Early Baroque 1620 – 1660
The Thirty Years’ War, a struggle that lasted from 1618 to 1648, involved all of Europe, and finally absolved the tensions between the Protestants and Catholics. A new cultural style, Baroque, had begun to develop in Italy around 1600 as a result of the attempt to renew the Catholic faith by using the arts as propaganda. This renewal of faith and upsurge of the arts came to be known as the Counter-Reformation. Germany was ruined by the Thirty Years’ War and was removed from the artistic scene until the eighteenth century.
The new style emerging in the Baroque period was passionate, colourful, extravagant and theatrical. Opera was invented during this period – a rich art form that was a severe contrast to the previous period of inwardness.
Politically, England was entangled in a civil war, ending with the beheading of the King and a period of Puritanism that was not released until Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660, marking the end of this period.
In France, the weakness of Louis XIII led his chief minister to consolidate all power in the central government, preparing the way for the authority of Louis XIV.
The colonies of the New World began to grow and prosper, becoming a source of money, a place for excess populations, and a market for goods.