Art is a central part of the culture of any area. It can be seen all around, in particular in the architecture of the towns and villages. The style of art in Morzine tells some of the story of the area and how it came to be the town it is today.
Martin Luther brought about the beginning of the reformation in the year 1517, starting a cultural revolution in art, religion and politics. It also led to military conflicts throughout Europe. One of Martin Lutherís key criticisms of Rome and the Catholic church was the extravagant art to be found in churches, which he saw as a decadent display of wealth and a sign of worshipping false idols. As a result the Catholic church introduced a period of austerity with the displays of wealth stripped away. However, by the end of the sixteenth century the Catholic church was feeling more confident and celebrating a revival. This was echoed in the new style of art - known as Baroque - that celebrated the Catholic faith with bright and bold religious imagery. The idea was to project power, control and triumph. The art became increasingly extravagant and dramatic.
Savoyard Baroque was a regional style of the Baroque movement, drawing influence from neighbouring Italian states, France, Spain and the German Empire.
In 1536 the Duchy of Savoie was occupied by protestant Bernese troops. Following treaties in 1564 in Evian and 1569 in Thonon the Protestant claim to Savoy was withdrawn and the troops left the area. At this time the Baroque movement was on the rise, as a celebration of the return of Catholicism. The Baroque style in Savoie was influenced by the geographical conditions of the area as well as the traditional artisan industries, such as the masons, painters, carpenters and sculptors.
Baroque in Morzine
The Baroque movement has influenced the style of architecture in Alpine villages and Morzine is no exception. The style can be seen in many of the traditional buildings around the town. The Facim Foundation, with the Savoie General Council, has set up a circuit featuring eighty buildings in the Baroque style that have some cultural or historical significance. In Morzine the Church Of Saint Mary Magdalene has been featured on this circuit due to the Baroque style decoration within.