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Europe in The 17 th Century. The Age of Reason, Enlightenment, Scientific Revolution, Neo-Classicism, and Global Trade. The Scientific Revolution. Emphasis on experimentation and inductive reasoning Scientific Method New methods of observation: the microscope and the telescope

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europe in the 17 th century

Europe inThe 17th Century

The Age of Reason, Enlightenment, Scientific Revolution,Neo-Classicism, and Global Trade

the scientific revolution
The ScientificRevolution
  • Emphasis on experimentation and inductive reasoning
  • Scientific Method
  • New methods of observation: the microscope and the telescope
  • 1645: Charles I chartered the Royal Society of London for the Improving of Natural Knowledge

A replica of Isaac Newton's telescope of 1672.

heliocentric theory
Heliocentric Theory
  • Nicholas Copernicus, astronomer: On the Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres, 1543
  • Giordano Bruno, astronomer: burnt at the stake for teaching heliocentric theory and infinity of universe, 1600
  • Johannes Kepler, mathematician and physicist:  laws of planetary motion; Astronomia nova, Harmonices Mundi, and Epitome of Copernican Astronomy. They also provided one of the foundations for Isaac Newton's theory of universal gravitation.

Copernicus, Portrait from Toruń, 1580

Giordano Bruno

Johannes Kepler

galileo galilei 1564 1642
Galileo Galilei1564-1642
  • Florentine astronomer
  • Law of falling bodies: gravity
  • Adapted Dutch lens into telescope:
    • Saw Jupiter’s moons, Saturn’s rings, phases of Venus and stars in the Milky Way
    • Proved heliocentric theory
  • The Starry Messenger, 1610
  • Dialogue Concerning the Two Principal Systems of the World, 1632
  • Persecuted by Inquisition – forced to recant.
sir isaac newton 1643 1727
Sir Isaac Newton1643-1727
  • Mathematician, physicist, astronomer, alchemist, and natural philosopher
  • Developed calculus contemporaneously but separately from Liebniz
  • PhilosophiaeNaturalis Principia Mathematica: described universal gravitation and the three laws of motion
  • Opticks: discovered that light was composed of particles

Godfrey Kneller's Sir Isaac Newton at 46

the age of reason
The Age of Reason
  • 17th c. philosophers broke with Medieval and Renaissance scholasticism
  • System-builders — philosophers who present unified systems of epistemology, metaphysics, logic, and ethics, and often politics and the physical sciences
  • RATIONALISTS: Knowledge can be gained through the power of reason – mathematics as basis of knowledge
    • Rene Descartes, Baruch Spinoza, Gottfried Leibniz
  • EMPIRICISTS: Knowledge comes through the senses, through experience – physical sciences as basis of knowledge
    • Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, George Berkeley, David Hume
ren descartes 1596 1660 cogito ergo sum i think therefore i am
René Descartes1596-1660“Cogito ergo sum” “I think, therefore, I am”
  • “Father of Modern Philosophy,” “Father of Modern Mathematics”
  • Developed analytic geometry
  • Discourse on the Method: methodological skepticism – favors deduction over perception

René Descartes. Portrait by Frans Hals, 1648

francis bacon 1561 1626
Francis Bacon1561-1626
  • Leading advocate for empiricism
  • Inductive reasoning: fact > axiom > law
  • NovumOrganum (New Method), 1620: advocated scientific study guided by precise methodolgy: experimentation, tabulation, record keeping
  • Separation of religion and science
the enlightenment
The Enlightenment
  • 18th c. movement in European and American philosophy and intellectual thought which advocated REASON as the primary basis for authority.
  • Period is marked by:
    • Nation building
    • Government consolidation
    • Systemization of knowledge: academies, encyclopedias, dictionaries
    • Decline in power of authoritarian institutions such as the church and nobility
    • Greater rights for common people
prominent enlightenment philosophers
Prominent Enlightenment Philosophers


