Northern Europe 1400-1600
The Good Man
What does it mean to be a good person? Between the years 1400 and 1600 art was primarily used to communicate religious and moral messages – often taking Christ as a role model.
Several of the paintings shown here originally served as the center or side panels of small, privately-owned altarpieces that gave their owners exclusive access to the religious realm within the comfort of their own home.
Thus, art took on a personal function that actively involved and moved its audience.
During this period new ways of painting and of building compositions were developed. Burgundian cities such as Brügge and Antwerp spearheaded a Renaissance movement where altarpieces painted in oils became a new, greatly treasured art form.
The new technique made it possible to paint scenes that were far more naturalistic than ever before, including details that seemed almost microscopic.
The Northern European Renaissance also saw the advent of printing techniques whose pre-eminent proponents became painters such as Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach, and Maerten van Heemskerck.
In the National Gallery collection of European Art 1300-1800, there are two halls that focus on the notion of the good man. Between 1400 and 1600 Christianity was a clear foundation for how a good man should behave. Works shows Jesus, the Virgin Mary and saints as role models.
Producer, Kamera: Martin Køhler Jørgensen