After Bernini’s masterpieces. By the end of the 17th

Afterthe mid of the 16th century Italian Renaissance painting in most countries withthe exclusion of Venice sustained changes thus developing into the new Manneristmovement. This style however is known to have concerned churchmen as in a way theyargued that this style was missing that appeal intended for the mass populace. Assuch the church made some pressure to contain religious art done from the 1530 onwardsthat resulted in the ruling of the final session of the Council of Trent held in1563.

This included some short but rather vague passages concerning religiousimages, which were now being requested to have greater impact on thedevelopment of Catholic art. Following the assertion made by the Council of Trent on how religiousart might serve faith, together with the rise in confidence in the RomanCatholic Church, it became clear that a new style of art was necessary in orderto support the Catholic Counter Reformation thus to fully transmit the miraclesand sufferings of the Saints to the people attending worship. This style had tobe more powerful, more expressive and done with a greater realism. Stronglyinfluenced by the views of the Jesuits, architecture, painting and sculpturewere now to work together to create a unified effect. The initial force occurredin Rome during the late 16th century with the works by Caravaggio. His presencesparked a new interest in realism as well as antique forms, both of which weretaken up and developed in sculpture first by Alessandro Algardi and later by GianLorenzo Bernini.

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Peter Paul Rubens, who remained in Rome until 1608, was theonly great Catholic painter in the Baroque sphere, although Rembrandt and otherDutch artists are known to have been also influenced by both Caravaggism andBernini’s masterpieces.  By the end ofthe 17th century and after the 30 year war fought primarily in Central Europebetween 1618 and 1648, the Baroque style was in decline as was its principalsponsor, Italy. The new European power was France, where a new and contrastingstyle of decorative art was beginning to emerge under the patronage of King LouisXIV.