Thomas Paine

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Mary Wollstonecraft

David Hume

a class society
  • The Aristocracy
  • Professionals
    • Scientists
    • Physicians
    • Attorneys
    • Clergy
    • Literati
    • Military Officers
  • Merchants and Bankers
  • Tradespeople
  • Working Class
    • Domestic Servants
    • Hired labor
    • Apprentices
    • The Unemployed: debtors, beggars,thieves
  • Peasants
poverty and unemployment
Poverty and Unemployment
  • Displaced agrarian labor
  • No social safety net
  • Education only for the elite
  • Child labor
  • Cheap gin

Gin Lane (1751). Etching and Engraving by William Hogarth. The New York Public Library.

societal ideals
Societal Ideals
  • Clear hierarchical structures
  • Public life more important than private life
  • Decorum: well-defined codes of behavior
  • Society:importance of the social group and shared opinion
  • Marriage and family as a social microcosm
  • Urbane: the city is the center of human discourse – the country is pastoral, an idealized refuge for renewal and relaxation, or the venue of the ignorant “country bumpkins”
  • Wit:the importance of language used well
social gatherings
Social Gatherings

Prince of Wales

Samuel Johnson

Oliver Goldsmith

James Boswell

Hester Thrale

Mary “Perdita” Robinson

Duchess of Devonshire

Vauxhall Gardens (1784). A drawing by Thomas Rowlandson. Victoria and Albert Royal Museum.


Coffee and News


and Newpapers

Addison and SteeleThe Spectator

Periodical Essays

Literary Criticism

Character Sketches

Political Discussion

Philosophical Ideas

A London coffeehouse. The British Museum

literary salons
Literary Salons
  • Intellectual and literary circles formed around women
  • Brought together members of society and philosophers and artists
  • Emphasis on conversation and wit

A reading of Molière, Jean François de Troy, ca. 1728

neo classicism
  • The consideration of Greek and Roman art and literature as “the canon” of art
  • Adoption of Classical conventions into art, architecture and literature
  • Desire for stability and order
  • Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns
    • The Ancients: Greece and Rome established standards and models never to be excelled
    • The Moderns: those standing on the shoulders of their predecessors could see farther – the new could excell the ancient

G. P. Pannini assembles the canon of Roman ruins and Roman sculpture into one vast imaginary gallery (1756)

neo classical artist
Neo-Classical Artist
  • Social
  • Arbiter of Taste
  • Elitist
  • Moral
  • Intellectual
  • Critic

Louis Michel van Loo Portrait of Diderot

artistic conventions
Artistic Conventions
  • Verisimilitude
    • a semblance of truth
    • Hazlitt: “the close imitation of men and manners… the very texture of society as it really exists.”
    • recognizable settings and characters in real time
    • elimination of fantastic and supernatural elements
  • Morality
    • Revelation of ideal moral patterns
    • Poetic justice: the good are rewarded and the wicked punished
    • God’s plan is inevitably just
  • Universality
    • Social norms are unchanged regardless of period or locale
  • Decorum
    • Appropriate adherence to contemporary behavioral standards

J. S. Muller after Samuel Wale, A General Prospect of Vaux Hall Gardens Shewing at one View the disposition of the whole Gardens (after 1751).

  • Art as an improvement upon nature
  • Neo-classical ideals: balance, harmony, reason
  • Gardens
  • Major poetic forms:
    • Heroic couplets: rhymed iambic pentameter (English): ں / ں / ں / ں / ں /
    • Alexandrines:rhymed iambic hexameter (French):ں / ں / ں / ں / ں / ں /
    • Epic and mock epic
    • Poetic essay
literary genres
Literary Genres
  • Drama:comedy and tragedy
  • Epistle:public letters in poetry or prose
  • Epic:didactic, idealistic,
  • Ode:occasional poem in praise of an event or person
  • Satire: exposure of public and private foolishness
    • Mock epics
    • Mock odes
  • Epigrams:pithy, witty ideas
  • Novels:realistic portrayals of bourgeois life
social satire
Social Satire
  • Voltaire, Candide
  • Alexander Pope
    • Mock epic: “The Rape of the Lock”
    • Literary Satire: “The Dunciad
  • Jonathan Swift
    • “A Modest Proposal”
    • Gulliver’s Travels





