Until relatively recently, most scholars considered the notion of a Catholic enlightenment either oxymoronic or even illusory, since the received wisdom was that the Catholic Church was a tireless and indefatigable enemy of modernist progress. According to Christopher Johns, however, the eighteenth-century papacy recognized the advantages of engaging with certain aspects of enlightenment thinking, and many in the ecclesiastical hierarchy, both in Italy and abroad, were sincerely interested in making the Church more relevant in the modern world and, above all, in reforming the various institutions that governed society. Johns presents the visual culture of papal Rome as a major change agent in the cause of Catholic enlightenment while assessing its continuing links to tradition. The Visual Culture of Catholic Enlightenment sheds substantial light on the relationship between eighteenth-century Roman society and visual culture and the role of religion in both.
What shall we call the era in Western music history from 1750 to 1900? Listeners and scholars alike treasure the works of its great composers: Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Wagner, Tchaikovsky. A powerfully symbolic name, though - analogous to 'baroque' for the previous era -still eludes us. We refer constantly to two trends, classical and romantic, which have substantive meaning for various composers' orientations and for ways of performing the music. But these two terms - whether understood as indicating consecutive or overlapping trends - do not plainly suggest the two main events of the age: the Industrial Revolution, and the democratic political upheavals of 1776, 1789, and 1848. Also, they do not acknowledge an emerging sense of humanity or the excitement of a passionate audience seeking recognition and expression. ""Laudon's Era after the Baroque"" proposes a powerful symbol for the new era while at the same time keeping traditional terminology intact. It looks at the age in a primarily positive manner while still acknowledging its darker aspects. In particular, it evokes the sphere of the newly recognized system of 'fine arts' and therefore has resonances for the visual and literary arts in addition to its primary focus on music. ""The Era After the Baroque"" advances an expressive ideal that is traced in both vocal and instrumental music during that century and a half. It stresses that music was not an art unique and set apart but rather participated in the great dissemination of education and artistic opportunity that was then emerging in the context of an increasingly human-centered concept of freedom.
Deriving from the French word rocaille, in reference to the curved forms of shellfish, and the Italian barocco, the French created the term Rococo. Appearing at the beginning of the 18th century, it rapidly spread to the whole of Europe. Extravagant and light, Rococo responded perfectly to the offhandedness of the aristocracy of the time. In many aspects, this art was linked to its Baroque predecessor, and is thus also referred to as late Baroque style. While artists such as Tiepolo, Boucher and Reynolds carried the style to its apogee, the movement was often condemned for its superficiality. In the second half of the 18th century, Rococo began its decline. At the end of the century, facing the advent of Neoclassicism, it was plunged into obscurity. It had to wait nearly a century before art historians could restore it to the radiance of its golden age, which is rediscovered in this work by Klaus H. Carl and Victoria Charles.
An era of exuberant creativity is the focus of this magnificently illustrated, competitively priced new art book. Baroque art was characterized by unbridled emotion, intricate decorative flourishes, and a dramatic use of light, reaching its summit in works such as Bernini’s magnificent altarpiece, The Ecstasy of St. Theresa. Over time, this robust genre evolved into the more ornate and sensuously playful Rococo, a style epitomized by the opulent paintings of Watteau. This beautifully produced exploration of both movements guides the reader through more than a century of art history--exploring the lives and works of sculptors such as Bernini, painters such as Watteau, Boucher, Rubens, and Hogarth, and architects such as Christopher Wren.