Essay Example: How the Church Used Arts to Spread Its Dominance During the Middle-Ages

Published: 2023-02-23
Essay Example: How the Church Used Arts to Spread Its Dominance During the Middle-Ages
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Music Arts Architecture Christianity Church
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1874 words
16 min read

The church played critical in leadership and governance during the middle-age. The middle-age was a period that began after the fall of the Western Empire, which marked the beginning of an evolution of policies in society, especially regarding politics. Spiritual nourishment was a significant concern among all aspects of life, such as economics and politics. At this period, the church had dominated and had become more of an organization than a religious sanction. Everyone, whether rich or poor, believed in God and the existence of heaven and hell; thus, it was a source of morality. More so, it was a sign of social power, which, in turn, made the clergy to have a say in policies. Importantly, the medieval church, also called the middle-age, did not gain its dominance over people on its own. Its source of control as a result of some social factors, which include art, architecture, and music. Notably, all these factors are captivating to the people's interests; thus, they were useful tools in overpowering society and letting the church take control over them.

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Art was a primary method of communicating during the medieval period. It was a medium of transmitting knowledge from one source to another. Examples of art mediums were scriptures, mosaics, sculptures, and glasses. Architecture during the middle-age was a sign of high value and class. The church used it to portray God's presence; thus, illustrating power and dominance. McClendon explained that beautiful architecture meant that the church was more godly, which, in turn, made it attract more followers. Music played a role almost similar to the use of art as it was also a medium communication, mainly when spreading the word of God. Most importantly, it was an accompaniment of prayers during worship. It was solely in the form of vocal enchantment, as well as instruments.

The most critical role that art, architecture, and music played in spreading the middle-age church's popularity was the portrayal of worship. They helped in boosting the spirituality status of the church, which, in turn, made people believe in its significance in their lives; thus, attaining its dominance. According to Lynch, the praise and worship of God by the church was significant as it was a depiction of its relevance to the people. Notably, the church used art and music to explain and interpret the word the scriptures for the believers in a bid to make Christianity spread globally, as Jesus had instructed. Lynch argued that art and music were a creative way of explaining the life of Jesus and other biblical stories, which, in turn, attracted many followers who wanted to learn about Christianity.

An excellent example of this purpose is the Madonna and Child painting by Duccio di Buoninsegna in the late 14th century. The art features a woman holding her child who seems to be comfortable in his mother's arm. The symbolic messages of this painting mainly meant the connection between the infant Jesus with his mother, Mary the Virgin. Lynch argued that the Catholic dominion used this painting to illustrate and the worship the significance of Mary the Virgin, whom they term as "Mother of all Mothers." It demonstrated the loving and caring attitude of Mary to convince people that she the best of mothers.

On the other hand, architecture boosted the depiction of worship by illustrating class. According to McClendon, the medieval church was highly sensitive to the choice of architecture. It invested many resources on the building styles, and structures as the more expensive the church appeared, the more it attracted. Notably, since the middle-age period was a religious-sensitive society, God had to be attributed to the best gifts, especially the place of worship. People, whether poor or rich, gave out their resources for splendid architecture in building churches as they believe that they were worshiping God in class. A high-value architecture meant that God's church was a presence in that particular church, which, in turn, attracted ore followers; thus, attaining its dominance.

Art, music, and architecture, as forms of literature, were essential tools in uniting a divided society in the medieval period. During this period, the feudal system, which entailed nobles ruling all the land, was widespread, and the peasants had to survive under the favor of the nobles. However, the use of literature united them all, as both parties acquired knowledge using the same medium. The unity was also because of belief in God by both the rich and the poor. They believed that God did not discriminate people and, therefore, the church used literature to insist on the importance of unity by educating societies about godly practices.

Notably, the medieval church relayed the messages about the criticality of humanity through art, music, and architecture. Promoting humanity was a method of achieving unity in the middle-age period. For instance, romanticism, a category of medieval literature, depicted messages of emotions. The church used romanticism art to promote love among people through relaying teachings about life. An excellent example of the architectural unity symbol was Gothic, which marked the English Culture. The English churches put up the gothic structures as a sign of their in identity; hence, making them distinguish themselves from the Roman churches. The use of gothic strengthened the movement of the English churches, which were dominantly Protestants; thus, making them as popular as the Catholic Church.

