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Reformation and the Arts

The church had fallen under negative scrutiny during the fourteenth century and was marked by material excesses by church leaders while oppressing the lower clergy. Humanism and the Renaissance ideas were cultivated in Rome and their perceived abuses became the target of newly empowered city-states. The decline of papal power and material corruption of the church during the 14th and 15th centuries set the stage for the first severe blow to the church, the papal schism in 1378 (Kirsch 1911). However, the most popular symbolic blow came when Martin Luther nailed the Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Church in 1517 (Bates 1999, Luther 1915). The Theses called for a dramatic overhaul of the church and began the Reformation.
The Counter-Reformation is the period of "Catholic revival from the pontificate of Pope Pius IV in 1560 to the close of the Thirty Years' War, 1648" (Pollen 1908). During this period the church tried to rebuke the Lutherans and Protestants for their stand on the subservience of Church to State, the marriage of the clergy, and doctrinal error (Pollen 1908). However, the church underwent little fundamental change, did not alter the State constitutions, or generate any great enthusiasm by its members.
One noticeable change the church underwent was the portrayal of its visual arts. ...Show more

Summary

The great schism in the Catholic Church during the Renaissance period would eventually lead to the Reformation as believers saw the church moving away from their ideal of God. Reformers such as Martin Luther formed separate sects outside the church to correct what they perceived as heresy…
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