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The 17th Century

The expansion of the Baroque style was linked to the Catholic church and its policy of using art as a vehicle for religion and as an expression of the sublimation of the Catholic faith. Extravagance, the essential characteristic of the Baroque style, was the reason this style was so quickly adopted by the European courts, as well as by their recently acquired American colonies and the Calvinist courts of the Netherlands and Germany, the ultimate aim of the operation. This was a period during which styles from the East began to influence artistic milieux. Rare porcelains, Chinese screens and extraordinary lacquerwork had a place on honor in the literary salon of Madame de Rambouillet. The impact was immediate. Fascination for this work spread throughout all of Europe; it remained fashionable up until the mid-twentieth century. The Baroque style, its exuberance, appearance, luxury, exaggeration, monumentality and pathos, owes much to the Council of Trent and the counter-reformation, and nothing, in fact, to chance.