John Calvin

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Born on July 10th, 1509 at Noyon in northern France; John Calvin would grow to be a key leader during the Protestant Reformation. Calvin's’ theological advancements would impact the Christian church for generations to come. Though John Calvin’s works are closely related to the development of Christian doctrines; his teachings (Calvinism) would also shape aesthetics in early modern Europe. While many Christians today disregard the cultural influence that Calvinism had on the world; early modern Europe demonstrates a variety of examples in which Calvinism inspired individuals in the fields of architecture and music.

Today, Christians who do not follow Calvinism believe that members of the Protestant Reformed tradition reject the creation of art. This general stereotype dates back even to the time of John Calvin. Author Voltaire exemplifies this in a claim that John Calvin was responsible for the Geneva’s hostility towards theater and art (Edgar 41). Notable French writer Oretin Douen, went as far to say that Calvin is, “an enemy of all pleasure and of all diversion, even of the arts and music” (Edgar 41).

However, apologetics such as the late theologian Abraham Kuyper defend the position that Calvinism promotes artistic works. Kuyper in his Lectures on Calvinism, states that art has a role to foster “proper mysticism.” In his lecture series Abraham Kuyper would continue to push the idea that art has a role in the church to gain a better understanding of God’s gifts to humanity. However, Kuyper believed that art that did not promote a deeper theological understanding of God would lead to an “art-intoxication” in society (Kuyper 142-170).

Before looking at how John Calvin’s teachings would impact early Europe, it would be bene...

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...of architecture and mathematics, DeLorme took a revolutionary approach to understanding the construction buildings.

As demonstrated by architects such as Philibert DeLorme, music was also an area that was heavily influenced by Calvinism in early modern Europe. The Calvinist has often been accused of prejudice against the arts: especially painting, sculpture, and music. It is hard to comprehend why individuals believe that Calvinist hold a grudge against the arts and music. On the contrary Calvinism has indeed made significant contributions to music theory. These developments in music have impacted composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach.

Johann Sebastian Bach was a famous German composer and musician who composed most of his work during the eighteenth century. During his lifetime J.S. Back would eventually come to work for Leopold, Prince of Anhalt-Kothen.
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