• By the early 1500s, many people in Western Europe were growing
increasingly dissatisfied with the Christian Church. Many found the
Pope too involved with secular (worldly) matters, rather than with his
flocks spiritual well-being. Lower church officials were poorly
educated and broke vows by living richly and keeping mistresses.
Some officials practiced simony, or passing down their title as priest
or bishop to their illegitimate sons. In keeping with the many social
changes of the Renaissance people began to boldly challenge the
authority of the Christian Church.
Martin Luther and his 95 Theses
• A German monk by the name of Martin Luther was particularly
bothered by the selling of indulgences. An indulgence, a religious
pardon that released a sinner from performing specific penalties,
could be bought from a church official for various fees. Martin Luther
was especially troubled because some church officials gave people
the impression that they could buy their way into heaven. To express
his growing concern of church corruption, Martin Luther wrote his
famous 95 Theses, which called for a full reform of the Christian
Church. In it, he stressed the following points:
• The Pope is a false authority. The bible
was the one true authority.
• All people with faith in Christ were equal.
People did not need priest and bishops
to interpret the bible for them. They could
read it themselves and make up their
• People could only win salvation by faith
in God's forgiveness. The Church taught
that faith, along with good works was
needed for salvation.
LUCAS CRANACH THE ELDER, Allegory of Law and Grace, ca. 1530. Woodcut, 10 5/8” x 1’ 3/4”. British Museum, London.
Thirty Years’ War
The Thirty Years' War (1618–1648)
was fought primarily in what is now
Germany, and at various points
involved most countries in Europe.
It was one of the longest and most
destructive conflicts in European
history. The conflict lasted,
unceasing, for 30 years, making it
the longest continuous war in
The Counter Reformation
• Attempts by the Catholic church
and secular Catholic authorities to
stem the flow of Protestantism and
reform some of the worst excesses
of medieval Catholicism.
• Art was used as a tool of
• The seventeenth-century period in Europe characterized in
the visual arts by dramatic light and shade, turbulent
composition, and exaggerated expression.
What is Baroque?
•Art produced from the end of the 16th to early 18th
•Stresses emotional, rather than intellectual responses;
– Grew out of the tug-of-war between Protestant Reformation
(Northern Europe) and Counter Reformation (Italy)
•Artists tried to persuade to the faithful through dramatic
•Used by “absolute” rulers (popes and kings) to
overwhelm and awe
Culture of Baroque Era
•Wealthy middle class continues to pursue strong
patronage of arts
•Buildings, painting, sculpture continue to be adapted
– Still lifes and genre paintings (everyday life) emerge
•Science begins to challenge religion, Earth is not
center of the universe
•Workshops begin to churn out copies of popular
•Value on the original work is a modern notion
A child prodigy who the pope
demanded an audience of
Deemed the “Michelangelo” of
His David is hailed as the first
Baroque sculpture – it depicts
a dramatic moment and
involves the audience (many
ducked when seeing the
statue for the first time)
Bernini and St. Peters
•Bernini also was responsible for the courtyard
extending in front of the basilica
•From Bramante’s original central plan design to the
extensions made by Maderno, Bernini unified these
•Two curved porticoes extended like the “motherly arms
of the Church”
alternate view Aerial view of Saint Peter’s, Vatican City, Rome, Italy, 1506–1666.
Aerial view of Saint Peter’s, Vatican City, Rome, Italy. Piazza designed by GIANLORENZO BERNINI, 1656-1667.
GIANLORENZO BERNINI, Fountain of the Four Rivers, Piazza Navona, Rome, Italy, 1648–1651. Travertine and marble figures, granite
Teresa of Ávila
In the cloister, she suffered greatly from illness.
Early in her sickness, she experienced periods of
religious ecstasy through the use of the devotional
book "Tercer abecedario espiritual.
She claimed that during her illness she rose from
the lowest stage, "recollection", to the "devotions
of silence" or even to the "devotions of ecstasy",
which was one of perfect union with God. During
this final stage, she said she frequently
experienced a rich "blessing of tears." As the
Catholic distinction between mortal and venial sin
became clear to her, she says she came to
understand the awful terror of sin and the inherent
nature of original sin. She also became conscious
of her own natural impotence in confronting sin,
and the necessity of absolute subjection to God.
GIANLORENZO BERNINI, inerior of the
Cornaro Chapel, Santa Maria della vittoria,
Rome, Italy, 1645-1652.
GIANLORENZO BERNINI, Ecstasy of Saint Teresa,
Cornaro Chapel, Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome, Italy,
1645–1652. Marble, height of group 11’ 6”.
•Recast biblical scenes or themes in new light
•Used naturalism but instead did not idealize the
•Accentuates the “sinner” or the lower classes in his
•Strong use of light with deep pockets of shadow -
•Strong personality, thrived in Roman underground
scene – nec spe nec metu
CARAVAGGIO, Musicians, ca. 1595. Oil on canvas, 3’ 1/4" X 3’ 10 5/8”. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (Rogers Fund, 1952).
• From the Italian tenebroso ("murky"), (also called
dramatic illumination) is a style of painting using
very pronounced chiaroscuro, where there are
violent contrasts of light and dark, and darkness
becomes a dominating feature of the image.
Spanish painters in the early seventeenth century
who were influenced by the work of Caravaggio
have been called Tenebrists, although they did
not form a distinct group.
CARAVAGGIO, Calling of Saint Matthew, ca. 1597–1601. Oil on canvas, 11’ 1” x 11’ 5”. Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi,
ARTEMISIA GENTILESCHI, Self-Portrait as the
Allegory of Painting, ca. 1638–1639. Oil on canvas,
3’ 2 7/8” X 2’ 5 5/8”. Royal Collection, Kensington
•Charles V abdicates Holy Roman Empire throne in
– The Western portion (Spain, American colonies,
Netherlands, Burgundy, Milan, Naples and Sicily) go to his
son Phillip II
– The Eastern portion (Germany and Austria) go to his
•Even as Spain’s gold imports lessen from New World,
and eventual bankruptcy in 1692, this is known as
Golden Age of Spain
•The artwork tends to support heavily the Catholic
Church and the Habsburgs liked the use of strong
dramatic effect and lighting
Spain: Hapsburg Empire
• 16th century: dominant power in
Europe-(Portugal, pt. Italy,
Netherlands, New World)
• 17th Century: 1660 Hapsburg Empire
– failure to capitalize on trade
– Catholic and repressive
– King Philip
• Religious fanaticism
• Counter Reformation
– Religious scenes of death and
– Realistic details and tenebrism
DIEGO VELÁZQUEZ, King Philip IV of Spain
JOSÉ DE RIBERA, Martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew, ca. 1639. Oil on canvas, 7’ 8” x 7’ 8”. Museo del Prado, Madrid.
Leading artist in the court of
King Phillip IV
Because of Velasquez' great
skill in merging color, light,
space, rhythm of line, and mass
in such a way that all have
equal value, he was known as
"the painter's painter.”
Master realist, and few painters
have surpassed him in the
ability to seize essential features
and fix them on canvas with a
few broad, sure strokes.
DIEGO VELÁZQUEZ, Water Carrier of Seville,
ca. 1619. Oil on canvas, 3’ 5 1/2” x 2’ 7 1/2”.
Victoria & Albert Museum, London.
• Hung in the kings private quarters
• The Mystery of the visual world
– Canvas image
– Mirror image
– Optical images, not forms
• Dual theme
– Family portrait
• Genre scene
– Self portrait-The Artists studio
• Wearing illustrious order of