The Laughing Audience (1733). Etching and engraving by William Hogarth. The New York Public Library

french neoclassical theatre 17th 18th c
French Neoclassical Theatre, 17th-18th C.
  • Modelled theatre on Greek and Roman examples
  • Disdained English Elizabethan theatre’s “messiness” and eclecticism
  • Neoclassical Conventions
    • Decorum
    • Verisimilitude
    • Universal truths
    • Poetic: Alexandrines
    • 5 act structure
    • 3 unities: time, place action
tragedy and comedy
Tragedy and Comedy
  • Rulers/nobility
  • Affairs of state
  • Unhappy ending
  • Lofty poetic style
  • Revealed the horrible results of mistakes and misdeeds committed from passion
  • Corneille and Racine
  • Middle class/bourgeosie
  • Domestic/private affairs
  • Happy ending – often deus ex machina
  • Ordinary speech
  • Ridicules behavior that should be avoided
  • Moliere
pierre corneille 1606 1684
Pierre Corneille1606-1684
  • Known as “the founder of French tragedy”
  • Chafed under the critical strictures of Cardinal Richelieu and the Académie Français
  • Le Cid 1637Querelle de Cid
jean baptiste poquelin moli re 1622 1673
Jean-Baptiste Poquelin Moliére1622-1673
  • Playwright, actor, producer – headed his own theatrical company
  • Favorite of Louis XIV – troupe was established at court: Palais Royale Theatre
  • Influenced by commedia dell arte and by Roman comedies and French farces – he used these forms to ridicule social and moral pretensions.
  • Le Misanthrope, (The Misanthrope), L'École des femmes (The School for Wives), Tartuffe ou l'Imposteur, (Tartuffe or the Hypocrite), L'Avare ou l'École du mensonge (The Miser), Le Bourgeois gentilhomme (The Bourgeois Gentleman).
jean racine 1639 1699
First tragedies originally produced by Moliere’s company – he defected to the rival Hôtel de Bourgogne

Most of his tragedies are based on classical themes and tragedies

Considered the master of the Alexandrine line

Major works:Andromaque (1667) Britannicus(1669) Bérénice (1670) Iphigénie (1674) Phèdre (1677)

Jean Racine1639-1699
english restoration theatre
Theatres reopened with restoration of Charles II

French influence:


Heroic couplets

Neoclassical modes:

Social comedies

Heroic tragedies

Comedy of Manners

Witty--language driven

Satirical of social mores


Marriage and money

English Restoration Theatre

Painting of the interior of the Drury Lane Theater. Thomas Rowlandson. The British Library.

england s first professional female author aphra behn


  • The Forced Marriage (1670)
  • The Amorous Prince (1671)
  • Abdelazar (1676)
  • The Rover (1677-81)
  • The Feign'dCurtezans(1679)
  • The City Heiress (1682)
  • The Lucky Chance (1686)
  • The Lover's Watch (1686)
  • The Emperor of the Moon (1687)
  • Lycidus (1688)
England’s first professional female author:AphraBehn


  • Venice Preserv'd
  • The History of the Nun
  • Love Letters between a Nobleman and his sister (1684)
  • The Fair Jilt (1688)
  • Oroonoko (c.1688)
  • The Unfortunate Happy Lady: ATrue History

The Royal Exchange. Engraving by Bartolozzi. The British Library


The Rise of the Middle Class

Increased Literacy

Leisure Time

International Trade

Empire Building

global cooling 1550 1700 the little ice age
Global Cooling: 1550-1700The Little Ice Age
  • Shorter growing seasons
  • Rising grain prices
  • Increased illness – outbreaks of the plague in Europe and China
  • Shifts in fishing and trade patterns

Frost Fair on the

Thames River,


  • “The Age of Discovery was largely over, the age of imperialism as yet to come. The seventeenth century was the age of improvisation.” Timothy Brook, Vermeer’s Hat
  • Mutual influence among cultures – negotiation and borrowing
  • Age of mobility
  • Europeans adopted new technologies: magnetic compass, paper, gunpowder – all invented in China
china s demand for silver
China’s Demand for Silver


Manila Galleon

Center for Chinesetraders

New Spain

Potosi Silver Mine


VermeerThe Geographer1668-69

Model: Antoine Van Leeuwenhoek?

