Accueil Polychromies Secrètes
musée des Augustins
Mairie Toulouse

A late gothic art

Detail of Nostre Dame de Grasse,
after restoration.

Photo : Daniel Martin

Detail of the Parliament's Crucifixion,
after restoration
Photo : Daniel Martin
The second half of the 15th Century (in which our two works are placed) was a time of transition from the Gothic to the Renaissance period.

The adjective Gothic was initially used to describe an architectural style which developed in Ile-de-France in about 1140 (that of the cathedrals). The name, invented by artists during the Renaissance, referred to the Goths, the barbarians who knew nothing about Classic art, and was pejorative in origin.

In the 15th Century, Gothic art became a court art, refined and precious. Religious subjects became less impersonal while secular subjects multiplied. In the 15th Century, the almost unreal elegance of the forms and the decorative profusion of this style were counterbalanced by a new concern for realism influenced by the Flemish style and the discovery of perspective, a contribution from the Italian Renaissance.

Notre-Dame de Grasse clearly belongs to this late Gothic style. The style of the Crucifixion du Parlement de Toulouse is more difficult to define: perspective has not been mastered in the cross or the donors’ prie-dieux, but the landscape has depth and the figures volume, and the foreshortening of the white horse at the centre of the panel is remarkable; moreover, the faces of the Christ and Saint John are highly individualized.