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The Sculpture in the Middle Ages

65). Altarpieces and altar figures were now given more attention than the works that formed their background. Individual pieces were more in demand and were placed in private chapels and homes. Works were still often very much linked to architecture, but even then late Gothic sculpture maintained its formal independence. Vyverberg cites the two column figures from Cologne, The Virgin and Christ: "Their elegance echoes the rather previous mannerism of the countless carved madonnas of this era that were destined for church and home, and contrasts emphatically with the solemnity of High Gothic monumental sculpture" (p. 66). These statues were painted, which was true of nearly all northern stone and wooden sculpture of the era. The painting of sculpture was itself an art held in high regard: "This much of late medieval sculptural practice, at least, was solidly traditional, although the uses and spirit of sculpture were markedly changing" (p. 66).

Another change cited by Vyverberg was the revival of the forthright, individualized sort of portraiture that had seldom been seen since pagan Rome. Some see this as deriving from a funerary custom, but Vyverberg sees this as only encouraging a process that was already well under way. He cites Claus Sluter's portrait statue of Philip the Bold, which knelt by the doorway of the Chartreuse de Champmol, and he sees this as a case of individualized portraiture antedating most funerary images (pp. 65-66).

During the Renaissance, sculpture in the fifteenth century seemed to be experiencing less inner pressure toward innovation than were some of the other arts. Models of the time were more literal in nature, and some see this as a classical influence. Vyverberg sees the issue differently because the trend of the most memorable monuments of the age were away from classicism (p. 113). The sculptor who would create many of the greatest works of the age was Michelangelo. His sculpture turned...

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