I am fascinated by the little worlds one glimpses in the backgrounds of Renaissance landscapes and history paintings, a wonderful array of castles, towns, cities, and mountains. There are hundreds of these little wonders lurking in painting after painting; the problem is finding images big enough to show the necessary detail, since some of these wonders are quite small. Above, the Limbourg Brothers, from the Tres Riche Heures
Van Eyck, the Ghent Altarpiece, 1432
Albrecht Durer, from The Sea Monster
Herri met de Bles, Landscape with Saint Christopher
, 1535 - 1545
Two from Albrecht Altdorfer, The Battle of Alexander at Issus
Didier Barra, Landscape with Buildings
Vittore Carpacci, Holy Conversation
Herri met de Bles, The Road to Calvary, 1550
Another Durer, St. Michael the Archangel
Three by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Gloomy Day, The Parable of the Sower,
and Hunters in the Snow,
all dated 1565.
Lucas Gassel, Panoramic Landscape with Judah and Tamar
and Return of the Prodigal Son
Joachim Patinir, Landscape with St. Jerome
, c. 1520
And another Patinir, an imaginary Jerusalem from a cycle that depicted all the main episodes in the life of Jesus on one canvas.
I recall having learned that Renaissance portraiture would add distant landscape to demonstrate understanding of perspective painting and show off artistic skill sets.
These landscapes are one of the things I spend time appreciating when actually in museums looking at paintings.
Since I moved away from CT I have not been to the Met and I miss it dreadfully.
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