Belgium Arts: from the Carolingian Age to Mannerism

There are numerous traces of Carolingian architecture in the Meuse valley: churches with a basilica (Nivelles), octagonal, square plan were built. The Carolingian type with two transepts and two choirs (Westwerk) continued into the 10th century. X and XI: the main example is the reconstruction of the church of S.te-Gertrude of Nivelles (XI century). In the Romanesque period, the Meuse area was influenced by the Rhenish influence, both in architecture and in sculpture. To the sec. XII are the eastern choir on the three-nave crypt of S.te-Gertrude in Nivelles and the church of St.-Pierre in Saint Trond, of the Rhine type in Westwerk. On the other hand, the influence of the Romanesque prevails in the Scheldt valleyNorman, visible in the use of the lantern tower, in the simplicity of the decoration (the large sculpture is absent), sometimes in the presence of the towers on the facade (Tournai cathedral, begun in 1141; St.-Jacques of Ghent).

According to zipcodesexplorer, the Gothic style of French origin spread in Belgium along the Via della Schelda, from Tournai to Ghent, to Oudenaarde: after an initial period of contamination of Romanesque and Gothic forms, it definitively established itself around the mid-thirteenth century. Among the earliest examples are the church of St.-Nicolas in Ghent and that of Notre-Dame de Pamele in Oudenaarde (1234-42). In 1242-55 educated workers in France erected the choir of the cathedral of Tournai, inspired by Soissons; followed by the choir of St.-Bavon in Ghent (ca. 1273), the choir of St.-Walburge in Furnes (1230-80), the nave of St.-Rombaut in Malines (Mechelen), Notre-Dame of Kortrijk (1300), St.-Sauveur of Bruges. From the end of the century. XII, meanwhile, Cistercian monasteries were built in a more severe Gothic style, with a rectilinear choir, without ambulatory, and chapels on the transepts (Orval, Villers-le-Ville). While in the Schelde valley the Gothic follows the examples of Soissons and Laon, in central-southern Belgium the influence of Champagne prevails (Notre-Dame di Dinant: choir 1227-47, nave 1247-79). Brick churches were built in Flanders, and Hallenkirchen spread under German influence. In the fourteenth century a late Gothic architecture with well-defined local characters develops in Brabant, which now acquires great importance, while the Mosan area decays. Brabantine Gothic is characterized by cylindrical pillars, low verticality, unadorned and severe style: choir of St.-Rombaut in Malines, with seven chapels with ambulatory, begun in c. 1340. by Jean d’Oisy, and choir of Notre-Dame du Lac in Tirlemont (Tienen), by d’Oisy himself (1360).

Also characteristic are the public buildings, such as the markets and the municipal buildings with a high central tower (beffroi), crenellated side wings, turrets at the corners. Between the century XIV and XVI almost every city in Belgium (Ghent, Bruges, Brussels, Louvain, Mons, Antwerp) builds its own municipal building. While the architecture remains linked to these forms until the late sixteenth century, around 1430 the painting is sensationally renewed for the work of Jan van Eyck, active in Flanders in the service of the Duke of Burgundy, whose duchy from 1419 Bruges was the capital. From van Eyck came not only the Bruges school (Petrus Christus), but also the early Renaissance painting in Provence (Maestro d’Aix, Nicolas Froment), in Spain (P. Berruguete, J. Baço, L. Dalmau), in Portugal (N. Gonçalves); moreover, through Antonello da Messina, it will have significant repercussions on the painting of the second half of the fifteenth century in northern Italy. A different dramatic accentuation is present in the works of Rogier van der Weyden, active in Tournai and Brussels. His influence is especially noticeable in the German painters (M. Schongauer, Dürer), as well as in the Spanish Bermejo and in the Ferrarese C. Tura, F. del Cossa and E. de ‘Roberti (Rogier was in Italy in 1449-50). In the second half of the fifteenth century the greatest Flemish painters are D. Bouts in Louvain, H. Memling in Bruges, H. van der Goes in Ghent. While the first adhere to the tradition, van der Goes anticipates with his realism Flemish painting and Dutch of the sixteenth century also his Portinari Triptych (1476) has wide resonance in Florentine Quattrocento last . It has great importance in the century. XV the miniature; tapestries flourish, especially in Tournai and Bruges, and, in the Mosana area, brass manufacturing, in full development already in the 10th century. XIII and XIV especially in Dinant (hence the name of dinanderies later given to small brass objects), but also active in other centers (Malines, Brussels) in the production of baptismal fonts, engraved sepulchral plates, etc. Wooden sculpture is largely influenced by painting (R. van der Weyden). The sixteenth century saw the decline of the old commercial centers of Ghent, Bruges, Tournai and the rise of Antwerp, Brussels, Malines (seat of the court of Margaret of Austria).

Painters such as Gérard David in Bruges (but his move to Antwerp and perhaps Genoa is significant) and Quentin Metsys to Antwerp assimilate the novelties of Italian painting while maintaining full autonomy, while the painters of the next generation will depend entirely on Italy. The first “Romanists” are Bernart van Orley, author of famous cartoons for tapestries and stained glass windows (official painter in Malines and Brussels, where he repeats Raphael and Michelangelo), and Jan Gossaert, known as Mabuse, who gives a disturbing version of Italian painting. Towards the middle of the century Antwerp became one of the main centers of European mannerism (Lambert Lombard, Michiel Coxie, Frans Floris). Nell ‘ atelier publisher Hieronymus Cock work Bruegel and engravers Italian and forms Cornelis Cort, renewing the technique of burin. The last generation of Flemish Mannerists played a decisive role in the spread of international Mannerism between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: Bartholomaeus Spranger was active in Prague and Vienna; Pieter de Witte, known as Candid, is the protagonist of Bavarian mannerism; Sadeler engravers have printing works in Prague, Vienna, Frankfurt, Cologne, Munich, Venice. Other artists remain tied to the tradition of Flemish realism (even if it is a sui generis realism , extremely aristocratic and detached): P. Bruegel, active in Antwerp; the portrait painters J. van Cleve, A. Moor, W. Key; the landscape architects J. Patinier, Coninxloo, Owl. In architecture, the late-Gothic style of Brabant alternates contaminations with Italian-inspired decorative elements (Breda Castle, 1515-21; Salmon’s house in Malines, ca. of the court (palace of Cardinal Granvelle in Brussels, 1550), and later a fantastic and decorative mannerism, which appropriates the animistic motifs of the grotesques and applies them to the Nordic tradition in the characteristic “banded” pediments. This decorativism is surpassed by Cornelis Floris in the city hall of Antwerp (1564-66), which correctly applies classical proportions and the overlapping of orders. Throughout the century. XVI it is not possible to distinguish between an art from the southern Netherlands (Flanders, Brabant) and northern (Holland). But following the wars of religion and the political division between independent, Protestant and bourgeois Holland, and Spanish, aristocratic and Catholic Flanders, the gap becomes very clear.

Belgium Arts

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