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.