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Movements, Styles, and Tendencies Baroque Art and Architecture
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Baroque Art and Architecture

Started: 1584

Ended: 1723

Baroque Art and Architecture Timeline

Quotes

"There are two devices which can help the sculptor to judge his work: one is not to see it for a while. The other... is to look at his work through spectacles which will change its color and magnify or diminish it, so as to disguise it somehow to his eye, and make it look as though it were the work of another."
Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini
"The works will speak for themselves."
Artemisia Gentileschi
"In inventing new things, one cannot receive the fruit of one's labor except later."
Francesco Borromini
"I would rather be the first painter of common things than second in higher art."
Velázquez
"I'm just a simple man standing alone with my old brushes, asking God for inspiration."
Peter Paul Rubens
"I paint a woman's big rounded buttocks so that I want to reach out and stroke the dimpled flesh."
Peter Paul Rubens
"I can't paint the way they want me to paint and they know that too. Of course you will say that I ought to be practical and ought to try and paint the way they want me to paint. Well, I will tell you a secret. I have tried and I have tried very hard, but I can't do it. I just can't do it! And that is why I am just a little crazy."
Rembrandt
"Choose only one master - Nature."
Rembrandt
"A painting is finished when the artist says it is finished."
Rembrandt

KEY ARTISTS

CaravaggioCaravaggio
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Peter Paul RubensPeter Paul Rubens
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Artemisia GentileschiArtemisia Gentileschi
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Giovanni Lorenzo BerniniGiovanni Lorenzo Bernini
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Rembrandt van RijnRembrandt van Rijn
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Claude LorrainClaude Lorrain
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More Top Artists

"Those who never dare to break the rules never surpass them."

Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini

Synopsis

In 1527 Europe, religious dominance had the power to direct and inform the content and climate of society's artistic output. At the time, a backlash against the conservative Protestant Reformation was compelled by the Catholic Church to re-establish its importance and grandeur within society. Artists followed suit by reviving Renaissance ideals of beauty, infusing into the era's artwork, music, and architecture a revived nod to classicism further enhanced by a new exuberant extravagance and penchant for the ornate. This highly embellished style was coined Baroque and became marked by its innovative techniques and details, delivering a lush new visual language into what had been a relatively toned down period for art.

Baroque disseminated throughout Europe, primarily led by the Pope in Rome and Catholic rulers in Italy, France, Spain, and Flanders. It was further disseminated by powerful religious orders through their extensive network of monasteries and convents. The style spread rapidly to France, northern Italy, Spain and Portugal, then to Austria and southern Germany.

Key Ideas

Baroque brought images for religious worship back into the public eye after being banned for their glorification of the ethereal and ideal. The movement's leaders professed that art should be easily understood and strongly felt by common people with the effect of encouraging piety and an awe for the church.
Baroque churches became a pivotal example of the invigorated emphasis on the glory of Catholicism with their designs that incorporated a large central space with a dome or cupola high overhead, allowing light to illuminate the space below. The dome was one of the central symbolic features of baroque architecture illustrating the union between the heavens and the earth. Extremely intricate interiors, rife with ornamentation, allowed for a feeling of being fully immersed within an elevated and sacred space.
The defining characteristics of the Baroque style were: real or implied movement, an attempt to represent infinity, an emphasis on light and its effects, and a focus on the theatrical. A number of techniques were introduced, or further developed, by Baroque artists to accomplish these effects including quadro riportato (frescos that incorporated the illusion of being composed of a series of framed paintings), quadrature (ceiling painting), and trompe l'oeil techniques. This allowed for a blurring of the boundaries between painting, sculpture, and architecture that was signature to the movement.
Baroque ushered in a new era for European sculpture, led largely by the work of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, which emphasized sensual richness, dramatic realism, intense emotion, and movement. In Baroque sculpture figures assumed new importance, often spiraling outward from a central vortex, reaching into the surrounding space, meant to be seen in the round from multiple perspectives.
The use of chiaroscuro, in which the treatment of light and dark in an artwork helped to create dramatic tension, was a key component in Baroque artwork. It was further evolved by Baroque master Caravaggio into tenebrism, which used the intensification of contrast within dark atmospheric scenes to spotlight particular elements.

Beginnings

Baroque Art and Architecture Image

The Term: Baroque

The origin of the term Baroque is a bit ambiguous. Many scholars think it was derived from the Portuguese barrocco, meaning an imperfect or irregularly shaped pearl. And some, like the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau thought it was derived from the Italian barocco, a term used to describe an obstacle in formal logic in the medieval period. In growing usage the term originally contained negative connotations, the artwork within its cadre viewed as bizarre and sometimes ostentatious. But in 1888 Heinrich Wölfflin's Renaissance und Barock (1888), the term was officially used as a simple descriptive to denote the distinct artistic style.

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Baroque Art and Architecture Overview Continues

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Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Rebecca Seiferle

Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Kimberly Nichols

" Movement Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Rebecca Seiferle
Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Kimberly Nichols
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