mercatorfonds, 1989.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A combined catalogue raisonné, stylistic study, and, in places, thematic analysis. Though some of the author’s conclusions have been debated, this remains an important resource.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Jan van Eyck

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Active from at least 1422 until his death in 1441, van Eyck spent the bulk of his career as court painter to the Burgundian duke Philip the Good. (None of his work on behalf of Philip survives.) A titan in his own lifetime, van Eyck quickly achieved the sort of fame and familiarity that can make his work difficult to perceive clearly. The sources here have been selected primarily for their ability to cut through the mythology and get to the heart of the work; all include good bibliography. Harbison 2012, which revisits a 1991 text, remains one of the most innovative accounts of this artist and his work, though Belting and Eichberger 1983 is required reading for anyone with an interest in van Eyck’s pictorial strategies. Readers with an interest in his brother, Hubert, should begin with Dhanens 1980. Foister, et al. 2000 provides a range of approaches to the artist and his work.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Belting, Hans, and Dagmar Eichberger. Jan van Eyck als Erzähler: Frühe Tafelbilder im Umkreis der New Yorker Doppeltafel. Worms, West Germany: Werner’sche Verlagsgesellschaft, 1983.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Rather than fixate simply on iconography, the authors offer a subtle argument about van Eyck’s visual syntax. Especially interesting with respect to pictorial innovation and its religious utility.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Dhanens, Elisabeth. Hubert and Jan van Eyck. New York: Tabard, 1980.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A thematic study, followed by a catalogue raisonné. Offers a fairly conservative, at times perhaps restrictive, list of works by the artist’s hand.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Foister, Susan, Sue Jones, and Delphine Cool, eds. Investigating Jan van Eyck. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A collection of essays addressing an array of traditional topics, including technical analysis, stylistic development, technique, and workshop practice.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Harbison, Craig. Jan van Eyck: The Play of Realism. 2d ed. London: Reaktion, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        An elegant, synthetic account of van Eyck’s work, with an emphasis on salient themes, both religious and otherwise.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hugo van der Goes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Active in Ghent from the later 1460s until his death in 1482. A good example of how primary sources can be more trouble than they are worth, van der Goes was the subject of a self-serving contemporaneous obituary. This has led some scholars to forget that his paintings were commissions and, thus, bound by shared religious and social expectations. Fortunately, the sources listed here address both the work and the biographical data with great care (Franke 2012, Ridderbos 1991, and Sander 1992).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Franke, Susanne. Raum und Realismus: Hugo van der Goes’ Bildproduktion als Erkenntnisprozess. Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Addresses van der Goes’s paintings as cognitive instruments. Particularly strong with respect to visual syntax and viewer engagement.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Ridderbos, Bernhard. De melancholie van de kunstenaar: Hugo van der Goes en de oudnederlandse schilderkunst. The Hague: Sdu, 1991.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A social history of stylistic change over the course of van der Goes’s career. Includes an important historiographical chapter, as well as important discussions of the relationship between painting and vernacular Netherlandish religious writing.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Sander, Jochen. Hugo van der Goes: Stilentwicklung und Chronologie. Mainz, Germany: P. von Zabern, 1992.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              An exhaustive catalogue raisonné based on both technical and stylistic analyses. Includes discussions of stylistic origins, borrowing, and development; also addresses the artist’s biography and, in the process, offers important historiographical insights.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The Limbourg Brothers

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The Limbourg brothers were illuminators at the court of Jean de Berry, a brother of Philip the Good; all three died in 1416. Famed for their refined and lavish ornamentation, including the magisterial (and unfinished) Trés riches heures, on one occasion they presented their patron with a joke manuscript. Rather than produce an actual book, they produced a richly ornamented block of wood that had been carved and painted to look like a manuscript. The story is recounted in Meiss 1967–1968 (cited under Manuscripts, Illumination, and Early Printed Books), among other places. Dückers and Roelofs 2005 and Dückers and Roelofs 2009 place the brothers more fully in the context of courtly art.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Dückers, Rob, and Pieter Roelofs. The Limbourg Brothers: Nijmegen Masters at the French Court, 1400–1416. Nijmegen, The Netherlands: Ludion, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                An exhibition catalogue. Includes essays on metalwork, sculpture, and panel painting, as well as manuscripts both by the Limbourgs and by their contemporaries.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Dückers, Rob, and Pieter Roelofs, eds. The Limbourg Brothers: Reflections on the Origins and the Legacy of Three Illuminators from Nijmegen. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A stand-alone reprint of a special issue of the Dutch journal Quaerendo. Includes essays on the Limbourgs, their work, and the work of some of their contemporaries.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hans Memling