Apart from religious education, the church used art to state its stance about a movement, as well as spreading it to gain support and relevance from people. The movement that was popular at the time is the Reformation, where people were either Reformists or Non-Reformist. The rise of the middle-age in history, mainly Europe, saw the division of the Western Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church. During this period, the believers of the Catholic Church began falling out regarding how the practices Christianity, as Jesus had described. As a result, a group of Protestants emerged against Catholicism, who later entirely rejected the church to form the Protestant Church. Notably, both the Reformists and Non-Reformists depended on the power of art, music, and architecture in explaining to people about tenets of their side as a method of convincing them to join them. The three modes of works of literature were significantly a communication platform of reaching people and making arguments concerning relevance by either side. The argumentation process entailed each party, explaining the reasons for embarking their course.

For instance, the Non-Reformists, led by Martin Luther, made a painting that illustrated the corrupt state of the Reformists who were dominantly Catholics to gain support from the people. As a result, the Catholic Church came to an end, with many European countries withdrawing their involvement. Indeed, the quick spread of the Reformation, despite the high popularity rate of the Catholic Church in the middle age period, is a useful illustration of how the medieval church used literature to gain its power and dominance in all aspects of life at the time.

Economic wealth and stability was a measurement of the medieval church. Notably, the Church played not only clergy responsibility but also political, especially in governance. The Medieval period had begun after the fall of the Roman Empire, and the Church had to take over the rule of Europe. It devolved to have its headquarters in Rome, together with an emperor whose title was the pope. Before the beginning of the Reformation period, the medieval church a dominant source of power thanks to its massive wealth. The pope also had become like an earthly god who people feared and worship, so he was an influential figure.

Likewise, the medieval church used the literature tools of art, architecture, and music to manipulate its economic growth. Importantly, wealth is a critical component of rank and relevance attainment in society as it comes with the power to influence, as well as to control. What happened in the middle-age is that the church took advantage of its power and manipulate people into supporting it financially. First, there was a persistent of paying high taxes to the church. The nobles, who are the rich, had to give ten percent of their earnings to the church, whereas the peasants had to give a significant amount of the produce of their labor since they could not access money.

Now, art and music were more of a manipulative strategy of convincing people to pay the tax. Besides, the clergy used artistic devices to label the taxes as offerings, which is a Christian way of thanksgiving as instructed by God. Art and music mainly intended to convince and persuade people to give their earnings to the church. For instance, the medieval songs crafted messages that explained the importance of giving to the Church as a strategy of building a stable relationship with God. The influence ability of art and music made people believe in giving to the church, which, in turn, eventually made it rich. Similarly, paintings and other sculptures depicted a context that suggested the mandatory of people to financially support the church.

The medieval church gained its popularity as people saw it as a connection to creating a relationship with God. The medieval period was religiously firm, and the belief about heaven and hell was staunch in controlling people's behavior. However, the clergy took advantage of the staunchness and began exploiting the followers to get more finances. For instance, the clergy introduced a false belief that had Christians pay to go to heaven, and those who refused to pay would straight to Hell. Again, art and music as modes of literature were effective mediums of convincing people to agree with the exploitation. Here, art and music were more of advertising mechanisms than spiritual as they aimed at convincing people that it was beneficial to pay for heaven. The medieval church used them in educating people about the significance of heaven and the woes of hell. An excellent example is the Doom Paintings that talked about Eschatology, where God will judge people and condemn the sinners to hell.

Importantly, the medieval church depended on art for propaganda purposes to spread its dominance over the world. During the time, propaganda was an essential tool for attracting the public's affection to accomplish an objective. Propaganda refers to a political machine that entails the use of exaggerated ideas which politicians use to facilitate their courses. Notably, the medieval church comprised of two major dominions, Catholicism and Protestants. Each of these dominions strived to be more popular than the other since they had different views about Christianity. Therefore, propaganda by these dominions was a way of shunning each other's image to gain popularity by making people believe that one was better than the other, and vice-versa. Discrediting one side meant that the other would conquer popularity and dominance.

One of the medieval church propaganda movements was the Lutheran conflict against the Catholic Church. It happened during the reformation period when a group protesting against Catholicism emerged. The Lutheran aimed at printing the Catholic Church as a source of immorality in the Christian religion. The widespread Lutheran propaganda was that defamed the pope by portraying him as a symbol of antichrist. Here, the propagandists use art, music, together with the architecture, to intentionally relay their messages of discretization to win.

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