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An Essay On The Affect Of The Baroque Style On Art, Literature, Philosophy, Politics, And Religion

1108 words - 5 pages

Renaissance Europe: Baroque'n TraditionsWith its contorted shapes, sharp contrast, and brilliant colors, the Baroque style invaded Europe and dominated the better part of the 17th and 18th century. Baroque style can be detected through its boisterous color, exaggerated movement, and distortion of traditional shapes. With a countenance that emphasizes theatricality over conservatism, the Baroque style is a direct result of the Catholic Reformation that originated in Italy. The Roman Catholic Church suffered the loss of many believers to the new Protestant movement that was jettisoned into motion by Martin Luther's thesises. The Roman Catholics, however, did not stand by idly and watch their ...view middle of the document...

Also, it seems as if a spotlight is shining on the group, betraying the distress and suffering of Saint Peter and the anonymity of the executioners to the viewer. Highly realistic and profoundly untraditional, the painting reaches out to its viewer and begs that they feel the pain of Saint Peter. The Baroque style also affected other areas of art, such as architecture. The Catholics needed impressive and inviting churches to represent the mystical and evangelical aspects of the Counter-Revolution. A man of many talents, Gianlorenzo Bernini was the poster child of Vatican patronization. He received innumerous commissions for dramatic works in architecture and sculpture. Such a display of his prowess is the Piazza of Saint Peter in Rome. "The broad public space in front of Saint Peter's Basilica, Bernini designed a trapezoidal space that opens out to a larger oval - the two shapes form, perhaps symbolically, a keyhole" (552). A grand colonnade surrounds this oval with 284 columns and 96 statues of saints. The shape of the colonnade engages viewers in a stony hug, bringing them closer to the heart of Roman Catholicism, figuratively as well as physically.The Baroque style did not only infuse the visual arts with sensory intensity, it also bolstered the passion of expressive literature. Unlike Classicism that soon followed, Baroque literature focused mainly on achieving mystery, emotion, and multiplicity. Such emotional weightiness can be found in the autobiographical description of a spiritual event by Teresa of Avila, "In his hands I saw a large golden spear and at the end of the iron tip I seemed to see a point of fire. With this he seemed to pierce my heart several times...he left me completely afire with a great love for God" (513). Teresa's description stinks of sexual innuendo and displays the length to which Baroque authors would go to convey sensory ecstasy. Another great work of the Counter-Reformation was a handbook written by Ignatius Loyola, The Spiritual Exercises. In this hand book, Loyola draws out a series of exercises that will strengthen the soul. These exercises invoke all of the senses to intensify the personal spiritual experience. The Baroque fervor also found its way into poetry as exemplified by Luis de Gongora y Argote, a Spanish poet. The elaborate use of...

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