Arsifa Deliyana

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Week 5 Baroque Art


Counter Reformation

Christ Clasping The Cross is one of artworks coming from Baroque art era. It was 16th century to 17th century when Counter Reformation took place in Italy. There are ideological clashes between Catholic and Protestant where Martin Luther as the vanguard against the Catholic Church. Early calls for reform grew out of criticism of the worldly attitudes and policies of the Renaissance popes and many of the clergy. Popes and Churches lived in pleasure, wealth, and opulence, while the civil lived in poverty, pathetic, and poor condition. Even though the Catholic Church sent the Counter Reformation in response to the Protestant Reformation, the considerable appeal of Protestantism continued to preoccupy the popes throughout the 17th century. 

Caressing the cross, Christ has transcended physical pain on the way to Calvary, raising his gaze to Heaven with a serene gesture. El Greco, the painter from Crete transforms this narration of the traditional Bible passage into an image of devotion. He makes it into a metaphor of salvation and redemption at a time when the Counter Reformation exalted the cross as one of its most eloquent symbols. It aimed to restore Catholicism’s predominance and centrality. Baroque art in Italy was therefore often didactic and embraced dynamism, theatricality, symbolism, and elaborate ornamentation, all used to spectacular effect, often on a grandiose scale.


Comparing Christ Clasping The Cross to Foreshortened Christ

Foreshortened Christ, Andrea Mantegna painting apparently shows superb perspective. It depicts biblical tragedy after the crossing of Christ within naturalism. As El Greco’s work on Christ Clasping The Cross, Mantegna succeed in serving the purpose of devotion. Although, there is big distinction between El Greco and Mantegna work. In Christ Clasping The Cross, the painting does not have any perspective.image-1

To sum up, Baroque art which is meant an irregularly shaped pearl existed in Italy and Spain in 1600 to 1700. The hallmarks of Baroque style are symbolism, no perpective, Church Reformation or religious theme, dynamic, theatric, and convey didactic messages.



Kleiner, Fred. (2009). Gardner’s Art through the Ages: A Global History


1 Comment

  1. damavara says:

    wawww.. you are brave enough to talk about a sensitive topic, Christ.

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