The Catholic Reformation and the Baroque Style

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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With the Counter Reformation, the church dedicated itself against protestants. For this, it took several action such as not allowing more corruption among the members, founded new religious orders to strengthen the institution. Among the cultural manifestations of the Catholic Reformation in Europe was the development of the Baroque style in Art.

Ignatius Loyola in the 1530s, he founded the Society of Jesus , which was the most important of the many new monastic orders associated with the Catholic Reformation, he believed that God was the absolute reality and that it was the responsibility of the teachers and the school communities to familiarize their students with educational reforms and moral discipline, under his leadership, the Jesuit order became the most influential missionary society of early modern times.

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Baroque art, mainly in painting and sculpture had the function of spreading the Catholic creed among ordinary people, it became a fundamental means to transmit the values of the conception of the Catholic world. Baroque artistic expressions are characterized by its attractive forms and its exclusively religious theme, this artistic style dominated much of the sixteenth century and spread through the European Catholic countries, as well as the New World because Spain, the most powerful religious catholic country immediately accepted the Baroque Style. Another aspect of Baroque painting is the dynamism in the characters that represent those who gave themselves an expression of movement where drama was captured instantly having expressions such as joy or sadness.

Caravaggio was a leading italian painter in the seventeenth century that made mainly religious paintings. However, he often scandalized and his canvases would be rejected by his clients due to not so proper paintings. Instead of looking for ethereal figures to represent the Bible, Caravaggio preferred to chose his models from among the people in the streets. When the main elements of the Renaissance began to enter into crisis, the mannerism meant a progressive abandonment of the proportion of the figures, of the perspective and the expressions. Another famous painter known as “El Greco” would use unique characteristics in his art allowing to identify his paintings at first sight, taking the expressiveness of the forms to a higher level.

In the Baroque standout the architecture was the dynamism and the search of the concessionary movement of ornamentation, this was sought to give the impression of movements in the construction, contrasting the Renaissance Classicism. The sculpture is another of the characteristics of the baroque that was distinguished by the tendency of naturalism distinguishing itself from Renaissance sculptural art, an example of sculptures that were influenced by the Baroque era are the arts of Bernini in Italy. Bernini was one of the best architects of the Roman Baroque, he would use light as an outstanding metaphoric resource that completed his works. One of his most important contributions to Baroque religious sculpture was his multimedia masterpiece “The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa”. Francesco Borromini was another great Italian architect considered one of the greatest exponents of Roman Baroque.

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In the sixteenth century we have the period called musical Renaissance, which was the Golden age of vocal polyphony. This occurred when the instrumental music had just began its independent trajectory. Giovanni Gabrieli was the principal organist at Saint Marks Cathedral, he was a very a very original composer and is considered an important figure in the transition between Renaissance and the Baroque music, being also one of the first composers to specify instruments for each part of a musical composition.

The history of the Opera corresponds essentially to the Baroque movement, it had its antecedents in diverse forms of representation that came from the middle ages and the Renaissance, it originated in Italy, it emerged out of Renaissance efforts to revive the music-drama of ancient Greek theater. Claudio Monteverdi was the first master of Baroque music-drama, Orfeo was Monteverdi’s first opera and one of first full length operas in music history.

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The Catholic Reformation and the Baroque Style. (2019, Aug 27). Retrieved from