The Protestant Reformations Impact on Europes Art, Music, and Literature - Research Paper Example

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The Protestant Reformation’s Impact on Europe’s Art, Music, and Literature The primary result of the Reformation in the secular section of society was scientists, artists and philosophers taking a closer look at the ancient knowledge. This knowledge was adopted by the artists emerging during the period, slowly developing artistic techniques through the application of science, mathematics and perspective to create much more realistic images that conveyed a sense of three-dimensionality. This ability to create images that could be envisioned in real space itself led to an explosion of ideas even as these artists were exploring subjects once considered taboo, such as the ancient mythologies of these past civilizations. Artists were able to link the mathematical knowledge to the proportional focus of their own world as a shared knowledge between artists and businessmen. Painters used their foundational knowledge in geometry to create familiar elements in their paintings that would convey their intentions to the greatest possible audience. By melding mathematics and artistic expression, artists discovered how to provide their figures with a new impression of weight and volume that had not been previously achieved. This new ability to provide realism in a painting and other written expression led to even greater explorations into how the world manifested itself, all of which contributed to an explosion of thought, design and implementation that would change the world. English Protestant Reformation that started under King Henry VIII, advances in technology that allowed for a greater production and distribution of books and a shift in religious thinking all contributed to a shift in the form and content of the literature of the 1500s and early 1600s. With the greater intermingling of society as the towns grew and business began operating more with a dependence upon written communication as a matter of course, more and more people were beginning to read and to appreciate various forms of literature, such as the production of plays as a means of entertainment and moral reinforcement. The predominant guiding principle for the creation of new literature including the works of William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe was to re-create or mirror what was observed in human behavior and this concept extended naturally to commentary upon the church and state. There is significant questioning of the proper role of man and the meaning of life within the literature of the Reformation. This is all the result of a changing time in which it is possible for knowledge to go beyond the strict teachings of the church and when traditional social structures are breaking down. This questioning was aggravated by the efforts of Martin Luther in Germany beginning in 1517 that brought the authority of the church into sharp question and encouraged questioning in other areas of life. As more and more individuals began to question the established hierarchy of tradition and authoritative positions such as monarchies and the positions of the Catholic Church lost their ability to control the masses. While literature, art, music and the sciences continued to flourish during what is now referred to as the Jacobean period, contributing to the rise of the middle class, England nevertheless experienced a severe economic depression. (Kreis, 2004). The demand for books was high, but the cost of producing them was equally high until the middle of the 15th century and the production of the printing press. In keeping with the emerging Humanist ideals that rejected the spoutings of the Catholic Church in all its ineptitude and a dependence on the Bible itself as the only true authority, one of the earliest projects for the printing press. As the reformation moved forward, translations of the Bible into the various vernacular languages of the European continent and Great Britain and their distribution among the populace was only possible through this earth-shaking invention. Perhaps his most influential work in terms of helping to instigate the Reformation was the books of the New Testament. (Kreis, 2004). The Reformation was characterized much more by its explorations in literature and music than it was through the visual arts, but retained much of the same focus and became further influenced by the radical teachings of Martin Luther, who managed to free England from the power of the church through his presentation of Reformation ideas. References Kreis, Steven. (October 11, 2006). “The Protestant Reformation.” The History Guide. Available April 23, 2011 from Read More
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