Front Page Titles (by Subject) 101.: Styles of Life and Art Around 1650 - Judgments on History and Historians
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
101.: Styles of Life and Art Around 1650 - Jacob Burckhardt, Judgments on History and Historians 
Judgments on History and Historians, ed. Alberto R. Coll (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1999).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
Styles of Life and Art Around 1650
The peoples with strong feeling are the Romanic ones and the Catholics. The Hollanders are the realists and the bourgeois. England does not count in this period, and Germany has, for the time being, salvaged only its scholarship from the Thirty Years’ War.
The emotional peoples: Their style of life and fashion still follows the Spanish prototype, even in the higher Catholic circles of Germany and especially at the imperial court.
Art and literature are shaped by the Catholic church, the old Roman culture (still without an idea of the Greek); literature is also partially influenced by Spanish literature, which was being widely translated (Corneille’s Cid).
The baroque style of the three arts is derived from Michelangelo in architecture, in sculpture and painting mostly from Correggio and Titian, through the Caracci family. To what extent is it realistic? Its main goal is the great, stately effect. This is the time of Bernini and Pietro da Cortona, of Rubens, Van Dyck, and their school, of Velázquez and Murillo. In this art there is life and coloring, with relatively little attention to the deepest aspects of the subjects.
For the less stirring moods, we may mention, first of all, elegiac themes, pastorales, and landscapes, then realistic secondary genres. Here, too, there are Bambocciads and the like.
Lyric poetry is heroic-pastoral and lyric-elegiac. In Italy and Spain there is artificial lyric poetry. Representative of those two forms of poetry are Marino’s Adone, Tasso’s successors, Chapelain. In addition, epistolary literature and satire are practiced. As for the drama, in France it is either heroic or comic, in Italy only comic or non-existent, in Spain by turns sacred, heroic-tragic, intrigue, comedy.
Finally, in Italy the opera has its start and is transplanted to all the courts; this is the beginning of the modern stature of music generally.
The realistic and bourgeois peoples: They, too, express themselves through knowledge and feeling, and in this are indebted to antiquity and the Romanic peoples. But side by side with this there prevails Dutch realism in genre painting and the elegiac reaction in landscape painting.
Moreover, an obeisance to the sacred element is made in the form of Biblical painting, which, of course, was in the hands of Rembrandt and his school.
The highest level in the free treatment of Biblical material is represented by Milton’s Paradise Lost.