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Baroque and Romantic Art

            During the Baroque period, the Catholic Church commissioned artist to create works that would reinforce its own historic tradition and authority in order to lure people back and regain its former power. The period of time was called the Counter-Reformation. Religious conflict between the Catholics and the Protestants had a great effect on art. The Catholics, through the efforts of the Counter-Reformation launched great building campaigns for churches, and their furnishings and decorations. The emergence of an urban middle class with disposable income used art as an investment. hey wanted art to be produced in general subjects, such as landscapes and flowers, thus the emergence of genre scenes. The focus of art transferred from humanity to the rich and privileged class that sponsored artist that would capture their lavish lifestyles. Now the Romantic era began after the French Revolution that lasted from 1789 through the mid 1800's. The middle class prospered from the rise in commerce of the Industrial Revolution, as the rural class suffered. With advancements in agricultural machinery and farming practices many farmers were pushed to the side. The industrial age and political revolutions gave birth to crowded urban areas. Villages exploded into urban centers and people moved to them from farms and the countryside to take jobs in newly opened factories.
             Baroque artists emerged as individual entrepreneurs, while their products became important commodities as capitalism developed. The Baroque artist began to specialize even further, no longer the universal man of the Renaissance, but concentrating on a particular medium. Artist began painting primarily landscapes, his need for a dealer increased, and they had to find a market for their work. Romantics challenged the idea that reason was the one path to truth, judging it inadequate in understanding the great mysteries of life. Artist emphasized a life filled with deep feeling, spirituality, and free expression.

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