Genre painting – science embodied in astronomy

and geography

VermeerThe Astronomer1668


The Terrestrial Globe

The Celestial Globe


Jan Vermeer, 1632-75View of Delft, 1658

The pre-eminence of Holland in Global Trade: The Dutch East Indies Co.

Warehouse of the Dutch East India Company


Interior with a Dordrecht Family (detail)NicolaesMaes1656

Delft China 18th Century, Companie Des Indes


Girl Reading a Letter1657-59

Woman Asleep,1656-57

sofonisba anguisola c 1532 1625 self portrait c 1554
SofonisbaAnguisolac. 1532- 1625Self-Portrait, c. 1554
  • Italian
  • Spent 10 yrs. at court of Philip II in Madrid
  • An aristocrat, not daughter of painter but encouraged by her father
  • Numerous self-portraits -- more than any other artist between Dürer & Rembrandt
lavinia fontana 1552 1614
Lavinia Fontana 1552-1614
  • Daughter of painter in Bologna
  • First woman to have normal successful artistic career -- she had a very helpful husband who supported her in her career and helped to care for their many children
  • 32-57 extant paintings (over 100 listed) including still-lifes, small and large scale Biblical and mythological works, and altarpieces (very rare for women artists of this time period)
  • In 1572, she recieved a papal commission and was elected to the Roman Academy.

Self Portrait, 1577

clara peeters 1589 1657
Clara Peeters1589-1657
  • Clara Peeters was born possibly in Antwerp, Holland.
  • By the time she was seventeen, her works indicate that she was already a highly accomplished artist.
  • She specialized in still life studies of gorgeous objects, luscious fruits, exotic flowers and expensive food.
  • She was also a portraitist whose works included self-portraits.

Still Life, n.d.

artemesia gentileschi 1593 1652
Artemesia Gentileschi1593-1652
  • Daughter of painter Orazio Gentileschi, a follower of Caravaggio
  • Raped by teacher AgostinoTossi
  • Married to a Florentine and moved to Florence
  • Considered to be 1st influential woman artist
  • Biblical and mythical subjects with heroines -- female nudes-- psycho-drama rather than physical charm
  • Strong personality

Self-Portrait as a Female Martyr, c. 1615

artemesia gentileschi judith slaying holofernes 1612 13
Artemesia Gentileschi, Judith Slaying Holofernes, 1612-13
  • Judith as model of psychic liberation -- female who acts- confrontation of sexes from female point of view
Artemesia Gentileschi, Cleopatra, 1621-22Her first reclining nude -- departs from tradition by showing effects of gravity
woman playing the lute 1610 12
Woman Playing the Lute,1610-12

Artemesia Gentileschi

judith leyster 1609 60
Judith Leyster1609-60

Self-Portrait, 1635

  • One of 2 female members of the painters' guild in her native Haarlem
  • an independent Dutch artist with her own workshop & pupils.
  • Her work was influenced by FransHals
  • Lively genre scenes popular with newly-rich merchants.

Judith Leyster,

A Game of Cards

mary beale 1633 99
Mary Beale, 1633-99

Self-Portrait, 1675

  • Daughter of a puritan rector, an amateur painter.
  • Became a well-known portrait painter who supported her family by her painting.

Her husband, Charles gave up his occupation in the Patents Office to join her in her studio to prepare her canvases and mix her paints.

  • He experimented with pigments and became an expert in the field, sometimes selling his ideas from his “tryalls” to other artists.
  • It was interest not necessity that made Mary and Charles such a good partnership.
elisabetta sirani 1638 65
  • Daughter of a Bolognese artist, she took over his studio when he developed gout.
  • Known for religious and historical scenes.
  • Opened the first studio for women artists.

Self-Portrait, ca. 1660


“This year's (1994) Traditional Holiday stamp is the first to depict the work of a woman artist. ElisabettaSirani'sVirgin & Child was chosen for the stamp. An artist of international renown, Sirani created 190 pieces during the 1660s, a time when there were very few women artists. She established a painting school for women in her early twenties and was so beloved in her native Bologna that the entire city went into mourning when she died at age twenty-seven. Her depiction of the Virgin and child has been admired both for its technical mastery and for its tenderness.”

Virgin and Child, 1663 ElisabettaSirani