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Art Patronage

The humanist standards and appreciation for classical antiquity in the sixteenth century gave rise to the early Renaissance. The expansion of a number of confined creative styles in other neighboring countries was due to the spread of these ideologies from Italy throughout the rest of the continent. The highly rewarded and valued artists in this era were granted by the private patrons, papal and the royal in their compensation. Michelangelo, El Greco, Raphael and Titian are some of the artists of this era whose contribution to the Western art is of immense records.

The religious tensions within Western Christianity which is the division on Roman Catholicism and Protestantism paved way to the rise of Baroque. Counter-Reformation, as a program of renewal of the Roman Catholic Church had given birth in the 1550s. The Catholic Church used art as a medium to display magnificence for the campaign as a component of the program. To influence and attract the audience, the program was made visually and emotionally appealing aside from being doctrinally correct. Intense spirituality is always present in these works implying motion and contrasts in color and light.

Additionally, vigor, sense of motion and tension are also among the common distinctiveness of Baroque art. In the Protestant countries, this technique made inroads as the century steps forward. Bernini and Rubens are the most important representatives of this variety of Baroque. Soon Baroque art has conquered the countries while spreading Catholicism. With equal success of religious and secular works, religious art had reached its new heights overwhelming church architecture and visual arts.

The reign of Louis XIV and Philip IV tells of the influence of art in Political situations in France and Spain that led to the creation of supreme monarchies in full splendor and color. The baroque that focused on highlighting of realism in everyday life was developed mainly in Flemish countries. Rembrandt and Vermeer are the artists whose works are seen in this form. Rembrandt as a renowned artist is one of the most favorite of the older geniuses. The remarkable images of his works put into words the burning passion and might of a man in art’s devotion.

His painting (Night Watch) easily grabs hold of restrained fine distinction of sentiment. He used a large canvass and maximized its use by having a large scene in its full image. Portraitures and Individuals were on his focus. In addition to this, he was able to show the story of the eponymous company who was about to take a move. The company leader, Captain Frans Banning Cocq is dressed in black, wearing a red sash, and they are called Arquebusiers which was drawn from a 16th century long-barreled gun. Lighting was effectively used in his painting and gives focus to the leader, being followed by his the other militiamen.

The depiction of light is Vermeer’s trademark of fascination distinguished in his painting (Woman Reading a Letter) conveying serenity, grace and its enchanting beauty. Vermeer’s masterpiece tells literally about its title, “The Woman in Blue Reading a Letter”. The painting is really simple, yet Vermeer was able to illustrate the woman who was greatly absorbed in reading the letter, giving emphasis on the woman’s position and somewhat disregarding the things around her. Another Baroque artist is an Italian in the name of Caravaggio.

Dramatic lights and shadow to spotlight the important details are used for his painting (The Calling of Matthew) which is effectively evident. Caravaggio is the key painter of another form of baroque which uses revolutionary technique of dramatic, discerning illumination of images out of profound shadow that is a trademark of the Baroque painting. In his “The Calling of Saint Matthew”, Caravaggio gives a picture of the scene which was derived from the story from the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 9:9). He was able to show how Jesus was pointing towards Matthew.

In addition to this, audience would notice how Matthew responded to the calling by trailing the line of Jesus’ left arm. Diego Velazquez, a Spanish painter focused on the practice of realism (Las Meninas). He only painted what he saw but in a strong light. He was fond of using silhouettes and sober colors. His later work demonstrates fascination with the male nude with the variety of colors in its fullest. His masterpiece illustrates King Philip IV of Spain’s large room. There are several figures in the painting which is situated in the Madrid palace.

More specifically, Infanta Margarita is the center of the masterpiece, being surrounded by the other characters. Velasquez was able to define almost everything in the painting as if it was a snapshot of the scene. These artworks in this era were popularized because they tell more of what is happening in their daily lives, common subjects and real life itself. Artworks were more realistic due to the usage of various colors, emphasizing on hues, shadows and lighting adding drama, making them more poignant and expressive.

In our present day living, these works of art reflect the history and flamboyance of the heritage of the past.


HuntFor. com (2007) Baroque. Retrieved January 31, 2008 from <http://www. huntfor. com/arthistory/c17th-mid19th/baroque. htm> A&E Television Networks (2007) Baroque Art and Architecture. Retrieved January 31, 2008 from <http://www. history. com/encyclopedia. do? articleId=202283> Lycos Inc. (2008) Baroque: Baroque Art. Retrieved January 31, 2008 from <http://www. lycos. com/info/baroque–baroque-art. html>

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