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To frame her insights, she describes the influence of the saints on the artists of the time including Saints Philip Neri, Charles Borromeo, and Ignatius of Loyola.
As Franciscan spirituality was the inspiration of the Renaissance, the study of the body as the divine in our space and time remained a constant reminder of Christ with us.
The last chapter examines Michelangelo’s Last Judgment, which Lev calls “the ultimate Catholic response to the Protestant Reformation.” The book also includes a twenty-page set of short biographies of the major artists Lev discusses.
Lev points out what Trent and the Counter Reformation meant to artists and the renewed responsibility it gave the artist.
For the Protestant, the portrayal of the body of Christ became problematic.
With Jesuit spirituality, the stimulus for the artists shifted from the presence and place of the sacred to witness and transcendence.
In her latest book, How Catholic Art Saved the Faith: The Triumph of Beauty and Truth in Counter-Reformation Art, noted art historian Elizabeth Lev takes us through passages that art historians often neglect.
That is, how art assisted the Church and helped restore the faith with the Council of Trent.