This essay considers the aesthetic changes in French poetry and painting as a result of the Saint Bartholomew's Day massacre in August 1572. By the end of the same year, the formal purity and striving for detailed perfection that defined mannerism were no longer relevant goals. The artist henceforth ceased to attempt to move an audience with formalist perfection, which, despite its potential for great beauty, might be considered devoid of meaning. Rather, artists and writers set out to draw their audience's attention by the strength of an argument, by a clearly oriented view of the world, whose imperfection and sometimes roughness accurately revealed a new relation to historical events. The new aesthetic that emerged after 1572 is one of violence. In the current study, I intend to demonstrate this last point through works that are emblematic of the baroque. These include Agrippa d'Aubigné's epic poem and artists' paintings from the École de Fontainebleau. Two portraits of the central characters responsible for the massacre, Catherine de Médicis and Henry, duc de Guise, will be compared to Diana's portrait in order to illustrate the transition from mannerism to baroque.
The Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre and Baroque Tendencies in France: The Impact of Religious Turmoils on the Aesthetics of the French Renaissance
Nadine Kuperty-Tsur; The Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre and Baroque Tendencies in France: The Impact of Religious Turmoils on the Aesthetics of the French Renaissance. Poetics Today 1 March 2007; 28 (1): 117–142. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/03335372-2006-017
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