You are on page 1of 12

The seventeenth century The Age of War or Age of Reason?

General characteristics:
Expansion of the European empires into newly discovered territories esp. America, India, China and Southern Africa establishment of new colonies The creation of the French colonial Empire, of the Dutch Empire and of the British Empire also known as the First British Empire supported by the development of the East India Company

Frontispiece to Michael Drayton, Poly-Olbion (1612)

major scientific inventions: the pendulum clock, cuckoo clocks and the pocket watch; the earliest human powered submarine, new methods of calculation were invented: Blaise Pascal: an adding machine, William Oughtred: slide rule, Leibniz: a calculating machine; Torricelli: the barometer; Isaac Newton: the reflecting telescope; Thomas Savery: the steam pump; Robert Hook wrote the first book describing observations made through a microscope the English father of microscopy; a method for blood transfusion was discovered; Dom Prignon, a Benedictine monk introduced the second fermentation process which took place in the bottle = Champagne; canon and gunpowder technology improved

strong centralized European states entered into worldwide international competition for wealth and power; they fought one another in Europe, where warfare grew increasingly complex and expensive; there were wars of conquest and liberation (colonial wars), civil wars and wars of religion; - The Thirty Years War (1618 - 1648) - a local strife which rapidly developed into a general European war; a dynastic and religious war between Catholics and Protestants; ended with the re-arrangement of the European political structure

- The English Civil War (1641-1651) a series of conflicts between Parliamentarians and Royalists. James I: kings are little Gods on Earth Charles I: 'Princes are not bound to give account of their actions, but to God alone.' the war challenged the theory of the divine right of kings - the war/s ended with the beheading of the king and the rise to supreme power of Oliver Cromwell; After the execution of the King, a republic was declared, known as the Commonwealth of England. Cromwell led a Parliamentary invasion of Ireland from 164950.

Anthony Van Dyck Charles I of England c.1635

- contours the archetypal image of the cavalier (Lat. caballarius = horseman) = a mounted soldier, knight a supporter of Charles I, also called Royalist

"Charles is given a totally natural look of instinctive sovereignty, in a deliberately informal setting where he strolls so negligently that he seems at first glance nature's gentleman rather than England's King (Levey 1971:128)

Frans Halls The Laughing Cavalier (?) c.1624 - the eyes appear to follow the viewer from every angle

The Art of the Baroque Portrait

More emphasis laid on facial expression and presence, on individualism and detail Hints at realism and dynamism The sensation of deepness is obtained through plays of lights and shades and atmospheric effects realistic atmosphere a superb elegance of gesture and a psychological profundity are combined with a splendid harmony of tones and colors It is a style that strikes a perfect balance between the graphic and the pictorial, between the representation of detail and a suggestion of the imperfections of human vision