Protestant Reformation Research Paper

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The Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century, a period when religious leaders such as Martin Luther, Huldrych Zwingli, and John Calvin clashed and then separated with the Catholic Church because of their groundbreaking ideas, brought about radical changes to Europe and the course of modern history. The former unity of Christendom was broken, national churches came into existence, and life was changing for those in Europe. So, in turn, there was a breakthrough in the arts due to and along with new Protestant iconoclastic beliefs that led to changes in architecture, subject matter, painting, and theater; the Catholic Church also sought to win back their followers from protestantism by awing them with more sensuous artworks. The Protestant…show more content…
Previously, religious imagery was thought to be good for peasants, who were illiterate and could not understand the Bible to learn what they did not know about their faith (Harbison 109). Yet, Protestant leaders were for the most part afraid of idolatry, a problem since medieval Christianity that could be described as the worship of works of art in replacement of God or gods (Harbison 109). In addition, patrons of the arts were able to earn salvation from their sins by commissioning artwork for the Church because it was considered a good work that would inspire the faithful, teach the glories of God, and express the beauty of the divine world (Harbison 109). The art donors also simply gave art to the Catholic Church to show pride and vanity (Michalski 55). Lay persons even realized that the money spent on maintaining and creating art came from tithes, money from their pockets that were collected for the use of the Church; they thought the money would have been better to be used as alms to help the poor (Dillenberger 177). However, the Protestant reformers thought that these two latter issues were outweighed by the former problem of idolatry and put that as their top priority (Dillenberger

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