ROME — In Rome, the boundary between art and propaganda is a porous membrane, and the prevalent Baroque style of the 17th and 18th centuries mixes the two almost inextricably.
One of the battlefields between the two 17th-century geniuses Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Francesco Borromini was the missionary college that occupies one end of piazza di Spagna. The façade overlooking the piazza went to Bernini, the favorite architect of教皇乌尔班八世巴贝里尼在1644年,。这是奖立面,等级制度ly more important because it overlooks the end of a long piazza, but it is extraordinarily disappointing, a boring, flat series of squares and rectangles easily overshadowed by Borromini’s later façade placed along the street delineating the western edge of the college block. This was commissioned under Urban’s successor,Pope Innocent X Pamphilj，谁倾向于不赞成他的前任更喜欢所有的艺术家。米尼，立刻在1647年从英诺森十收到的委托，要求准许买房子的街对面，并接管相邻的未建空间，并在图纸他1648和1652之间做他提出打开空间变成一个广场那会突出自己的外观。房子属于贝尼尼和“未建空间”是这所房子的花园，所以这个建议无异于战争行为。但是博罗米尼跑的超时。1655年他的赞助商英诺森十去世，由亚历山大七世基吉，贝尔尼尼的私交取代。米尼的项目不仅失败了，但贝尼尼获准建立他的花园的网站上的其他房子，甚至把它粘几英寸入路，剥离学院的任何突出的Borrominian角落。
The college had, and has, a missionary vocation, and as a result the building is known by its Latin name, the Propaganda Fide, the Propagation of the Faith. The street with Borromini’s marvelous façade is called via di Propaganda. And walking along Propaganda Street, I couldn’t help but think about the complex relationship between art and propaganda.
Propaganda, or specifically the use of art to convey a political or religious message, hardly began with the Baroque. Until the modern age and the emancipation of the artist from the patron, it could be argued that all art was to some extent propaganda, in that it was an expression of the beliefs or ideals of a ruling class that was prepared to pay for decoration and claimed the right to decide what it looked like. The religious wars of the 17th century infused the Baroque with a kind of dramatic argumentative urgency that is quite different from the even lighting and graceful realism of the High Renaissance, or the acid colors and withdrawal from naturalism that distinguishes Mannerist art. Its message was initially and profoundly religious, a defense of Catholicism against all comers, with an emphasis on the miraculous. It offered visions of heaven replacing the architectural elements of a church ceiling, as if the ceiling had disappeared to reveal the divine universe, tangible and proximate, pushing in from above.
The Baroque is probably the most immediately identifiable propagandistic style of early modernity. Its turbulent draperies and gesticulative language urge, exhort, and even berate the viewer. Baroque art does not passively let itself be looked at, but tries to direct the viewer toward a point of view and a conclusion. That conclusion could be secular — look at the decoration of Versailles and you will immediately recognize the awe-inspiring power of the French kings — or it could be religious, and not only Catholic, or even Christian, as the existence of Baroque yeshivas in Venice show. The Baroque was an effective medium of conveying an authoritarian message, religious or secular. It was useful in a 200-year-long period that saw the development of absolutism and the hardening of religious borders. Not only that, but it was polymorphous: The Baroque could express itself in painting, sculpture, architecture, music, and the decorative arts, all the way down to a book-binding. It was not engineered, unlike subsequent propaganda movements like the Nazi or the Soviet. It was organic, but it all grew from the same spring: wealthy patronage from monarchs and popes, aristocrats and religious orders, even craft guilds and merchants.
Until late in the early modern period artists were seen as craftsmen, there to do a job and execute the wishes of the patron, well above the level of a shoemaker or a tailor, but on the same spectrum. A nobleman would tell an artist, “I want an altarpiece for my family chapel and it needs to have Christ on the Cross plus St Nicholas on one side because my name is Niccolò and St Lucy on the other side because my wife’s name is Lucia.” The canons of the church where the noble had his family chapel also had the right to express an opinion or even veto works of art they didn’t like, and they would give their own indications: “doctrine says that you must depict St Nicholas with three golden balls and St Lucy with her eyes on a plate.” Under such circumstances, the interests and preoccupations of the artist, today a deep source of creative inspiration, barely got a look in. Of course, there was still plenty of room for individuality in style, without changing the basic message.
我们假定的装饰画Cathol的表达ic doctrine, but is it propaganda? In the sense that it propagates the faith, yes, it is; but it is also propagating a particular image of piety and patrons, to their social advantage. Secular painting could be equally propagandistic, particularly portraiture. Tomb monuments were explicit small-scale works of propaganda, because they expressed how the sponsor wished to be seen for eternity. When someone criticized Michelangelo because his portrait of Giuliano de’ Medici didn’t at all resemble the deceased, the artist replied “In a thousand years, who will know the difference?”