The Northern indicate the northern region from Italy which was the culture center of Europe then.
In Europe Renaissance, except Italy, new culture and art also emerged in other countries and regions. The Nederland and Germany became new prosperous places in Europe Renaissance.
From the 15th century to the early stage of the 16th century, Nederland was the only place that could be mentioned together with Italy. When Italy broke the Middle Age shackles and developing fast, the Nederland was still in the late stage of Gothic art. But Nederland art contributed to Europe paintings by their unique art style. Generally speaking, the Renaissance movement features were all struggles between world outlooks of humanism that composted of real man and the religions of gods. In different nations and culture background, the art development had their special characters. Italy Renaissance was based on the rich ancient Greece and ancient Roma civilization then shacked off the shackles of Middle Ages. Nederland had only the Gothic art of Middle Ages that lead the heavy religion manner in their early stage of the Renaissance. In that time, the Nederland paintings were solemn; the figures in paintings were not vivid and lively. But in another aspect, the painting artists aroused interest in customs life and environment. Their oil paintings showed realistic style some time. Italy was in maritime climate. The walls of the religion building had big space for murals. In Nederland, the climate was damp and the Gothic buildings had more windows with small walls that were not suitable for mural paintings. That’s why in Nederland, the easel paintings were popular. The oil paintings were normally in small sizes and well finished in fine art style.
The Miniature, adapted the initially, artists covered oil pigment on the well used painting colors; then the paintings were named as oil painting. After that, artist Jan van Eyck brothers improved the oil painting pigments and finally invented a kind of megilp with stable volatilize speed and stable characters. The pigments were added in the megilp, then the oil and pigment could absorb light, the translucent colors looked very bright. The natural light was well showed in the paintings. Jan van Eyck was the representative artist of Northern Gothic painting. He composed many objects and figures in the real light and shade. Jan van Eyck invented oil painting. We can find some Gothic painting style in his paintings, but he had been influenced by Italy Renaissance greatly. We can see that in the first half of the 16th century, the Gothic art and Renaissance were developed together in Northern Europe. That’s why Jan Van Eyck is also regarded as an artist of Northern Renaissance. After the invention of the painting skill, the western paintings were changed and improved completely.
Other important Northern Renaissance artists include Albrecht Durer, Matthias Grunewald, Hans Holbein the Younger, and Pieter Bruegel the Elder.