This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Art & Artists

In 1530, in Italy fell the last bastion of democracy. Florence became the capital of the Duchy of Tuscany, and its master, the Medici family. In the 16thcentury the decisive role in Italian culture had its nobility. In the courts a rigorous ceremony was introduced. The cavalry of the woman’s gallant cult and even the turnir were revived. At the same time, the Catholic Church rose against the movement that covered almost half of Northern Europe, voices raised against the freedom of artists, forbidding pagan themes and nudity. that covered almost half of Northern Europe, voices raised against the freedom of artists, forbidding pagan themes and nudity.

The Order of the Jesuits is initially directed against the decoration of the churches. All this has not been able to destroy the traditions of the Renaissance. In the person of Giordano Bruno, the passionate thinker fired by the fanatics, the scientific thinking of the Renaissance has come to full maturity: Bruno states that the world is infinite and must be understood as an unity inherent in its manifold forms of manifestation. In Italy, many disciples and followers of the great Masters of the Renaissance were working, seeing their main purpose in their manner of their great tsars. From here the whole stream has been called “Mannerism”. In Tuscany, Michelangelo’s creations, especially Medieval Chapel, were the starting point for the new stream. A raffaelli school was formed in Rome. In Northern Italy, along with Leonardo, the clarobscur went further. The life of the Court has become increasingly devoid of content, as Pontorno (1494-1577) and Bronzino (1503-1572) have mirrored it. Contemporary with Florentine portraits were in Northern Italy: Lorenzo Lotto (1480-1556) and Parmigianino (1503-1540).  Lotto knew to inspire the compassionate viewer even for some less sympathetic people. Parmigianino: The lack of a living relationship, creative with reality. The new style goes even further into the record of the compositions with historical themes. In Florentine painting he finds the clearest expression of Pontormo, Rosso and Bronzino. The Masters of the Renaissance sought to create in every picture a world in which the gaze of the contemplative would find a pleasant pleasure. In the manners art, on the contrary, arabic, the ornamental principle is so strong that they approach the decorative panels, designed only as a wall ornament. Masters of the 16th century showed a great predilection for the serpent figures in their movement. This tendency has also embraced the Venetian sculptor Sansovino (1486-1570) in his statue of “Mercy”. Other sculptors: – Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571) “Perseus”, Giovanni da Bologna (1524-1608) “Mercury”. An area where manners proved to be particularly fertile was the decorative art with its various grotesquely. The contour lines make up a braid, the plastic shape takes place in the sculpture of inclination towards Arabic: chandeliers, door hammers, lanterns, etc. Among the Italian masters in the mid-century, most important was Tintoretto (1518 – 1594): among the first works “The Miracle of St. Mark”. In Tintoretto’s paintings, everything happens at the will of mysterious superior forces; people are in the first plan and often darken the rest: Last Supper,  Wedding in Cana Galilei, Presentation in the temple of Mary.



The Italian architecture of the second half of the 16th century shared the fate of the whole art of that age. Vignola (1507-1573) – the construction of Alessandro Farnese’s castle in Caprarola, the basic concept of the villa for Pope Iuliu, on the outskirts of Rome.Vignola created a new type in church architecture: the Il Gesu church in Rome. Mannerism was but one of the artistic trends of the 16th century, not as important as the Gothic or Renaissance. At the beginning of the 17th century, the militancy of the Catholic Church in Italy was no longer so pronounced. The burning of Giordano Bruno and persecution against Galileo Galilei were the last outbursts of Catholic fanaticism. Attitude to art has changed. The Pope of Rome assumed the role of art protectors. In the 17th century, Piazza del Popolo, in Rome, was especially engraved. Pope Urban VIII was particularly renowned as a protector of art. In the 17th century scientific thought has separated from religion. In front of the exact sciences, great perspectives were opened in that era. Despite all the persecutions, Galileo has managed to maintain the theories, which have become fundamental to all modern science. Italian art from the 17th century began with a revival of realism. His most prominent representative in painting was Caravaggio (1560-1609). He became the first and best of the Italian artists who glorified in their art the common people: The Predictor, The St. Matthew cycle in the church of San Luigi dei Francesi, The Cycle of Scenes from the Life of the Apostles Peter and Paul of the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo (1601), The fruit basket,  Madonna with the rosary, Settlement in the tomb, Dormition of Mary. In all these paintings the darkness overcomes the light.  At the same time with Caravaggio, the Carracci brothers worked in Bologna, of which Annibale (1560-1609) was the most important: The Ascension of the Virgin, Run in Egypt, decorating the palace of Farnese in Rome (1596 – 1604) – trying to revive the monumental style of painting.

