It’s hard to make a distinction in which the beginning of the Baroque period is clearly distinguished from that of the late Renaissance. Nonetheless, Baroque art is emotional, decorative and a direct result of the Counter-Reformation movement in Europe. During the Baroque period, there was a dramatic religious split in the Church with the formation of Protestantism. Catholics reacted with the Counter-Reformation to revitalize Catholicism. They needed to attract viewers with religious art that more significantly impacted onlookers. Protestant areas (in the North) responded with a lack of religious art, concentrating, for example, on genre paintings that taught their viewers moral lessons. Compositions tended to have more open space. The Baroque style originated in Italy and spread north, profoundly affecting the rest of Europe as it spread. In his survey of art history text, Gardner's Art Through the Ages: A Global History, Fred S. Kleiner asserts that the term Baroque is "problematic" because the era encompasses a broad range of genres and styles. At the same time, it is effective in describing the art of the 17th century, a style marked by dynamism and movement, drama and greatness. Since the masses could not read, there could be no better way to feed them religion-Catholicism's particular view of it-than through grand pictures depicting Biblical lessons and the dominance of Catholicism, figured the Church. One of the most interesting examples of art as propaganda for the Catholic Church is Caravaggio's Conversion of Saint Paul, painted ca. 1603. In 1600, Caravaggio was commissioned to paint two pictures. One is Crucifixion of Saint Peter, a dramatic and unconventional work. The other is Paul's Conversion, which hangs across the chapel from Saint Peter in the church of Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome. Also known as Conversion on the Way to Damascus or The Road to Damascus, this depiction of Paul's conversion is known as the most intriguing of the...
Cited: "Caravaggio." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 27 Feb 2013 http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/94587/Caravaggio.
Davies, P, Denny, W, Hofrichter, F., Jacobs, J, Roberts, A., &Simon, D. Janson 's History of Art. 8. II. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2011.
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