Reformation and Art Essay

The corruptness and immorality of the Church spurred the Christian Reform motion in Europe, finally taking to the “ 100 old ages of civil war between Protestants and Catholics ” or the Protestant Reformation. The Counter- Reformation began with the Pope Paul III ‘s naming of the Council of Trent in response to Protestant rebellion ; this motion was initiated by the Church ‘s effort to re-establish its power as the lone true Church of Christ while lenifying the current upset every bit good. The creative activity of these two rivaling motions jeopardized the Roman Catholic Church ‘s absolute authorization in Europe, spliting it into the parts of the Protestant North and Catholic South. Influenced by these two opposing motions, the North and South branched out into different waies in footings of its civilization and artistic manner of painting. They developed alone manner of picture, picturing differing subjects, manners, and contents based on their dissimilar beliefs. What influence did the reform motions have on the pictures from the South of the Alps, the North of the Alps, and the Netherlands and were the creative persons from these parts inspired by each other despite the divergency in their manners? The pictures by the creative persons from the South of the Alps would most probably been influenced by the Counter- Reformation, while the plants produced from the other two parts would reflect the influence of the Protestant – Reformation due to their geographical locations. Therefore, the content and intent of the plants from these parts should differ but some similarities may be in the creative persons ‘ picture techniques because it was common for creative persons to go to Rome during this clip. It is interesting to analyse how the manner in 16th and seventeenth Century Europe was shaped by the spiritual disparity and the development of new thoughts which were reflected in the pictures. Since it is inaccurate to generalise the whole European continent into merely two subdivisions, I decided to contract down my subject by concentrating on the South of the Alps, the North of the Alps, and the Netherlands. I chose to analyze these parts because the South of the Alps was the centre of Counter- Reformation strongly embraced by the Roman Catholic Church, while the North of the Alps was the birth topographic point of the Protestantism. And the Netherlands was the hot bed for difference between Calvinism and Catholicism. I referred the Protestant Reformers as one group, taking non to cover with the Protestant denominationalism, a division within the Reformers due to the difference in their reading of the sacred texts, as portion of my research.

The concluding flicker of the Protestant Reformation was “ The Ninety-five Theses ” written by Martin Luther in 1517. His work disclosed Church ‘s dishonesty, bestiring uncertainties in people ‘s heads about the Catholicism and besides the Church ‘s authorization. His unfavorable judgment of the sale of indulgences and the Roman Catholic clergy ‘s maltreatments rapidly earned popularity among people, irrespective of their societal standings and wealth, finally giving birth to Protestantism. Martin Luther condemned the sale of indulgences as a misdemeanor of the original significance of confession and repentance. Indulgence is the forgiveness of the temporal penalty for wickednesss that have already been confessed. Reformers like Zwingli and Calvin had besides commented on the corruptnesss within Church, but Luther was the 1 who introduced the extremist thought of sublimating the Christianity by physically interrupting off from the Roman Catholic Church. The Luther ‘s thought spread quickly throughout the Europe, endangering the Roman Catholic Church ‘s established authorization particularly in the North.

In add-on to being known as the centre of the Counter-Reformation, the South of the Alps was known as the centre of stylistic development every bit good. It was the topographic point of passion and invention with the flood of new artistic manners finally giving birth to the Italian Renaissance. The creative persons from all of the Europe visited Rome and were inspired by the alone Italian manners. Aside from the advanced manners of Italian Renaissance, its content was frequently purely spiritual. The Roman Catholic Church attempted to re-establish the Catholic religion among people by modulating the graphicss produced. The southern painters were forced to convey back the medieval tradition of bring forthing purely spiritual art, ramifying off into the different way from the Northern painters.

