Reformation and Counter-Reformation
A persuasive language for religious art
Political events and contamination between different geographic areas were key to the varied stylistic evolution of works of art.
The effects of the dictates of the Counter-Reformation were not uniformly felt throughout Europe and beyond, but were interpreted distinctly in different cultural and artistic contexts. Political events and contamination between different geographic areas were key to the varied stylistic evolution of works of art.
From the vast range of works emerges an obviously uniform effort to spread and promote Catholicism.
The Christian absorption and transformation of iconographic elements belonging to remote cultures is particularly interesting, as documented for example by the Portuguese Church in missionary lands, principally by the Jesuit Order.
Abbey Church of the Benedictine Order St. Ulrich and St. Afra

1603–1608: vaulting and decoration of the altars in the choir; pulpit in the middle nave; 1698–1705: Chapel of All-Saints; 1714: renovation of the Chapel of St. Simpert; 1762–1765: renovation of the Crypt of St. Ulrich
Augsburg, Swabia, Germany
Choir altars and pulpit, design: Hans Krumpper (c. 1570–1634); sculptures: Hans Degler (1565–1637); polychrome coating: Elias Greither d. Ä. (1565/70–1646);
Bronze sculpture of the crucifixion, model: Hans Reichle (c. 1570–1642); cast: Wolfgang Neidhardt (1575–1632);
Chapel of All Saints, stucco: Matthias Lotter [n.d.]; ceiling fresco: Johann Georg Knappich (1637–1704); altar: Johann Georg Schmierer [n.d.];
Crypt of St. Ulrich: Placidus Verhelst (1727–1778)
The monumental altar has a three-part structure decorated with multi-coloured figures.
However, the verticalism and the extremely fine weaving in the structure suggest a Late Gothic language, the fulfilling and suggestive force of the altarpiece is already heading towards Baroque scenic installations.