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The period is also noted for its sculpture, tapestries, illuminated manuscripts, stained glass and carved retables.
The first generations of artists were active during the height of Burgundian influence in Europe, when the Low Countries became the political and economic centre of Northern Europe, noted for its crafts and luxury goods.
Friedländer's acclaimed surveys run through Pieter Bruegel the Elder).
Early Netherlandish painting coincides with the Early and High Italian Renaissance but the early period (until about 1500) is seen as an independent artistic evolution, separate from the Renaissance humanism that characterised developments in Italy, although beginning in the 1490s as increasing numbers of Netherlandish and other Northern painters traveled to Italy, Renaissance ideals and painting styles were incorporated into northern painting.
The painted works are generally oil on panel, either as single works or more complex portable or fixed altarpieces in the form of diptychs, triptychs or polyptychs.
In the 14th century, as Gothic art gave way to the International Gothic era, a number of schools developed in northern Europe.
Early Netherlandish art originated in French courtly art, and is especially tied to the tradition and conventions of illuminated manuscripts.
in the northern European areas controlled by the Dukes of Burgundy and later the Habsburg dynasty.
These artists became an early driving force behind the Northern Renaissance and the move away from the Gothic style.
Early Netherlandish painting is the work of artists, sometimes known as the Flemish Primitives, active in the Burgundian and Habsburg Netherlands during the 15th- and 16th-century Northern Renaissance, especially in the flourishing cities of Bruges, Ghent, Mechelen, Louvain, Tournai and Brussels, all in present-day Belgium.