The Age of Enlightenment
Towards a rational art: reshaping rhetoric and splendour
The ideas of the Enlightenment brought about change in the iconography of the visual arts, moving it away from allegory, and shifting it towards concise and easily understandable content.
It was not only the notion of splendour – that in former times had been the main category of representation – which was seen as senseless in the new rational, argumentative and commercial world, but also the complex allegorised and illusionist rhetoric of the Baroque era. So the ideas of the Enlightenment brought about change in the iconography of the visual arts, moving it away from allegory and shifting it towards concise and easily understandable content. This was especially true for history scenes that were regarded popularly as “real” renditions of the past. Now intended as religious or profane examples to serve the purposes of church and state, they were to be not rhetorically persuasive but simply instructive.
Catholic Parish Church of St. Peter and St. Paul

1772–1775; consecration: 1780; dated on tower (onion dome) 1775
Götzens, Tyrol, Innsbruck Land District, Austria
Architecture and design of the stucco decoration: Franz Singer (1724–1789); altars: Johann Schnegg (1724–1784); frescoes: Matthäus Günther (1705–1788); main altar: Franz Anton Maulpertsch (1724–1796, workshop)
The interior of the parish church in Götzens is splendidly decorated with all the overcrowding typical of the full Rococo style. Despite that, the topics of the fresco cycle are selected due to the educational principles of Enlightenment: scenes taken from the Bible, such as the History of the Apostles, should instruct the faithful in living an exemplary Christian life.