In the sec. In the 17th century, an artistic stream was born in Rome, whose representatives were close to the Carracci brothers: Guido Reni (1575-1642), Guercino (1591-1661), Domenichino (1581-1641). They rejoiced in the sec. 18th and 19th centuries by an uncontested authority and then exerted a great influence on academic circles. One of Guido Reni’s most famous paintings “Aurora” (1610). The Bolognese school and its followers opposed Caravaggio, but they could not escape the influence of Caravaggio. During the sec. XVII there was a trend in Italian art that must be seen as a consequence of manners. The surface, the appearance of things, had to make way for their core, the construction, the skeleton. The engraver Giovanni Battista Bracelli gave expression to this orientation in his drawings. They were likened to the attempts of modern cubists. In the 17th century, painting reached a degree of freedom that only very few Renaissance masters had gained. The most significant achievements of the Italian art of the 17th century must be sought in the field of architecture, which has held a leading place in Western Europe. Particular attention was paid to the construction of churches. The Italian architecture of the 17th century entered the history of art under the name of Baroque architecture. Rome is the most remarkable cities of the Baroque. Several squares in Rome have received their architectural form in the 17th century. Piazza del Popolo – 3 straight streets, Piazza Navona – oval, Piazza de Trevi – artezian fountain, the façade of the older church, Trinita dei Monti, was linked to the market below the Spanish Scale. One of Baroque’s most beautiful palaces is Palazzo Barberini, with Maderna, Bernini and Borromini. But the most beautiful achievements in the architecture of the sec. The XVII are palaces located outside the city, the luxury villas of the magnates of Rome. The Italian gardens of that era were usually set on terraces on the slopes of hills: Villa d’Este in Tivoli, Villa Adobrandini, the Boboli Gardens, joining the Pitti palace in Florence. The most important architects of the 17th century were Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) and Francesco Borromini (1599-1667). Bernini has borrowed from his time the outward shine and the pity. Bernini’s most artistic architectural creation is St. Peter’s Square. His favorite work is the small church of Saint Andrea of Quirinale.



Francesco Borromini was precisely the opposite of Bernini’s balanced and calm: the facade of St. Philip Neri’s Oratory, The small church of San Carlo alle quattro fontane, San Ivo della Sapienza church. In Rome, many other architects of the Baroque style have proven their talent: Pietro da Cortona (1596-1669) creator of Santa Maria della Pace church facade, Carlo Rainaldi (1611-1691) the builder of the Plaza del Popolo and the Santa Maria church in Campitelli, The Church of San Vincenzio et Anastasio, built by Lunghi, Carlo Fontana (1634-1714) creator of San Marcello Corso church. The most beautiful achievements of the 17th century in the field of architecture and sculpture are funerary monuments and altars. Bernini: David (1619), the “Apolo and Dafne”, St. Therese altar. Bernini’s concept of arts synthesis comes out in the light of his fountains, and especially in the Triton fountain, in front of Barberini’s palace. A great historical significance belongs to Bernini in the field of portraiture: the busts of Francesco d’Este and Louis XIV, Innocent Xth, the bust of Cardinal Scipione Borghese. In the 17th century, Rome was the metropolis of baroque art. This is where art spread across Europe, where the world’s most prominent artists gathered here: the German master Elsheimer, The French engraver Callot, Rubens, French masters: Poussin, Lorrain, the Spanish Velasquez. The Baroque was taken over in Europe, especially in Catholic countries. We find them in Spain, Portugal and their colonies beyond the ocean, in Flanders and partly in France. It has entered Poland and the Baltic region. The most favorable baroque land was found in Austria and South Germany. At the monuments of the German Baroque, the architectural styles have their own character: the forms are distinguished by their diversity: the exterior and interior walls of the buildings are lined with stucco-shaped ornaments, flat pillars, cornices, vegetable sculptures and carved figures. Among the greatest baroque architects include: Fischer von Erlach who worked in Austria and in Prague, the Karl-Borromans church – Vienna, Balthasar Neumann – residence in Wurzburg, Schluter – Berlin – the grand royal palace, the monument of the great elector, Gunther – statues. The German baroque also manifested itself in the poetry of the 17th-18th centuries. But the most valuable contribution was music: Johann Sebastian Bach – organ, Georg Friederich Handel – Granted Oratory.



The Baroque led to an enrichment of the artistic expression. Baroque is the natural extension of the Renaissance. He deepened the knowledge of man, of his profound being, of his inner life. In the 17th century the artistic language became enriched: clarobscur developed in sculpture, free line and tone in painting, the depth effect and the amount of space in the architecture.

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