Although the amount of religious art created in Protestant nations was drastically decreased, Reformation art reflected Protestant ideas. Instead, many Protestant painters branched out into secular types of art such as historical painting, landscapes, portraits, and still life.
During the Renaissance period, artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael painted religious subjects because they were able to make lots of money from them. But after the Catholic Church began to criticize artists for their work, most people stopped buying them.
In response to this criticism, many Protestants developed a taste for secular art. The most popular forms were historical painting and landscape painting. Historical paintings showed events that had happened in real life, such as battles or miracles. Landscapes depicted scenes from nature without any human figures in them.
These types of paintings were useful because they could be sold to non-Christians as works of art, not as representations of actual events. This is why you don't see many religious paintings by Protestant artists today; instead, we get copies of secular paintings done in an artistic style.
Another difference between Renaissance and Reformation periods is that during the first one, religion played a big part in the lives of most people. People would go to church every Sunday and on holy days like Easter and Christmas.
The form and substance of Protestant art, particularly painting, mirrored the Reformation movement's plainer, more unadorned, and more intimate Christianity. As a result, Protestant church groups no longer commissioned large-scale works of Biblical art. They did buy pictures for their churches, but only if they could be produced in mass quantity at relatively low prices. So artists turned to smaller, more personal projects, which often included religious subjects.
The most important artistic movement following the Reformation was Neoclassicism. Its roots can be found in Renaissance art, but it became prominent after 1730. During this period, Italian artists such as Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Caravaggio inspired a new wave of creativity in Europe. Their work focused on pure drama and emotion rather than myth or legend.
In England, the English school of painting dominated the early years of the Industrial Revolution. It was founded by Joshua Reynolds in 1769 and closed with his death in 1820. This school is known for its portraits and views of British life during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. It is also worth mentioning that Thomas Gainsborough and John Constable were among its leading artists.
After the English school came the French school, which was founded by Jacques-Louis David in 1748. He is considered the father of modern sculpture in France.
Although the many artistic expressions have followed their course of renewal and modernization, it is indisputable that the spirit of the Reformation led to an expanded feeling of freedom and authenticity in artistic creativity. Before the Reformation, artists were expected to follow strict rules in order to be accepted by the community; after it, they needed only to express what was in their hearts.
This freedom can be seen in the Renaissance period, when new styles and forms appeared that are still used today. The Baroque style arose at this time and changed the way art was viewed by the public. It was a more emotional style that used large amounts of detail and had multiple perspectives of the same scene or object. This style is still used today in works by artists such as Caravaggio, Raphael, and Michelangelo.
During the Enlightenment era, which began in Europe around 1715, people started looking at reality not through the eyes of faith but through the lens of science. As a result, new subjects such as anatomy and geology came about that changed how artists portrayed objects in space.
Finally, modern art grew out of Impressionism, which was an international movement in the mid-19th century that brought attention back to reality and away from the idealized images found in traditional painting.
The Protestant Reformation had a significant influence on Northern European visual arts. One of the most significant changes was that religious iconography was no longer a prominent part of art. As Protestant reformers supported the destruction of sacred icons, iconoclasm took hold. Iconoclasts rejected all images as idols, even those that showed objects or people who were very important in Catholic tradition.
Another effect was that artists began to focus onportraiture instead of religious subject matter. Portraits are still lifes with one main object (such as a head) against a plain background. The image is often based on the artist's interpretation of the subject's personality and physical features.
Portrait painting became popular after 1500, when artists started using their knowledge of human anatomy to show detail not possible with medieval subjects. For example, artists painted the wrinkles on the face of a young man to indicate his age. They also used light and shade to create an illusion of three-dimensionality for portraits.
Until about 1550, most paintings in Europe were religious in nature. However, during this time there was a movement away from religious subject matter and toward portraiture. This change was due to several factors including the fact that many Protestants refused to be portrayed in religious imagery because it was considered idolatry.
While Calvinists largely removed public art from religion and Reformed societies moved toward more "secular" forms of art that could be said to glorify God by depicting the "natural beauty of His creation and by depicting people who were created in His image," the Counter-Reformation Catholic church persisted...with new vigor after the Protestant revolution.
Calvinism had a chilling effect on the arts. Artists were encouraged to pursue theology or medicine instead of art because it was believed that these fields would provide them with greater opportunity for success. As part of its campaign to reestablish Catholicism, the Church commissioned many artists to paint pictures for churches all over Europe.
These paintings not only decorate the walls of churches but also serve as valuable historical documents about life in these communities. They show what people wore, how they lived, and offer a glimpse into their daily struggles as well as their joys. The presence of these paintings is evidence that the Counter-Reformation Catholic church still existed and was active after being relegated to the margins of European society after the Protestant revolution.
In addition to painting pictures for churches, Catholics were also inspired to write poems and songs about Christianity's conversion. Many of these works have been preserved for us today. These include hymns, anthems, carols, and madrigals. They reflect the same spirit of devotion and love that characterizes modern religious music.