Vocabulary Terms Baroque: ornate style of art and architecture popular in the 1600s and 1700s Censorship: restriction on access to ideas and information Enlightened despot: absolute ruler who uses power to bring about political and social change Rococo: personal, elegant style of art and architecture made popular during the mid-1700s and featuring fancy designs in the shape of leaves, shells and scrolls Salon: informal social gathering at which writers, artists, and philosophers exchanged ideas
Prominent People in this Section Joseph II: Hapsburg emperor who improved the lives of his subjects through a reformation Johann Sebastian Bach: famous German composer George Frederick Handel: famous German composer and opera writer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: child prodigy and famous composer Daniel Defoe: author of Robinson Crusoe Candide: novel written by Voltaire in 1759
Setting the Scene Paris was the heart of the Enlightenment. Proposals of new ideas spread rapidly overnight. These ideas flowed across Europe. Most of these ideas caused people to take a closer look at their traditional beliefs and customs and the reason behind them.
The Challenge of New Ideas The upper, educated class read Diderot’s Encyclopedia and many other pamphlets. They began to see the need for a reformation. During the Middle Ages, Europeans accepted a society that focused on divine-right rule, a strict class system and heaven. The Age of Reason contradicted these beliefs. People who believed in the Enlightenment sought social justice and happiness.
Censorship The government and church officials disagreed with the Enlightenment thinkers. In retaliation, they used censorship and banned or burned books after imprisoning the authors. Philosophes and writers like Montesquieu and Voltaire disguised their beliefs in fiction. Montesquieu mocked French society in the Persian Letters. In his novel Candide, Voltaire talked about the corruption and hypocrisy of European society through his novel’s hero.
Salons Salons were started in the 1600s when noblewomen in Paris would discuss poetry with their friends. Middle class women began to hold their own salons in the 1700s. Discussions about new literature, the arts, science, and philosophy were held in these. Madame Geoffrin ran the most respected salon. She brought together the brightest and most talented people of her day, including Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Diderot.
Enlightened Despots Philosophes tried to get European rulers to adopt their ideas. They wanted the ruling class to accept these ideas in order to bring about reform. Those of the ruling class who did adopt the Enlightenment concepts became known as enlightened despots.
Fredrick the Great Fredrick II, the king of Prussia from 1740 to 1786, called himself the “first servant of the state”, even though he had a powerful grip on his subjects. He had Voltaire develop a Prussian academy of science in Berlin. His subjects were forced to drain away swamplands and grow new crops. He tolerated religious differences and distributed seeds and tools to those who suffered in Prussia’s wars. Fredrick’s reforms were to make the government more efficient. He fixed the civil service and the laws in order to give himself more power.
Catherine the Great Catherine II of Russia was another follower of Voltaire. She became empress in During her reign, Catherine limited reforms in law and government. Nobles were granted a charter of rights. Catherine criticized serfdom, but did not intend to give up her power. Although her empire was expanded, Catherine did not reform Russia.
Joseph II Joseph II, the emperor of Hapsburg and son of Maria Theresa, traveled in disguise to learn the problems of his subjects. He wanted to improve their lives and was nicknamed the “peasant emperor”. Joseph continued the reforms that his mother had started. He gave toleration to Protestants and Jews. Censorship was ended and he tried to control the Catholic Church. The properties of monasteries and convents were sold to gain money for hospitals. Joseph also abolished serfdom, but this was canceled after his death.
The Arts and Literature In the 1600s and 1700s, the arts began to change. Similar to earlier time periods, artists and composers were required to meet the needs of their patrons.
Courtly Art The baroque style of art was popular in the age of Louis XIV, along with the Greek and Roman forms of art. Baroque paintings were colorful, large, and very exciting. They often showed glorified images of battles or the lives of saints. By the mid 1700s, the rococo style was developed. This art was personal and elegant. It featured flowers and delicate shells. Portraits done in rococo expressed nobles in rural settings with happy servants and pets.
Middle-Class Audiences Successful merchants and town officials desired to have their portraits painted in a simpler fashion. They preferred pictures of their family life or realistic town or country scenes. Rembrandt van Rijn, a famous Dutch painter, and many others worked for the merchants and other middle-class members of society.
Trends in Music New forms of musical entertainment, like ballets and operas, were developed during this era. Opera houses became popular and the music of the time was very orderly. Johann Sebastian Bach, a devout German Lutheran, was a major musical figure of the era. Much of his work was for the organ and choir. George Frederick Handel, another German composer, wrote many operas like Water Music and the Messiah.
Another Famous Composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart emerged into society in 1762 as an instant celebrity. At age six, he became the most famous composer and performer. For three decades, he wrote many pieces, including operas, symphonies, and religious music. He died at the age of 35 in poverty. However, his music legacy still lives on today!
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born January 27 th, 1756 in Salzburg. At six, he began to compose and his first symphony was completed when he was eight. Between the ages of seven and fifteen, Mozart traveled with his father on tour throughout Europe, where he played and entertained many courts and noblemen. After his mother’s death in 1778, Mozart returned to Salzburg to become the Archbishop’s organist. However, he left in 1781 and became the first musician in history to embark on a free-lance career.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Cont’d Mozart married and had a successful career life beginning in He wrote many symphonies and masterpieces for Emperor Joseph II, including Quintet for clarinet and strings, the mass in C minor, and one unfinished piece called Requiem. He wrote numerous operas. Despite the great amount of wealth that he acquired, Mozart and his family fell into poverty due to his mismanagement of finances. He became ill and died in Vienna on December 5, 1791, just as his family was becoming financially stable. Mozart’s musical legacy still lives on today.
Mozart’s Mysterious Death Video
The Novel The middle-class became interested in reading new stories in the 1700s. Daniel Defoe helped satisfy their hunger for fiction with his tale Robinson Crusoe. Samuel Richardson was another famous author at the time. His novel, Pamela, was about a servant girl.
Lives of the Majority The peasants of Europe went through a much slower reform. In Western Europe, serfdom was disappearing. Many peasants worked their own land or rented farmland. Serfdom still existed in some parts of Western Europe, like France. Serfdom remained in Eastern and Central Europe. Russia adopted it again in the 1700s. Peasants began to call for equality and social justice in the late 1700s. War, changing economic conditions, and political upheaval came about in the 1800s, transforming the ordinary lives of peasants.
Review Questions This was/is a grand and complex artistic style: baroque What was the Elegant and charming style, featuring delicate shells and flowers called? rococo What is it called when a government or organization restricts access to ideas and information? censorship A what was a place for social gatherings in which artists and thinkers exchanged ideas? salon
Review Questions Joseph II was a what because he used Enlightenment ideas to bring political and social change? Enlightened despot The Enlightenment had little effect on what group [class] of people in Europe? Peasants or the lower class Thinkers during the Age of Reason challenged the established social order by calling for a just society based on what? Science and logical thinking What “enlightened despot” adopted Enlightenment ideas to improve the lives of his people, and was the emperor of Austria? Joseph II
Review Questions What was the book that Voltaire wrote about traveling around to find the best possible world? Candide This artist wrote Messiah a baroque masterpiece that is familiar to most people: George Frederick Handel Who was the German composer of religious music for choirs and organs in this chapter? Johann Sebastian Bach This artist began composing at the age of 6, wrote operas, symphonies, and religious works of music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart This person wrote Robinson Crusoe, and other works about everyday life: Daniel Defoe