Pretty medieval manuscript of the day is a lavishly illustrated Franciscan breviary. The historiated initial shows David with his harp. The border contains fantastical creatures, and owls, and dragons, and naked figures fighting, and angels bearing coats of arms, and… well really there is just so much going on here that the best thing you can do is take a proper close-up look! If this image isn’t high res enough for you, check out the original over on Flickr.
Albrecht Durer was a painter, engraver, and woodcut artist in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in Germany during the Northern Renaissance in Germany, France, and the Netherlands. The Northern Renaissance differed greatly from the Renaissance movement to the south. Although the same rich use of color was often used in oil painting, Northern Renaissance paintings were often more somber, clinging to the Gothic elements of design that never really took hold in the Italian states. Durer in particular was fond of darker themes, such as his Apocalypse series, that reflect the influence of the Gothic.
Northern Renaissance artists were less concerned with scientific proportions and proper anatomy than they were with the wholesome appearance of their works. Secular themes were also more prominent than in the highly Church-dominated southern part of Europe.
Albrecht Durer spent a year in Italy from 1494 to 1495 and worked to fuse classical Italian art forms with German humanist ideas. He illustrated Biblical as well as mythological scenes, and did several excellent studies of the human figure. He used a burin to add detail and complexity to his engravings, although the actual engraving would have been carried out by a specialist in his workshop. He did a number of oil paintings as well, but his sketches, engravings, and woodcuts are my favorite mediums of his.