Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Northern Renaissance Art

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Art and Art History

DESCRIPTION This study-unit will concentrate on the artists who made the greatest contribution to the Northern Renaissance, among them Claus Sluter, Jan van Eyck, Robert Campin, Rogier van der Weyden, Albrecht Dürer and Pieter Breughel. The achievements of Northern Renaissance artists and their acute observation and interest in realism have been obscured by the developments of their Italian counterparts. This study unit will highlight the equally riveting art that was produced beyond the Alps that influenced and was influenced by contemporary Italian artists, and which was in great demand by Italian patrons.

Study-unit Aims:

The student will gain an in-depth knowledge of the art that was produced in the Renaissance beyond the Alps and what elements made it stand out to the art produced in Renaissance Italy. The student will be prepared for other study units that analyse Northern artists of later periods namely the Golden Age of Northern Baroque art.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Demonstrate the stylistic elements that make up the art of the Northern Renaissance art and the artists who produced it;
- Understand the mechanics of patronage behind altarpieces, portraits, works for private devotion and the like;
- Make out the materials that are employed in Northern Renaissance painting;
- Understand the socio, religious, and political issues that were instrumental in shaping the visual language of the Northern Renaissance;
- Appreciate how trade with Italy and the presence of Italians in the North affected the production of art.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Discuss the main motivations behind the patronage of Northern Renaissance art;
- Compare the works of art produced by Northern Renaissance artists with those of Italian Renaissance artists;
- Broadly analyse the context that produced Northern Renaissance art;
- Identify the materials used in the production of Northern Renaissance art;
- Identify the main types of works of art that work requested from artists in Northern Europe;
- Report on cultural exchanges that occurred throughout the Renaissance in Western Europe.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- C. D. Cuttler, Northern Painting, 10th Impression, Holt, Reinhart & Winston, 1991.
- J. Snyder, Northern Renaissance Art: Painting, Sculpture, the Graphic Arts from 1350 to 1575, Second Edition (revised by L. Silver and H. Luttikhuizen), Prentice Hall Inc., USA, 2005.
- C. Harbison, The Art of the Northern Renaissance, Everyman Art Library, 1995.
- S. Nash, Northern Renaissance Art, Oxford University Press, 2008.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Classwork SEM2 Yes 60%
Examination (1 Hour) SEM2 Yes 40%

LECTURER/S Charlene Vella

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.