The 15th century saw the beginnings of the naturalistic depiction of landscapes, portraiture, still-life and perspective in Northern Europe by great Netherlandish artists like the Limbourg brothers and Jan Van Eyck. Using slides and many close-up details we will study their depictions of daily life from the lowest peasants to the incredibly lavish French and Burgundian courts that patronised them. In the final session we will see how Hieronymus Bosch built on this naturalism to combine it with a surreal vision in highly controversial paintings which in some ways look forward to later artists like Dali. Lists of slides will be provided together with a map of Europe as it was at this time.
09.45 – Registration
10.00 The Limbourg Brothers – Depictions of the Burgundian Court
The Limbourg Brothers’ Book of Hours produced for the Duke of Berry showing daily and Court life scenes, together with depictions of the Court of the Dukes of Burgundy (itself an offshoot of the French royal family), including outstanding portraits by Roger Van Der Weyden.
11.00 – Coffee/tea
11.30 – Jan Van Eyck
A study of some of the outstanding paintings (including devotional pictures, individual and double portraits etc.) by Jan Van Eyck who developed the oil technique to produce a jewel-like finish together with stunning landscape and still-life details. Special emphasis will be placed on his use of symbolism and echoes of contemporary history together with a comparison of his portraits with those of his great predecessor Robert Campin.
12.30 Lunch Break – buffet lunch and coffee/tea provided
13.30 Hieronymus Bosch
A detailed study of three of Bosch's greatest paintings – The Seven Deadly Sins, the Haywain Triptych (an attack on greed and materialism) and, above all, the highly controversial Garden of Earthly Delights which became a cult image in the “Swinging Sixties” with its (supposed) advocacy of “free love” etc. We will consider the question of whether Bosch was secretly a member of a heretical group which advocated such ideas.
Leslie Pitcher (B.A. Cantab) has a degree in Classics from Trinity College, Cambridge. He lectures for NADFAS, the WEA, and U3A. He has also lectured at Brompton Oratory on religious art. His particular interest is art in the classical tradition in the ancient world to the Renaissance and Baroque.
©Photo. R.M.N. / R.-G. Ojéda