Baroque Compare And Contrast Essay

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A new divide in art and religion occurred during the 17th century. The Reformation occurred and caused a major divide between Protestants and Catholics. In northern Europe, Protestantism took root, especially in the city of Amsterdam. In southern Europe, Catholicism stood fast, especially in Rome. In this paper I will argue that Amsterdam and Rome developed unique political and religious environments that created two different painting styles within the Baroque period. These different environments led to two very different subject materials: secular in Amsterdam and non-secular in Rome. Despite some similarities, these differences distinctly separate Protestant Baroque in the north of Europe and Counter-Reformation Baroque in the south of Europe and two paintings can accurately portray these differences and similarities: “The Calling of Saint Matthew” by Caravaggio and “The Art of Painting” by Vermeer. During the tumultuous changes of the 16th century, Catholic subject matter in art was equal parts pagan and Christian. After 1545, when Pope Paul III called the Council of Trent, this was changed. The Council of Trent provided reforming guidelines for all the arts to reunite…show more content…
“The Calling of Saint Matthew” by Caravaggio was the Counter-Reformation movement. Light pours in above Christ’s head on the right and reveals stunning detail in the painting. Light glints of the coins on the table and the tax collector’s glasses. The expressions on the faces of the collectors are varied and convey recognizable emotion. In “The Art of Painting” by Vermeer, light shines in from the left and glints off the tiles, chairs, and the chandelier. The painting is so detailed that even the map across the wall is an accurate portrayal of the Low Countries. Baroque is characterized by such use of light and implementation of
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