The Church faithful responded with the Counter (akaCatholic)-Reformation, including artists like Carlo Dolci (1616-1687) of Florence, Italy, who proudly painted Christian themes using iconic Roman Catholic symbolism. These techniques had become taboo with iconoclast reformers and the devotional artwork, including images of saints, were thought to be distasteful among the Protestant reformers. These Catholic-Reformation artists used their craft to support Church teachings, as well as to educate the masses. The imagery within each work told the stories. For some, like Dolci, their art was also a form of personal prayer.
Our Lady of the Angels Province friar and Director of Campus Ministry at the Duke Catholic Center, Fr. Michael Martin, OFM Conv. spiritually led a group of Catholic students on a tour of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University exhibit, “The Medici’s Painter Carlo Dolci and 17th-Century Florence.” The group reverently enjoyed each painting or drawing, while stopping to recite short prayers. One of those on the tour with the students was Emma Miller, Director of Communication for the Duke Catholic Center, who stated, “It felt like I was walking through different points in the Catholic tradition; a little mini-pilgrimage …”