|Madonna of the Long Neck,|
|Madonna of the Long Neck, 1534-40,|
After the sack of Rome in 1527 by northern Protestants, the Counter-Reformation movement fought back against Protestant militancy. While the art of Rome did not change much until later, the church in the provinces began to rely not on classical artistic modes and symbolism, but on a directness of teaching in it's artistic commissions aimed at even the humblest of peasants so they could understand the chief tenets of the faith. Art was to become first a teaching device, and only very secondarily a decoration for the bare walls of Romanesque cathedrals. Even the Church in Rome could not forever remain immune to this trend. Bowing to Protestant insistence that art serve Christ, not it's own god, between 1559 and 1565, even the nude figures of Michelangelo's Last Judgement received a painted layer of drapery, or "britches" as some called them.