By Christopher S. Wood
The 1st self sufficient 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 by means of Albrecht Altdorfer of Regensburg and his simply a little bit much less flamboyant modern Wolf Huber of Passau. those radical experiments in panorama seemed with out improve become aware of and disappeared from view virtually as suddenly.
Altdorfer switched over outdoors settings right into a theatre for sophisticated draughtsmanship and indulgent color results. even as, his landscapes provided a densely textured interpretation of that quintessentially German locus, the woodland inside. during this revealing learn Christopher S. wooden indicates how Altdorfer prised panorama out of its subsidiary position as surroundings and history for narrative historical past portray and devotional works, and gave it a brand new, self sustaining lifetime of its personal.
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Extra resources for Albrecht Altdorfer and the Origins of Landscape
The paintings themselves, on the other hand, are not such assiduous propagandizers against the deictic interpretation. Nor has the best writing on Northern art been negligent. The ambitious German Renaissance artist deliberately packed his pictures with deictic markers. And no theorist was exhorting Altdorfer to abolish the material picture surface. The project of distinguishing a Northern from a Mediterranean practice of painting provides one historiographical framework for this study. Another is the recently renewed recognition of the persistence and charisma, in late medieval and Renaissance painting, of the icon.
Venetian brushwork and palette immediately warned beholders either to drop their iconographical antennae, or to keep them raised and savour the vain effort to clear up the muddle. The Florentine Vasari, only two generations later, was stumped by Giorgione’s frescoes on the Fondaco dei Tedeschi, the German merchants’ compound at the Rialto. Giorgione, he complained, had thought only of fashioning fanciful figures and displaying his art. Vasari found the frescoes unreadable. ’ But plenty of amateurs relished indeterminacy.
The icon held the Christian beholder in a dialogue. It placed the beholder before the image of an other. The independent painted panel, descendant of the icon, became a principal venue for the Northern artist’s presentation of self because it was the place where the beholder was most keenly and unavoidably aware of the artist’s presence. That presence was always threatening to interrupt the dialogue between mortal and immortal. Thus the history and structure of the independent panel, and the theology of the Christian devotional image, become major contexts for Altdorfer’s landscapes.