Scipione Pulzone was celebrated in Rome as the paradigm of the Southern painters during this clip period for his purely spiritual pictures. The Lamentation, one of his most celebrated pictures, serves as the premier illustration of the art commissioned by the Church. Painted in 1592 for the chapel of the Passion of Christ in the Jesuit church of Gesu in Rome, this picture is clearly influenced by the Counter- Reformation in that it demonstrates the new artistic manner advocated by the sanctum council. The Crucifixion of the Christ is the focal point of this art piece, pulling spectator ‘s attending straight to the idealistic image of Christ in the centre. Like other southern painters during this clip period, the creative person propagated religion by portraying the lives of saints and Christ in a realistic yet intensely dramatic mode. The careful inside informations, facial looks, along with the shadows cast on people enhance the lifelike features. The word picture of the creases on people ‘s gowns is besides note-worthy. The creative person adds inside informations such as “ cryings of Virgin, the Crown of irritants held by John, and the lividness of the Christ ‘s organic structure ” to portray people in a more expressionistic mode. Furthermore, the limelight on the Christ in the centre contributes an illusionistic and dramatic component to the picture which counter-balances the picture ‘s realistic image. The light dramatis personae on the Christ, in comparing to the dark background, creates about a theatrical feeling. These features represent the manner of art in the South of the Alps during this period, besides called the Italian Renaissance. “ Catholic Italy and Lutheran Germany shared in a lively commercialism… and the art of the 16th century in the north manifests the benefit of the exchange. ” Although the spiritual clang tormented the 16th century Europe, the exchange of artistic thoughts continued to boom.

In the North, “ the rational reorganization of antique religions and sentiments prepared the manner for a new and nonreligious mentality on the world-the Enlightenment-when the rise of a scientific position of nature would dispute everlastingly the bigotry of the yesteryear, ” besides called the Northern Renaissance. However, the art of northern Europe during this period is besides characterized by “ a sudden consciousness of the progresss made by the Italian Renaissance and by a desire to absorb this new manner. ” In other words, while the content of the graphicss produced in the North differ from those of the part South of the Alps, the manner was similar. Many northern creative persons traveled to Rome to analyze the new art in firsthand and others were exposed to the Italian manner of painting through the direct contact with the Italian creative persons who came to the North. The influence of the Italian art varied harmonizing to the creative person, the clip, and the topographic point ; the northern creative persons by and large kept their local traditions while following “ merely individual motives or the general signifier of a composing ” . The Northern painters in general traveling off from picturing scriptural scenes and turned to painting ordinary people in a platitude scene can be inferred to hold been influenced by the Protestant- Reformation. Particularly in the North of the Alps, the creative persons rapidly incorporated Italian manner into their graphicss while avoiding portraiture of spiritual subjects.

The celebrated work, The Battle of Issus, by Albrecht Altdorfer in 1529 is a great illustration of a northern picture that diverges from the plants produced in the parts South of the Alps. Albrecht Altdorfer represents the Donaustil ( Danube Style ) , which depicts the landscape and emphasiss temper and passion. Although Altdorfer ‘s manner is alone and personal, it still reflects the influence of Protestant- Reformation in that it eliminates word picture of spiritual subjects. Furthermore, his manner clearly diverges from the manner of painting prevalent in the parts of the South of the Alps. The painter gives a bird ‘s oculus position of an Alpine landscape as the scene and depicts the conflict scene in which the Alexander the Great overthrows the Iranian King Darius. Alternatively of exemplifying the purely spiritual subject, the creative person chooses to concentrate more on picturing the historical event. The crowd of people in comparing to the huge nature in the background suggests the moralising subject of the insignificance of human life. He uses the huge nature in the background to typify the power of universe and the illuminating sky to stand for the huge infinite. The little hint of Italian Renaissance is shown by the punctilious inside informations the painter uses for the image of Alexander the Great and the dramatic and illusionistic portraiture of the scene. Besides the idealistic feeling of the graphics as a whole resembles that of the Italian Renaissance pictures.

Another praise-worthy illustration of Northern picture is The Judgment of Paris by Lucas Cranach the Elder, who is the representative of German Protestant picture. This work is a great illustration of how his plants shifted from spiritual to humanistic capable affair when he became a follower of Luther. His humanistic capable affairs include mythology, history, and besides portrayals. The Judgment of Paris illustrates the scene from mythology in which the three goddesses boast off their beauties in forepart of Paris. The humanistic capable affair along with the background landscape reflects the typical features of Northern pictures. The Cupid in the picture serves as a symbol for love and fondness while the German armour that Paris is have oning in the picture represents his societal position as a knight and his award. The creative person does non dress the goddesses after the antique mode. Cranach ‘s composing having the nude was inspired in an effort to larn from the manner of Italian Renaissance.

