Gold. I am tempted to consider the Baroque period as the Golden Age of arts in Europe. Literally and in a more abstract way. Literally since architects used thousands of tons of gold sheets to decorate churches and palaces. In a more abstract way as powerful and rich patrons, princes and bishops alike, spend huge sums to foster literature, performing arts, painting, sculpture, music and architecture, leading to an explosion of creativity unseen in the centuries before. This in spite of the economic decline and political unrest that marked the second half of th 16th century and the 17th century in Europe.