By Christopher S. Wood
The 1st self sustaining or ‘pure’ landscapes in Western paintings have been produced in southern Germany within the first a long time of the 16th century. They have been painted, drawn and etched via Albrecht Altdorfer of Regensburg and his basically a bit of much less flamboyant modern Wolf Huber of Passau. those radical experiments in panorama seemed with out enhance become aware of and disappeared from view nearly as suddenly.
Altdorfer switched over open air settings right into a theatre for sophisticated draughtsmanship and lavish color results. whilst, his landscapes provided a densely textured interpretation of that quintessentially German locus, the wooded area inside. during this revealing examine Christopher S. wooden exhibits how Altdorfer prised panorama out of its subsidiary position as atmosphere and historical past for narrative heritage portray and devotional works, and gave it a brand new, autonomous lifetime of its personal.
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Extra resources for Albrecht Altdorfer and the Origins of Landscape
One Italian miniaturist actually detached Memling’s landscape from its composition and presented it as a picture in its own right (illus. ). The Flemish vignette, with half-timber water mill and a serpentine brook, becomes in the Zibaldone or ‘commonplace book’ of Buonaccorso Ghiberti (grandson of Lorenzo) an illustration to a discussion of the casting of bells. The landscape backgrounds of Dürer’s engravings proved the richest lode of all. The next step for some Flemish painters was to let the setting dominate the picture, and indeed to make setting into the basis for the classification of the picture.
This promotion was accomplished first by assigning the landscape a name, and thus an invisible and virtual frame, and then by sealing it off from texts and other pictures with a physical frame. Joachim Patenir, Rest on the Flight into Egypt, oil on panel, × . Museo del Prado, Madrid. Landscape and text Max J. Friedlander, who in published the first book on Altdorfer, later wrote that ‘in the Netherlands we can, if put to it, trace the germination and efflorescence of landscape as an historical process – at least we are impelled to make the attempt’.
The frescoes at Trent, visible through an illusionistic loggia, were commissioned by Bishop George of Lichtenstein, probably from a Bohemian painter (illus. Horizons are kept high to make room for as much earthly business as possible: mowing, raking, scythe-sharpening, fishing, love-making, all in the month of July. A scene labelled ‘Agriculture’ looked like a Garden of Love; ‘Hunting’ was set in a dense grove; both scenes fell under the category of Mechanical Arts. The pretext of these long-lost frescoes was didactic, but the treatment, according to Schedel’s ekphrases, was highly pictorial.
Albrecht Altdorfer and the Origins of Landscape by Christopher S. Wood