Power and Splendor Vs. Emotion and Feeling

Essay by ugablondie22College, UndergraduateA, May 2004

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A piece of artwork can convey countless messages to the eye of its beholder. It divulges a meticulous story about the era in which it was created and the points of view and biases of its creator. Like all other things, the purposes and inspirations for art change over time. A more momentous change is the connection between the artists and society. In the age of the Catholic Reformation, or the Baroque era, art was predominantly for the wealthy nobles and rulers; thus the artist looked to glorify the man or woman and put the public in a state of awe and bewilderment when viewing the finished product. To contrast with the intricate detail of the Baroque era, artists in the twentieth century sought to convey their personal feelings and emotions through their art, but on few occasions the art was used as propaganda and are unfavorable towards society. Despite these differences however, Baroque art and twentieth century art have a few things in common, though only on the surface.

During the age of the Catholic Reformation, Louis XIV instigated a trend that soon took Europe by storm when he commissioned for his royal palace, Versailles, to be built. The French king called on the most artistic talent of the age to model and beautify the palace. His goal-to glorify his power and splendor with the immaculate quality of its architecture, uniqueness its gardens, and exoticism of its furnishings. With the help of his artists, the absolute monarch became an icon for wealthy Europeans and inspired a flourishing trend which inspired other rulers to build their own 'Versailles'. Inside of his pristine palace, Louis ordered his top artists to paint portraits of him, all of which glorify and lionize his splendor and power. Two portraits of Louis XIV, both done...