The Four Apostles by Albrecht Durer in 1526 is a singular northern picture that is stylistically influenced by Italian Renaissance. This art piece is alone in that the painter expresses his ain spiritual and political testament, sympathising “ the Protestant cause and [ warning ] against the unsafe times, when spiritual, truth, justness, and the virtuousnesss all will be threatened. ” Unlike other Northern pictures, this piece does incorporate spiritual significances, but it distinguishes itself from Italian pictures by extinguishing any glory of the Church. This piece was hung in the metropolis hall, the four apostles symbolically stand foring the defenders of the metropolis ; they are admonishing people against the discourses of false Prophetss who will misinterpret the word of God. The four apostles are symbolic representative of assorted thoughts such as the four dispositions, of the human psyche, and besides the four ages of adult male. In this picture, Durer ‘s experience of going to Italy allows him to harmonise the two opposing manners of northern naturalism and southern monumentality. The realistic visual image of the four apostles reflects the northern naturalism while the monumentality of the figures along with the vivid usage of colour and crisp lighting mirror the Italian Renaissance. Durer, along with Cranach and Altdorfer, serves as an illustration of northern creative person who illustrated contents related to Protestant-Reformation while integrating manners of Italian Renaissance into his pictures.

The Netherlands was the exceeding part in North in which Calvinism and Catholicism co-existed. In the late sixteenth Century, the Northern Netherlands was able to interrupt away from Spain ‘s influence, while the Southern Netherlands remained under the regulation of Spain. Therefore, the Northern Netherlands finally embraced Calvinism while the Southern Netherlands remained as protagonists of Catholicism. It is of import to recognize that Dutch and Flemings were non predestined to go Genevans and Catholics ; it was entirely caused by the geographical and military fortunes. No drape existed between the North and the South that forbid the exchange of thoughts. In fact, Constantin Huygens, a diplomat and an art critic, referred to great painters of Amsterdam, Utrecht, and The Hague jointly as the painters of Netherlands. Therefore, it can non be concluded that the Northern Netherlands was merely influenced by Calvinist thoughts, which besides applies to the Southern Netherlands.

In the early seventeenth Century Catholicism was suppressed and Catholic churches were demolished due to the iconoclast motion, but the protestantizing of the Northern Netherlands was still a slow procedure. Most creative persons chose to stay as Catholics, although exact figure is difficult to find. However, the effort to mend harm caused by the iconoclast motion was non as extended and as systematic in the North as in the South. The Northern Renaissance in the Netherlands took on a wholly different signifier from the Italian Renaissance because the Church no longer was the major frequenter in the North. Alternatively, the affluent merchandiser in-between category were the primary frequenters of the art and therefore, the Dutch Masterss painted little images for their little houses, non for the Cathedral communion tables. Since big church committees were no longer available, creative persons changed their manners in conformity to the gustatory sensation of their new clients. The creative persons from the Netherlands specialized in intense pragmatism, picturing lifelike characteristics with an uncomplimentary honestness, unlike the Italian Renaissance painters who specialized in idealism and simpleness. Therefore, the footing of art for the Northern Renaissance was observation while for the Italian Renaissance, it was theory. The Northern Renaissance in the Netherlands indirectly reflects the influence of Protestantism in that spiritual themes no longer prevailed in art, although more direct causes were the altering construction of the Netherlands economic system and civilization. The graphicss produced in the seventeenth Century Netherlands were more conservative compared to those of Germany, concentrating on the nature and the past times of the comfortable Dutch merchandisers. The “ direct portrayals, realistic still-lifes, landscapes, marine-scapes, and genre pictures demoing scenes of mundane life ” were popular topics of the Dutch creative persons.

