NORTHERN GOTHIC SCULPTURE AND PAINTING.
IT is from an architectural standpoint or through architectural associations that the northern Gothic sculpture and painting are best approached. The Gothic pictures (mainly known to us through work of the Flemings and Germans) have a crude and awkward appearance when transferred to a modern picture gallery and divorced from the altars and shrines of the cathedrals which they once decorated. It is in the few cases where the old association has been preserved that we can best value their purpose and consequently their art. As for the Gothic sculpture of the North, it was so wholly architectural in association that it is impossible even to mention it apart from the buildings it decorated.
We have seen under what peculiar limitations the early Christian art began its history -- limitations of prejudice against that study of the nude form and of anatomy, which is indispensable to the science of the artist; limitations of indifference to physical beauty or appearances of natural illusion; limitations of the antique art decadence; limitations of barbarism; and limitations of Byzantine tradition.* The first dawning efforts of independence are dated from the eleventh and twelfth centuries† but had not gone far when the Gothic period opened. We have seen that barbarism of sculptured design was still general throughout____________________