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European History by Gloria Fiero

The publication of the King James Version of the Bible in 1611 also made the Bible's "spiritual fervor" and "narrative vigor" much more accessible and served as an inspiration to writers. The devotionalism of the poet John Donne was almost secondary to his inventive metaphysical style in which the baroque interest in dramatic contrast and discordant imagery was presented in a new conversational style that rejected the forced poetic diction of earlier poets. In John Milton the cosmic encounter between Lucifer and God is depicted in Paradise Lost, a long poem on the epic level that comments on and develops the Bible's stories of the emergence of evil and humanity's loss of innocence.

In the Netherlands the paintings of Rembrandt were the highest achievement of a movement in which religious subjects were used as sources of "moral knowledge and instruction" (36). Rembrandt's un-idealized representations of stories from the Old Testament and the life of Christ fit into the tradition of Northern devotionalism. But his emphasis on the poor and the unjustly persecuted was a part of a strictly Protestant interest in the idea of personal responsibility for acting on the dictates of conscience to help those in need. Rembrandt was much more famous as a printmaker than as a painter in his own time. His inventiveness in the medium combined perfectly with the limited purchasing power of Dutch merchants who wanted devotional images.

The music of the north reached its height in the works of the Germans George Frederick Handel and Johann Sebastian Bach. Handel invented the oratorio form in which biblical subjects were given musical settings. The form was similar to opera except that it did not involve the same dramatic action and presentation. Though Handel employed some polyphony his music was primarily homophonic and the oratorios relied on their impressive dynamics among parts (chorus, instruments, soloists) to create dramatic impact....

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European History by Gloria Fiero. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 02:58, September 21, 2017, from
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