Baroque Period (1600-1750)
The years between 1600 and 1750 were full of contradiction, change, and conflict in Europe. The future would be shaped by the far reaching consequences of war. These conflicts pitted mainly the northern countries (Belgium, Germany, England, Sweden) against the Catholic kingdoms of the south (France, Spain, Austria), and further accentuated the pre-existing cultural differences between Northern and Southern Europe. However, tremendous scientific, philosophical, and artistic accomplishments that constitute the practical foundation of modern civilization flourished side by side with continual warfare, political instability, and religious fervor, bordering on fanaticism. Some of the most significant events of this period are:
•The Scientific Revolution: A scientific method of inquiry and the separation of science and philosophy from religious dogma were established. Science and mathematics influencenearly every aspect of life.
•The Protestant Reformation: Protestantism was formed and influenced political, economic, social, and cultural structures. Protestants rejectedthe use of visual art and emotionally charged music in the church.
•The Catholic Counter-Reformation: In response to the Reformation, an outpouring of exuberant sculpture, architecture, painting, and music to promulgate and support the power and doctrine of the Papacy in Rome and the Catholic Church was created. The Jesuit order led the Counter-Reformation campaign.
•The Thirty Years' War (1618-1648): The Holy Roman Empire, headed spiritually by the Pope and temporarily by the Emperor, was dissolved, essentially establishing modern Europe as a community of sovereign states.
•Colonization: Large areas of the Americas and Africa were colonized by European powers.The English and the Dutch succeeded the Spanish and Portuguese as the main empire builders.
•Absolutism and Patronage: Absolutism in government and the patronage system created an environmentthat fostered enormous growth in the arts.
•The rise of the bourgeoisie: The new merchant class becomes a supporter of the arts, creating the climate for the development of a Baroque style in Northern Europe, particularly in Holland.
The essential, philosophical outlook of the period was characterized by:
•The emphasis on the individual, the personal character of religious experience, and the use of artistic expression to convey those experiences
•The rise of capitalism and mercantilism as tools of empire building and financial basis for the rise of the bourgeois class
•The creation of the...