[Leon Battista Alberti]
[Antonello da Messina]
[Leonardo da Vinci]
[Hans Holbein the Younger]
[Jan van Eyck]
[Samuel van Hoogstraaten]
Alberti, Leon Battista
Leon Battista Alberti was born in 1404 and spent the first 40 years of his
life studying Greek and Roman civilizations. Through his research, Alberti
gained a reputation as a learned Latin scholar. In the later half of his life,
Leon turned towards architecture and painting. He published two books,
On Painting and On Architecture, which were very
influential. Although Alberti was primarily known as an architect, he is often
credited with formulating the first laws of perspective using the first
perspective aids in painting.
Filipio Brunelleschi, a famous Renaissance architect, developed many
important construction methods as well as contributing to the evolution
of perspective. His mathematical work led to the invention of
linear perspective. Filipio also used his knowledge of gold and silversmithing
to create his peepshow, an important development
in interactive perspective art.
da Messina, Antonello
Antonello took his name from the town of Messina, where he was born around 1430.
He married a woman named Giovanna and they probably had children. His career
centered around oil painting. He seemed to be influenced by the Flemish style
brought by northern Italian painters and by the few years he spent in Vienna.
da Vinci, Leonardo
Leonardo da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452 in the small French town of
Vinci. He spent most of his time working on his inventions. In fact, painting
was just one of his many talents. He was also known as a writer, an architect,
a sculptor, a botanist, an engineer, a mathematician, a musician, a city planner,
a costume and set designer, and a philosopher. With all the things he did, da Vinci
often got in trouble for not finishing many of his works. Da Vinci wrote all his
notations on his blueprints backwards! It is
thought he did this to keep other people from being able to discover his
secrets. He was one of the first inventors to experiment with the helicopter
and the notion of flying. At that time in history autopsies on cadavers were
illegal, but it is estimated that he performed more than thirty of them.
Leonardo also studied optics from both the scienitific
and the artistic points of view. He believed that painting should be considered a
Liberal Art because it was based on mathematically derived perspective theory and
satisfied the primary sense of sight. Da Vinci realized that unless a person viewed
a painting through a peephole, the visual image would be different than the image the
artist painted. The "trompe l'oeil" school of art was
later based on this principle.
Gerrit Dou was the son of a glass maker and engraver. Born in Leiden around 1613,
Dou was a student of Rembrandt. Later, in the 1640s, Dou founded the Leiden School of
Fine Painting or "fijnschilderij". In Leiden, a major university town and center for fine
glass engraving, equipment such as perspective aids and optics were readily available. Multiple
sources confirmed that Dou often used magnifying lenses and other aids to create his paintings.
Dou's paintings payed careful
attention to detail, treated surfaces with elegant lighting effects, and were noted for their
observation of everyday life.
Albrecht Dürer was the most famous German painter in the Renaissance. Because
he kept a detailed diary, more is known about Dürer than any other Renaisannce
artist. He was a prominent print maker as well as an artist. As an artist, Dürer
introduced realistic watercolors as well as idealized nude figures to German art. He
published many works on subjects ranging from civil defense to geometry and perspective.
Dürer, who was influenced by Leon Battista Alberti, used modified perspective
aids in many of his paintings.
Hans Holbein the Younger
Hans Holbein the Younger was born in Augsburg about 1497 or 1498. He married Elsbeth Schmid around
1520. They had two sons and two daughters. He also had two more children by a
mistress. His gift for drawing and satire showed up in his early teens.
Holbein was known as, arguably, the best portrait painter ever. He was known
for an "icy cold" attention to detail that got him tagged as a confirmed
atheist, although his religious beliefs were undocumented. Holbein probably died of the plague
in the fall of 1543.
Andrea Pozzo was born in Trento on November 30, 1642. He became a Jesuit
lay brother in 1665 but was allowed, even encouraged, to continue painting.
He was best known for his perspective frescoes and his artistic
contributions. The majority of his work was inspired by the church, including
many altarpieces and ceiling vaults. He wrote a few brochures about painting which
have been translated into many languages. Pozzo died in Vienna on August 31, 1709.
van Eyck, Jan
Van Eyck was born around 1390, in Maaseych, Netherlands. Little is known about
him before 1422, when he was assumed to be in his late twenties or early thirties. The
majority of his surviving works were from the last ten years of his life. Jan
worked at the courts of both Duke John of Bavaria and Duke Philip of Burgundy.
As the court painter, he had to paint portraits and decorations,
design costumes and ornamentation for tournaments, ceremonies and festivals.
He also painted shields, stain banners, and color statues. Jan van Eyck
was more than just a painter. The Duke of Burgundy often sent him on secret
missions to destinations unknown. In October of 1428, van Eyck was sent to
paint a portrait of Princess Isabella to convince Philip to marry her. Philip
later married Isabella on January 8, 1430. Around 1433, van Eyck married a
woman named Margaret. They had at least two children. Jan van Eyck died in 1441,
Van Hoogstraten, Samuel
Samuel van Hoogstraten, born in 1627, was a pupil of Rembrandt. Van Hoogstraten's
writings were a primary source of Rembrant's school. Along with the accounts, van
Hoogstraten also included many criticisms of Rembrandt's paintings. He also studied
under another pupil of Rembrandt, Carl Fabritius. Fabritius experimented with convex
mirrors in paintings.
Van Hoogstraten, a "trompe l'oeil" artist, created a
series of peepshow boxes. These
incredible boxes were extremely popular during his time.
Jan Vermeer, a Dutch artist, was born in 1632, and often called Vermeer van Delft to
distinguish him from an earlier Jan Vermeer. He lived in the town of Delft his entire
life. Vermeer, a painstaking worker, produced only about 40 known paintings. His
paintings were known for their soft light and slightly blurred outlines. His work is
also associated with the camera obscura, although
recently his use of this device has come into question. The perspective of his paintings
was so precise, however, that computer models of his room have been generated, adding
substance to the theory he used the camera obscura in his work.