In the 16th century Northern Europe adopted the Protestant reformation and it showed in the art created in that time. With the reformation came the belief that that was no one that could come between the person and god. This meant that there was no middle man or priest to tell the people how to think. The people who believed this wanted to get this information out so art was created as in the allegory of Law and Grace, which is a pictorial representation of what this means. If a person refuses god then he shall go to hell but if that man simply accepts Christ in his heart then he will be accepted into heaven no questions asks.
The reformers also believed that the word was the single most important way to get close to god. You did not need to pay anyone to get closer to god. With this thought came art that depicted merely people in the bibles and stories of the bible. These art pieces of things in the bible showed that the stories inside were the most important. You did not have to paint a picture of Jesus showing people to pay their taxes. Instead of using Jesus as a person to guide obedience the bible could be shown for exactly what it was. The information inside was the only way to get to know Christ and his message.
Another idea was that sacraments were decreased from seven to two. This way there were fewer steps between the human and the divine. In Albrecht Durer’s Last Supper, the sacraments of Christ were down played. In Catholicism the priest is believed to have the powers to change liquid and edibles into actual blood and body to eat which seems cannibalistic and witch doctory to me. In the reformation the act was simply commemorative the person did not have to believe a man had super powers told through Durer’s painting.
the reformation brought religious freedom and fewer rules to many people and it shows throughout Northern Europe in the 16th century.