Catholic Art in 16th & 17th Century

Examines painters’ veneration of saints to counteract the challenges from Reformers & Protestants, focusing on the role of the Jesuits.

In the course of nearly two centuries, a great number of artists from various countries worked in different styles to aid the cause of the Church. Despite this diversity, however, there was strong thematic continuity as the Church directly confronted the various challenges of the Reformers. Among the most interesting examples of these confrontations are works of art that celebrated the Church’s saints–a practice condemned by the Reformers and, accordingly, reaffirmed by the Church and its artists. A review of several examples of this art demonstrates how the Church employed the depiction of saints to shore up its own popularity and influence and to confirm and spread its doctrines.

The visual arts were important tools of the Catholic Counter-Reformation of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries…

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