A new exhibition at The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse celebrates the Renaissance in northern Europe, the counterpart to the revolution in art and scholarship that took place in Italy during the 15th and 16th centuries. Examples by the great masters Hans Memling, Quinten Massys and Albrecht Dürer are among over 100 paintings, drawings, prints, manuscripts, miniatures and sculpture on display. The period was dominated by the intense rivalry between the Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor, the kings of France and Henry VIII of England. Political ambitions were mirrored by fierce competition between rulers to attract the best artists to their courts – among them Lucas Cranach the Elder, François Clouet, Leonardo da Vinci and Hans Holbein the Younger.
While monarchs vied for territorial power, reformers questioned the central tenets of Christian faith and scholars sought greater understanding of their world. At the heart of this new thinking was the challenge to the teachings of the Catholic Church initiated by Martin Luther. Artists responded by turning from emotive devotional subject-matter to portraiture and mythology, producing works of ingenuity, beauty and superb technical skill.
The exhibition is accompanied by the catalogue The Northern Renaissance: Dürer to Holbein by Kate Heard and Lucy Whitaker, with contributions by Jennifer Scott, Emma Stuart, Vanessa Remington, Martin Clayton and Jonathan Marsden. (Royal Collection Publications, hardback, 256 pages, 190 illustrations). Price £39.95 fromRoyal Collection shops and online.
A mini exhibition catalogue by Leah Kharibian (Royal Collection Publications, 156 pages, 130 illustrations) is also available. Price £9.95 from Royal Collection shopsand online. Preview the exhibition online in the exhibition microsite.