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International Gothic
International Gothic

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International Gothic is one of the artistic styles prevalent in Europe in the years 1375 to 1425.

This style was the foundation upon which the Italian Renaissance came to be and it encapsulated many different influences. Ideas and techniques were passed from one wandering artist to another, and as the royal courts heard of theses innovations and wonders also from the connections made in commerce agreements and political liaisons, they too accepted new ideas from foreign countries and spread the influence of the style, making it truly international. Even the most religious art works of this style contain a vivid liveliness that was not then associated with the Church. It was meant to reflect the sophisticated and cosmopolitan attitude of the ruling European monarchs and their respective courts- Bohemia, the separate kingdoms of what is today upper and lower Germany, In the Spanish and French courts and even all the way in Westminster, England. Life was lived in grand opulence in these courts and the art was to reflect every shining element of this lifestyle, while ironically it would soon be shaken to its very core with the first sign of the feudalistic system crumbling.

The vivid symbolism and delicate craftsmanship of International Gothic art:

The main styles of this period are French, Flemish and Dutch, though the Italians had were also great contributors to this artistic form. The obvious characteristics are the brightly contrasting colors, the very decorative and minute detailing of the works and very lyrical symbolism of the depicted scenes. A new, naturalistic style emerged in the mid 14 th century in Italy and France and this brought with it a real attempt to relax the rigid compositional style that had been the mainstay of medieval Europe . Artists began emulating the Italian gift for three-dimensional imagery; such as the mobile diptych from Wilton by an artist left anonymous till this day. A diptych is made of two painted tablets that are joined with hinges at the corners to create a two-sided fan and it can be opened and closed. The Wilton diptych is an exemplary example of this style, as it has a royal, kingly figure decked in rich ermine and gold and standing by him are three men with golden halos, who represent his holy protectors here on earth. The king is bowing to Mary, the mother of God, as she holds the child Jesus in her arms. The whole painting is spectacular with color; reds and gold, deep blues and the pale luminescence of the halos. It is a true example of the times.





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