BAROQUE AND ROCOCO

In the aftermath of the Protestant threats to Catholic supremacy across Europe and throughout the World, the Catholic hierarchy instituted the reforms of the Council of Trent to win back the hearts and minds of the masses. The Council condemned much of the art of the 16th century (like the Allegory by Bronzino) as potentially having a corrupting influence on the audience. As a result, three rules were established for artists: (1) compositions should be simple with no superfluous ornament or extraneous details, (2) art should reflect the written narratives upon which they are based, and (3) art should be inspirational. Artists who did not conform to the Church’s guidelines would not receive commissions and were threatened with eternal damnation. This becomes pivotal in the formation of the Baroque style of the 17th century.