Altarpieces had an evolution during the period. At the beginning they consisted of just one piece but later on mobile lateral pieces were added. These made possible to close the altar. During the 14th century the most common is a rigid altarpiece with several parts. In this model, there is a base of smaller size than the rest of the woods, the bank or predella. The rest is organise horizontally in bodies and vertically in streets, separated by inter-streets. The technique used in these works is temple, in which egg or glue obtained from animal bones is used to prepare the colours. From the 15th century and on oil painting, which uses oil to link the colours and invented by Flemish painters became the most used.
In the evolution of Gothic painting there are four periods: Lineal Gothic or French Gothic (13th century), Italian Gothic or Trecento (14th century), International style (14th century) and Flemish style (15th century).
Lineal Gothic or French style.
It began in the 13th century and continued until mid 14th, living together with the Italian Gothic at its end. It is characterised by the importance given to the drawing lines, which are those limiting the colour masses. These colours are intense, being this intensity more important than the hues. In the subjects there is a trend to naïf naturalism, simple scenes, easy to be understood. It searched for a gentle art, related to the thinking way of the time. The main depictions appear in wall painting, wood painting and miniature.
Italian Gothic or Trecento.
It appeared in Italy in the 13th century and expanded all over Europe in the 14th. There is an interest for deepness that led to pay attention to classical perspective, to study the human body and importance is given to the light in relation to the colours. On the other hand, the development of Franciscan religiosity led to the depiction of the feeling, trying to move the spectator. Each work adopt an intellectual character. In the 13th century in Tuscany Christ is depicted in a very stylised way with his body curved and painted on a wood with cross shape in which the lateral parts are wider to paint other smaller characters. There are also elongated woods arranged as altarpieces with the image of the saint in bigger size in the centre while the rest of the images are organised in bands. In Siena and Florence there are others schools where the basis for the following Renaissance are settled.
With this style started the pictorial evolution of the 15th century even when its beginnings are at the end of the 14th, reaching to its peak at mid century, while Renaissance started to develop in Italy. This style appeared in Central Europe from the fusion of the forms of the lineal Gothic and the Italian Gothic. Its main characteristics are the importance given to the anecdote and the expressive, the stylization of the images, the recourse to the curved line in the abundant draperies and the movement, the trend to introduce apparently naturalistic details but with a symbolic character. All this is made with a detailed technique. This style had an important development in the courts of Berry and Burgundy, and with especial interest in the miniature, which is the basis for the Flemish style. In Spain this style had an important influence in Aragon, with schools in Valence, Catalonia and it was also developed in Castile.
Flemish style: Primitive Flemish painters.
It began at the end of the first quart of the 15th century and it is an evolution from the international style. The main characteristic is the use of oil to link the colours, which supposed the apparition of oil painting. With this colours are vivid, more brilliant, transparencies can be created and composite colours appear. Works acquired complexity and detail. Anything can be depicted, the same a human feature that a sinble plant. This style evolved during the period. The most representative authors were Jan Van Eyck and Roger Van der Weyden. In Spain this style was largely developed with works of great quality mainly in Catalonia but later on it expanded to Valence, Balears , Cordoba and Castile.