We’re beginning with the Renaissance, so it’s very exciting. We’re in the 15th century between 1400 and 1500. If you take a look at the map, you can get a sense of what region you are in. So, parts of France, parts of Germany, Holland, and Belgium. So, you want take a little attention to this area called Flanders where we’re going to begin.
Flanders today is modern-day Holland, Belgium and Northern France. This area really was in a prime location for trade with England and the Holy Roman Empire. They also produced a lot of cloth and fabric and also a lot of eliminated books which we’re going to be looking at.
We’ll see lots of rich fabrics and vivid colors and patterns and things like that. So, another example of culture reflected in the art.
In the late Gothic world, western Europe north of the Alps experienced the calamities of war and plague, and the social turmoil and dislocations that accompanied dying feudalism. Since much of the population was wiped out, serfs had bargaining power and often left their lords to occupy new, uninhabited lands.
Unfortunately almost half of Europe’s population was wiped out due to the plague. What happens is this feudal society. You have these lords who own all of this land, and they have these serfs working for them.
The Les Tres Riche Heures was perhaps the most famous manuscript illumination and represents the 12 months in terms of the associated seasonal tasks, has alternating scenes of nobility and peasantry.
January depicts a New Year’s reception at court, most likely a representation of the Trojan war. The rich colors evoke Gothic stained glass windows; patterns in clothes evoke the Gothic International style.