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    The Artist At Work Gallery 1 - Part 4

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      The Artist At Work ... Photo 1295_gpr Photo 1296_gpr Photo 1299_gpr Photo 1300_gpr

      Michael Wolgemut Nuremberg, Germany, 1434/37–1519 *Saint Luke Painting the Virgin and Child*, from the *Weltchronik*, or *Liber Chronicarum* [*The Nuremberg Chronicle*]", 1493 Woodcut with hand coloring Gift of Tobey C. Moss, 2005.64

      Dirk Vellert Amsterdam, The Netherlands (?) 1480/85 – Antwerp, Belgium, after 1547 *Saint Luke Painting the Virgin*, 1526 Engraving The Leo Steinberg Collection, 2002.2045

      Jacob Matham Haarlem, The Netherlands, 1571–1631 *Saint Luke Painting the Virgin*, after a design by Hendrick Goltzius, circa 1614 Engraving The Leo Steinberg Collection, 2002.2043 Saint Luke is known as the patron saint of artists because, according to medieval tradition, he painted the Virgin and Child on several occasions. Many painters’ guilds and academies were therefore dedicated to Saint Luke, and his story was a popular subject among artists. Whether Luke painted the Virgin and Child from life or from a holy vision varies between accounts and artistic depictions, as seen here. Both Michael Wolgemut and Jacob Matham depict Luke at an easel that bears his painting of the Virgin and Child, but neither includes the models, leaving the viewer to imagine the exact nature of Luke’s encounter with them. Dirk Vellert, on the other hand, clearly shows the Virgin seated on the floor of Luke’s studio, with her son in her lap. This composition creates a remarkably down-to-earth image of Saint Luke’s artistic meeting with these holy figures and suggests the special relationship artists can have with the divine.

      **Crafting Artistic Identity** Prior to the Renaissance, European artists were typically regarded as akin to craftsmen: people who executed their work following traditional patterns or patrons’ requests with little room for creative innovation. Over the course of the sixteenth century, however, artists began to claim an elevated status, arguing that the visual arts of painting, drawing, sculpting, and printmaking were intellectual—rather than simply manual—pursuits that required unique talent. Artists were largely successful in convincing the public that they were worthy of such esteem. During this period, patrons began to request the work of artists based not only on their technical skill, but also on their distinctive visual style, demonstrating a new awareness of the different aesthetic qualities of individual artists’ hands. Artists’ appeals for public interest manifested in numerous ways, from simply signing their work (a practice which was not commonplace until the Renaissance) to disseminating portraits of themselves. Portraiture transforms artists into icons—marketable personalities worth remembering. Artists also immortalized themselves in allegorical depictions utilizing classical and Christian imagery. Whether triumphantly ascending Mount Parnassus or painting a vision of the Virgin and Child, artists claimed their talents made them virtuous and thus worthy of attention and admiration.

      **Elaboración de la identidad artística** Antes del Renacimiento, solía considerarse a los artistas europeos como una suerte de artesanos, que ejecutaban su obra siguiendo patrones tradicionales o las solicitudes de sus mecenas, dando poco lugar a la creatividad. Sin embargo, a lo largo del siglo XVI, los artistas comenzaron a reivindicar para sí mismos un estatus elevado, con el argumento de que las artes visuales de la pintura, el dibujo, la escultura y grabado eran ocupaciones intelectuales—y no sencillamente manuales— que requerían de un talento único. Y, en gran medida, lograron convencer al público de que eran dignos de semejante consideración. Durante este periodo, los mecenas comenzaron a solicitar obras de artistas no sólo sobre la base de sus habilidades técnicas, sino también de su característico estilo visual, lo que demostraba una nueva conciencia acerca de las distintas cualidades estéticas de la destreza individual de los artistas. La apelación de los artistas al interés público se manifestó de diversas maneras, desde el simple acto de firmar sus obras (una práctica que no era común antes del Renacimiento) a la difusión de sus propios retratos. Los retratos transformaron a los artistas en íconos, personalidades comercializables dignas de ser recordadas. Los artistas también se inmortalizaron en representaciones alegóricas utilizando imaginería clásica y cristiana. Ya fuera que se los viera ascendiendo triunfantes el monte Parnaso o pintando una imagen de la Virgen y el Niño, los artistas aseguraban que su talento era sinónimo de virtud y, por tanto, digno de atención y admiración.

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