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Styles & Periods

Styles & Periods

International Gothic

The art of Italy and its northern contemporaries came together in 1400, and the combined artistic traditions became a dominant style of Gothic Art called the Beautiful, or International Style. Though sculpture certainly saw the effects of the movement, painting dominated. Much of the grandeur that was present in earlier works was replaced by a subdued, elegant aesthetic. This refined style portrays stunning costumes, borrowed from the shared influence of the Byzantines. A growing interest in realism is evident in many works of the International Gothic period, and some details are painted in such a realistic manner as to suggest that they were observed from life. The concentration of detail on large panels was unprecedented and made the work seem like enlarged miniatures at times. Finally, the International Style is characterized by an assigning of symbolism to objects represented within the canvases. Lilies stood for Mary’s virginity, and architectural cues spoke to Old and New Testaments. The Adoration of the Magi, completed by Gentile da Fabriano in 1423, is considered to be the pinnacle of International Gothic achievement, and is seen by some as the style's last definitive breath before it was absorbed by the oncoming Early Renaissance.


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