1. Baroque 巴洛克
The Baroque period in art has a rather fascinating beginning.
During the mid-1500s, the Catholic Church was feeling threatened
by the increasing conversion of the population to Lutheranism. The
church convened the Council of Trent, which took place from 1545
to 1563. At the Council of Trent, religious reforms were being
questioned, proposed, and reconsidered. Martin Luther’s scathing
criticism of the church found supporters everywhere. As a
response, the church launched an advertising blitz, reiterating
and reaffirming that its fundamental teachings(教義) to combat the
Protestant criticisms that were turning the public away from the
Catholic Church. Since winning over the few educated intellectuals
who were able to read at the time would not make a big difference
maintaining the power of the Catholic Church, the uneducated
masses were targeted.
Since the majority of people could not be reached via the written
word, to inspire them to stay loyal, the Catholic Church and its
teachings would require a medium that did not require literacy.
The answer to this was clear, the church embarked on the
systematic religious advertising campaign using art. This marked
the beginning of the Baroque era.
2. Ukiyo-e 浮世繪
The term, ukiyo, means floating world, an idea which reflected the
hedonistic and carefree lifestyles of Japan’s rising middle
At the beginning of the 17th century, when woodblock painting just
begun, Japan had reached a turning point. After years of war and
economic struggles, the nation finally achieved peace and
prosperity under the rule of Tokugawa(徳川) family. Japan’s
increasing wealth allowed for a mass production, purchase, and
transportation of goods, which had never been possible before.
Among the mass production of goods, ukiyo-e prints became popular
between 1615 and 1858. They were especially popular among
merchants, the lowest class of Japan’s Confucian social hierarchy
at the time. The merchants actually benefited the most financially
during the Edo period. As the merchant class grew wealthier,
ukiyo-e art became a popular symbol of wealth. Many families
decorated their homes with prints featuring beautiful geishas,
kabuki actors, historical events, and the natural world.
3. Cubism 立體派 (*請注意立體派這個翻譯其實很容易引起誤會，往下看
At the turn of the 20th century, artists found themselves in a
fast pace in ever-changing modern world. Technological advances,
political changes, and dramatic changes for their social
structures were all happening at this time. Photography was
increasingly being used for portraiture and to document historical
and everyday events. So, it was only natural for painters to turn
to other themes. The leading artists of the day, Pablo Picasso and
Georges Braque, felt that the new artistic style was needed to
connect with the modern audience and reflect the struggles of
Inspired by Post-Impressionist Paul Cézanne, Cubist artists
deviated from the three-dimensional perspective that have been the
norm in art since the Renaissance. They instead painted two-
dimensional figures from multiple perspectives to convey a sense
of totality and the uniquely modern way.