Gothic artists

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Pablo Picasso
Artists from the 1200s through to 1800 are considered to be ‘Old Masters’ although the definition of both artists and this time period are disputed. However, whatever the genre – these artists generally fall under the entire Renaissance movement which developed the Middle Ages.
The early Byzantine artists focused mainly on religious themes and during the late 1100s through to the mid 1400s we see the first notables like Giotto, Bosch and Dürer emerging. Their style is more ‘human’ in its approach, with less gold and far more vivid colouring. These works are sometimes referred to as being Gothic in style where great attention is paid to detailed symbolism. The paintings were often narrative and the fashion at one time was to present them as three panels – known as a triptych – which read from left to right. These early artists had not yet begun to explore human anatomy but their work displays a variety of human emotion in the facial expressions.
The architecture of this period is elaborate and intricate and many buildings – mainly churches of which Notre Dame is an example – are still standing.
Please click on the links page to see further illustrations of the work of artists and architectecture as well as more in depth biographical details.

GOTHIC ARTISTS (±1100 TO ±1450)


Florence, Italy 1266/7-1337
Giotto painted 38 frescoes (paintings done on fresh wet plaster) as well as being the architect of the campanile at the Florence Cathedra
The Arena Chapel Camponile
The Arena Chapel The Camponile (Belltower) at the Florence Cathedral
INTERESTING FACT: The Giotto spacecraft, launched in 1985, was the European Space Agency’s first deep space mission and was set to study Halley’s Comet – the flyby being recorded on 14 March 1986. It was named for Giotto who had used the comet as a model for the Star of Bethlehem in his 1304 painting “Adoration of the Magi”
Adoration of the Magi Adoration of the Magi

HIERONYMOUS BOSCH (±1450 – 1516)

Hieronymous Bosch Netherlands
Eric van Schaaik, writer and presenter of an animated feature called Hieronymous which is the story of a young rock ‘n roll artist living in an oppressed world has this to say of Bosch, “I call him the first heavy-metal artist.”
Although his talent is unquestionable, throughout the centuries, analysis of Bosch’s work is varied with wide-ranging interpretations of the obscurity of his symbolism. The latest research, however, presents Bosch as one of the first representatives of the abstract form as well as having an incredible insight into human nature.
INTERESTING FACT: “I’ve always thought of L.A. as the modern version of The Garden of Earthly Delights,” says author Michael Connelly who named his detective, ‘Harry’ Bosch, after the artist.
Garden of Earthly Delights Seven Deadly Sins Gluttony
Garden of Earthly Delights The Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things Gluttony


Dürer was a talented painter, draftsman and writer but is best known for his engravings and woodcuts which he took to a new level. Woodcuts were used to illustrate books but Dürer developed them into an art form giving them depth and perspective.
Albrecht Dürer Rhinocerys Six Knot Pattern
Netherlands Rhinocerys A six-knot pattern for embroidery
Dürer also excelled at watercolours.
Praying Hands Squirrels Pond
Praying Hands Pond Squirrels