A Scene on the Ice by Hendrick Avercamp in 1625 is an accurate representation of a typical Dutch manner, exemplifying the platitude scene of people basking winter athleticss in the quiet small town of Kampen nor’-east of Amsterdam. His manner clearly reflects the Northern Renaissance ‘s pragmatism and its usage of inside informations, dependably picturing the winter. He enhances his realistic rendition by utilizing a frigid twenty-four hours to convey a sense of deepness ; “ the pearly grey key here becomes of all time paler and the signifiers less distinguishable as they move into the distance. ” His work is alone in that it successfully portrays all categories of Dutch society through by utilizing punctilious inside informations, “ from the hapless fisherman appraising the skater to the well-groomed ladies siting in an elegant sled driven by a groom. ” This is the typical genre picture of Northern Renaissance going itself from the spiritual influence of Roman Catholic Church of Italy.

A seascape, along with landscape, besides became really popular in Holland due to the rise of merchandiser category ; position of Dordrecht from the Dordtse Kil by Jan Van Goyen painted in 1644 serves is an impressive seascape picture. The creative person uses monochromatic stage, which is a technique in which a individual colour dominates the picture, to “ unite each position of nature ; ” the aureate brown aura dictates the scene, from the hazy clouds to the metropolis skyline. He reached the acme of Northern pragmatism by take downing the skyline to concentrate more on the atmospheric conditions overhead and by making an semblance of standing on the opposite shore of the port. Unlike the Northern Netherlands, the Southern Netherlands was more influenced by the Counter Reformation than the Protestant Reformation. The Born-again Catholicism in Spain had an undeniable impact on the Southern Netherlands states. Furthermore, France sent legion spiritual orders and folds to Spanish Netherlands in order to procure the Catholics ‘ authorization.

The disparity in the contents of the pictures resulted from the dissension in Protestants ‘ and Catholics ‘ positions of the human relationship with God. Unlike the Protestants who claimed that worlds are capable of holding a direct communicating with God, the Catholics argued that mediators, such as saints and the Virgin Mary, are indispensable for worlds to link with God. Therefore, Catholics created graphicss of saints, the Virgin Mary, and Jesus and gave fear to them, as a manner of acquiring closer to god. Although the Catholics asserted that they are non idolizing the mediators, the Protestants criticized this pattern and led the iconoclastic motions. Iconoclasm is a calculated devastation of spiritual icons and symbols within one ‘s ain civilization for spiritual alterations. The Protestants and Catholics ‘ struggle was caused by the difference in their positions of the “ sacred ” and “ secular ” ; while the Catholics maintained the clear separation of the two, the reformists recognized the connexion between the two. Consequently, the Roman Catholic Church clergy advocated purely spiritual and sacred graphicss whereas the reformists preferred graphicss picturing the lives of ordinary people. The Northern Protestant painters believed that “ an ordinary life could laud God merely every bit much as a life `in the ministry ‘ “ ; since God created worlds in His image, the reformation artists claimed that they are lauding God by portraying the natural beauty of his creative activity, in other words, the people. These differing thoughts are good conveyed through the graphicss produced from the parts South of the Alps, North of the Alps, and the Netherlands mentioned above. My thesis is partly proven to be right in that Italian art was decidedly influenced by the Counter- Reformation and that German art was influenced by the Protestant- Reformation. But beliing to my statement, the Netherlands was influenced by both spiritual motions. Harmonizing to the Art History Professor Sarah Blick from Canyon University, the Counter- Reformation had a more direct influence on art produced after 1520s so the Protestant Reformation. Therefore, she suggested me concentrate on the deficiency of spiritual content in the graphicss in order to analyze the influence of Protestant Reformation during her interview. Although graphicss from each of these parts have distinguishable features that set them apart, Italian manner of painting often perceived in these graphicss indicate that creative persons were inspired by each other. Because I had to contract down my subject, many new inquiries emerged from my research. I am funny to cognize whether the assorted Protestantism had different influences on art. For this research, I referred to Protestants as one group but I want to widen my research so that I can look into on the influence of the Protestant Sectarianism on art.


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