The Sacred made Real

The realistic depiction of people and objects, often lit in a dramatic way, became the fashion in Europe, particularly in Spain, during the 16th and 17th centuries. The Spanish Church was the major patron of the arts, and it endeavoured to control both the subject fand manner of painting. The Church wanted religious painting and sculpture to inspire piety by being clear, simple and realistic.  Paintings therefore often echoed the 3D life-like qualities of sculptures; sculptures sometimes were given real hair and glass eyes to increase their realism. The sacred was made real.