Two regions of Europe were particularly artistically active during
this period: northern Europe (essentially Flanders) and Italy.
The Renaissance is considered to have reached northern Europe in
the 16th century. Thus, most of the Early Renaissance works in
northern Europe were produced between 1420 and 1550.
Themes and Symbolism
The works of art of this period feature mainly religious themes
(the Church was the main client of these artists), but also some
purely figurative themes.
The religious symbolism is largely drawn from the work of Jacobus
de Voragine, The Golden Legend (1260).
Some more mundane themes were treated, but they were often treated
via a religious or mythological representations. For instance,
Early Renaissance artists sometimes used the theme of Adam and
Eve as a way to represent female and male nudes in a then morally
acceptable way. Sometimes a fig leaf covered their genitals.
The use of perspective is common in Early Renaissance paintings.
Perspective (visual) refers to some of the information in the
visual scene that allows an observer to perceive the distances
and sizes of objects.
Famous paintings of the Early Renaissance period include: