Baroque Art and Architecture (Final revision)
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Baroque Art and Architecture (Final revision)
In Europe, whose impact on the world was increasing- the 17 th century was characterized by wides pread conflict and instability - called by som e historians the "General Crisis"- d ue to the Reformation Movement , and th e Counter-Reformation reaction. But the century is also characterized by the "Scientific Revolution" (end of Renaissance through late 18 th century: development in math, physics, astronomy, biology, anatomy, and chemistry ) which changed views on nature and influenced the socio-political "Enlightenment" movement.
B y then Europe was trading with and also spreading its colonization activities in the Americas, Africa, and in Asia. The leading politi cal power in Europe was France where the king became a dictator. In England, on the other hand, the king became a symbolic figurehead and Parliament became the dominant force in the government, in contrast with all world governments at the time. Despite its vast empire, Spain was experiencing internal weakness both economically and politically due to decentrali zed power, poor taxation policy, and a long list of weak kings. In the (then) Islamic world, the Safavids in Iran, Ottomans in Turkey, and Mughals in India, grew in economic and military strength, In Japan the Edo period started the Isolationist policy; in China the Ming Dynasty collapsed giving way to the Manchu Qing Dynasty.
Luther (1483-1546), a German priest and professor of theology initiated the Protestant Reformation against t he Catholic Church in 1517. The philosophy of the Reformation contrasted with that of the Renaissance. Instead of glorifying human nature, it followed traditional religious thought that believed in man's potential to do evil over good. The Reformation advocated living according to the New Testament, and a more ega litarian and spiritual Church. This politico-religious movement started in Germany and quickly spread in North Europe. The Peasants supp orted the Reformation movement, as they were subject to maltreatment and heavy taxation by the landlords who were linked/associated with the Catholic C hurch.
The Counter-Reformation was the official Catholic reaction to the rise of Protestantism. Counter-R eformation began with the Council of Trent (1545-1563), which met in 25 sessions to decide active steps on how to stop the spread of Protestantism. Among these steps was the expansion of the Inquisition, which was the institution within the judicial system of the Catholic Church specialized in fighting heresy.
The Church also started a huge campaign of sponsoring art as instrument of propaganda. So, Baroque art is a style that emerged during the 1600s as part of the Counter-Reformation educational and propagandistic campaign. Painting, sculpture and architecture were designed especially to visually "enter" into the spectator's space, dramatically, almost aggressively.
In content Baroque art is characterized by: (1) depiction of religious subjects in contemporary settings, (2) deliberate evocation of emotional response (3) the use of clear, easily interpreted detail to produce theatrical drama, tension, e xuberance and ecstasy, and (4) Baroque often sought to tell the whole story by showing its most exciting, climactic moment. (5) in addition to the traditional religious subject, artists sought increasingly themes such as portraiture, still life and genre paintings.
In form Baroque art is characterized by the use of curvaceous and diagonal lines to depict movement, dramatically lit compositions, and strong chiaroscuro (shading). Its basic Patronage was the Catholic Church, but also the aristocracy and the merchant class. It is an art style that began in Rome and spread to most of Europe.
In our lectures we will be looking at Rome ( architecture, sculpture and painting), the Dutch Republic (painting), and Spain (painting).
Rome city-state during the Counter-Reforma tion period (at its peak during the late 1500s ) was strictly controlled by the Papacy. Ghettos for Jews were started, the Inquisition building was expanded to house more torture-chambers and prisons. All pomp was removed from the court; cardinals and bishops were forced to live in the city. Breaking the rules was severely punished. Among the most dominant figures during that period was Carlo Borromeo , who despite his fanaticism was popular with the people, because he aimed more to correct than to punish.
The patronage of the Church and the aristocratic Roman families allied with the papacy -such
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