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Second Paper Assignment

Paper due on Tuesday, October 19


Write a 3 to 5 page paper on one of the following topics:


Jan Van Eyck, The Rolin Madonna, 1435.

Rogier van der Weyden, St. Luke Drawing the Virgin, 1435-1440.


Artists working in Northern Europe at the beginning of the fifteenth century had the option of working within two different contexts. They could work within the tradition of the craftsmen in the medieval guild system or they could become a member of an aristocratic household and be a court artist. Rogier van der Weyden was the town painter for Brussels. He possibly painted his St. Luke Drawing the Virgin as his "masterpiece" when he gained his position as the head of the painter's guild. Van Eyck was the court painter for Philip the Good, the Duke of Burgundy. He painted his Rolin Madonna for Nicolas Rolin, the Chancellor for the Duke of Burgundy. Compare these two works and demonstrate how they reflect the different social positions of the artists.


Ghiberti, Sacrifice of Isaac.

Brunelleschi, Sacrifice of Isaac.


A major event in the development of fifteenth century Florentine art was the Baptistry Door competition. This competition can be seen to be between competing artistic visions as well as competing attitudes about the conception of the artist. The panels for the two major rivals, Ghiberti and Brunelleschi, are still extant as well as biographical accounts of the competition. Compare and contrast these panels and articulate the different attitudes of the artists evident in this competition.

Bring a draft of your paper to the class on Thursday, October 14 to be workshopped. The revised paper is due on Tuesday, October 19.