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hans Memling was painter active in Bruges from 1465, when he purchased citizenship, until his death in 1494. Largely discounted in Panofsky 1953 (cited under Image and Fact), his work has since been recognized for its subtlety and sophistication. De Vos 1994 and Lane 2009 are the best points of entry for the interested reader. Borchert 2005 is of more limited utility.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Borchert, Till-Holger. Memling’s Portraits. Ghent, Belgium: Ludion, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Though this volume offers little in the way of new insight concerning Memling, it does single out some of his most remarkable and sophisticated work.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • de Vos, Dirk, ed. Hans Memling. 2 vols. Ghent, Belgium: Ludion, 1994.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The first volume comprises the catalogue from a 1994 exhibition in Bruges. Volume 2 contains a number of essays, including noteworthy studies of patronage and of related arts, such as music.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Lane, Barbara G. Hans Memling: Master Painter in Fifteenth-Century Bruges. London: Harvey Miller, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A thematic study of the artist’s work, followed by a relatively conservative catalogue raisonné. Includes basic bibliography.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Geertgen tot Sint Jans

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Geertgen tot Sint Jans is painter about whom we know relatively little. May have been born in Leiden; associated primarily with patrons in Haarlem, most notably members of the Church of Saint John. Boon 1967 offers an interesting, if somewhat out of date, account of the artist’s work. Decker 2008 provides a religious and intellectual history of Geertgen’s paintings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Boon, Karel G. Geertgen tot Sint Jans. Translated by Leonard Scott. Amsterdam: J. M. Meulenhoff, 1967.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A dedicated study of the painter and his oeuvre. Though some of the attributions have come into doubt, this remains an important source.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Decker, John R. The Technology of Salvation and the Art of Geertgen Tot Sint Jans. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Though attending to a small number of objects, this book nonetheless offers the most ambitious approach to Geertgen’s work. The author argues in favor of a 15th-century response verging on high theology, but many of the paintings do suggest a perspicacious and, in some cases, well-educated audience.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Claus Sluter

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Claus Sluter was an important artist whose work survives only in fragmentary form. Born in the northern Netherlands, he served as the court sculptor to Duke Philip the Bold of Burgundy and was active primarily in Dijon, where he completed his pioneering work for the Carthusian monastery of Champmol. Didier 1993 is a collection of quite specialized essays. Gras 1990 and Morand 1991 offer broader overviews. Lindquist 2008 (cited under Architecture) is also a valuable source.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Didier, Robert. Claus Sluter. Namur, Belgium: Société Archéologique de Namur, 1993.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A collection of essays on Sluter, his oeuvre and workshop, and his contemporaries and putative followers.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Gras, Catherine, ed. Claus Sluter en Bourgogne: Mythe et représentations. Dijon, France: Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon, 1990.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                An exhibition catalogue. Includes discussions of Sluter’s work at Champmol as well as historiography.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Morand, Kathleen. Claus Sluter: Artist at the Court of Burgundy. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1991.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A thorough account of the artist’s life and known work. Attends particularly closely to the religious utility of the artist’s various formal innovations.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Rogier van der Weyden

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Born c. 1400, van der Weyden served as the town painter of Brussels from 1436 onward. As was the case with van Eyck, several of his compositions became objects of repeated and quite interesting replication or modification. Concerning his association with Robert Campin and/or the Master of Flémalle, see Kemperdick and Sander 2008 (cited under Robert Campin/Master of Flémalle). Campbell and van der Stock 2009, Davies 1972, and de Vos 1999 all offer overviews of the artist’s life and work. Purtle 1997, though quite specialized, addresses one of the artist’s (and indeed the period’s) most important objects through a variety of methods.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Campbell, Lorne, and Jan van der Stock. Rogier van der Weyden, 1400–1464: Master of Passions. Zwolle, The Netherlands: Waanders, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A massive, beautifully illustrated exhibition catalogue. Though the subtitle risks advancing the old view of van der Weyden as a painter of emotion (with van Eyck implicitly cast as a contrasting painter of intellect), the essays avoid such romanticism, providing a solid account of the painter and his milieu.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Davies, Martin. Rogier van der Weyden; An Essay, with a Critical Catalogue of Paintings Assigned to Him and to Robert Campin. London: Phaidon, 1972.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A relatively early but still important survey of the artist and his work.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • de Vos, Dirk. Rogier van der Weyden: The Complete Works. Translated by Ted Atkins. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A large, lavish, and thorough catalogue raisonné. Diverges from Davies 1972 in places. Includes bibliography.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Purtle, Carol J., ed. Rogier van der Weyden, St. Luke Drawing the Virgin: Selected Essays in Context. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 1997.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Though dedicated to a single painting, this volume merits special mention. Van der Weyden’s painting is as much a statement of art theory as one of religious belief, a point that several of the essays in this collection address.

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