The Art of Persuasion

By Norberg-Schulz, Christian | UNESCO Courier, September 1987 | Go to article overview

The Art of Persuasion


Norberg-Schulz, Christian, UNESCO Courier


The art of persuasion

DURING the eighteenth century, the landscape of Catholic Central Europe became saturated with religious monuments: roadside crucifixes, statues of the "bridge saint' John Nepomuk, calvaries (mostly in combination with a via crucis), pilgrimage churches, and a multitude of new monasteries. The architecture of the epoch was thus closely related to the environment, which it sought to transform into a "sacred landscape' which everywhere should remind man of the "true faith'.

In accordance with this aim, the works of art and architecture in question have an exuberant and persuasive character. The manifest religious ecstasy of the figures is echoed in the flame-like towers of the churches, in the interior of which heaven becomes visible in the illusionary paintings of the vaults. Even the palaces of the aristocracy have a similar expression. Being rulers "by God's grace', princes also had to present the basic axioms of faith.

In general, we may say that baroque art and architecture is a product of the Counter-Reformation, the basis of which was the esprit de systeme of the seventeenth century, that is, the belief that the world may be understood as a system deducible from a few immutable a priori dogmas. According to counter-reformatory policy, these dogmas ought to be presented as vividly as possibly. At the Council of Trent it was decided that "The Bishops shall carefully teach this: that, by means of the Stories of the Mysteries of our Redemption, portrayed by paintings or other representations, the people are instructed and confirmed in the habit of remembering, and continually revolving in mind the articles of faith'.

Persuasion thus became the basic means of achieving the participation needed by the system. The most famous example of this approach can be found in the "Spiritual Exercises' of St. Ignatius Loyola, which aimed at an imitation of Christ by means of imagination and empathy. And the Jesuits in fact made an essential contribution to the diffusion of baroque art.

Imagination as a means implies that the world is transformed into a "theatre' and that the church is intended as a teatrum sacrum where the articles of faith are enacted. Hence the expressive and illusionary character of baroque art. Following the principles laid down at the Council of Trent, baroque art and architecture were born in Rome, the centre of the Catholic Church. In architecture we may distinguish between two currents: the truly theatrical one, developed by Bernini, where architecture serves as a splendid but conventionally ordered background to the "stories' told by illusionary painting and sculpture, and the "architectural' one, invented by Borromini, where space itself is set into motion and becomes a means of emotional expression. Borromini's more original treatment of architecture as such was further developed by Guarini, who in numerous projects for Theatine churches defined space as a system of interdependent cells which seem to be subject to a movement of pulsation. In fact, Guarini considered the pulsating, undulating movement a basic property of nature.

As a manifestation of the Counter-Reformation, Central European Baroque has a double face. Firstly, it aims at persuading the people, and from the very beginning it therefore assimilated local traditions and beliefs to become part of the world of daily life. It also had to express the power of those who were the guardians of faith, that is, the bishop and the prince, who in Central Europe were often one and the same person. Therefore, the Central European Baroque is popular as well as grandiose, and aims at communicating with "everybody'.

The architecture of the Counter-Reformation was introduced into Central Europe by the Jesuits before the end of the sixteenth century. It was only after the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), however, that building activity gained full momentum, and the main works of Central European Baroque stem from the eighteenth century.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Art of Persuasion
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.