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Counter-Reformation Art


So far all the art we have looked at has been by Roman Catholic artists, but we will now focus on works by Roman Catholic artists that played especially important functions in the Counter-Reformation. For background, reread the section in the Council of Trent on the use of images.

Pope Leo X
c. 1517

Raphael, Pope Leo X Pope Leo X was the Pope when Luther nailed the 95 theses on the door of the Wittenberg church in 1517. Here the Renaissance artist Raphael, the star of the papal court, depicts Leo as an art collector with a priceless manuscript and other valuable objets d'art. A member of the Medici family and the sensual self-indulgent son of Lorenzo the Magnificent, Leo had no idea of the significance of Luther's actions.

Later Popes and Catholic officials, however, asserted the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, often in clearly propagandistic ways that made maximum use of art and architecture.

St. Peter's Basilica More Counter-Reformation Art
St. Peter's Basilica and Its Art More Counter-Reformation Art

Art History for Humanities: Copyright 1997 Bluffton College.
Text and image preparation by Mary Ann Sullivan. Design by Gerald W. Schlabach.

All images marked MAS were photographed on location by Mary Ann Sullivan. All other images were scanned from other sources or downloaded from the World Wide Web; they are posted on this password-protected site for educational purposes, at Bluffton College only, under the "fair use" clause of U.S. copyright law.

Page maintained by Gerald W. Schlabach, Last updated: 29 April 1998.