Baroque Art

Baroque Art:

The Baroque is a period of artistic style that utilized exaggerated motion & clear, easily interpreted detail to generate drama, exuberance, tension and grandeur in painting, sculpture, architecture, dance, literature, and music. The style began around 1600 in Rome, Italy & spread to most of Europe.

Baroque is a Portuguese term that means "irregularly shaped pearl." The term rolls roundly off of your tongue as a sugary gumball; however Baroque art doesn't have anything to do with round things such as pearls or gumballs. It was an art style that some of the people thought were a little crazy. While people first called works of art Baroque, it was an insult. At present, the word is still unflattering. This means grotesque. The Baroque style of art was a dramatic change from the Renaissance style that came before it. Throughout the Renaissance, artists tried to illustrates perfect people and classical themes. Renaissance artists were fond of the art of ancient Greece along with its grace & symmetry. But by the 1500s, artists desired to relax a little. Baroque artists painted real people along with all of their wrinkles, warts and bumps. They enjoyed the down-to-earth art of ancient Rome. Baroque art itself had a bumpy beginning, but after a while it gained the respect of the artistic world. People started to like the realistic detail & intense emotions they saw in Baroque paintings and drawings. Oddly sufficient, something that you take for granted helped Baroque artists attain realistic art. They were thrilled along with an amazing new invention called the pencil.

Baroque characteristics:

Amongst the general characteristics of baroque art are a sense of movement, energy and tension (whether implied or real). Strong contrasts of light & shadow increases the dramatic effects of lots of sculptures and paintings. Even baroque buildings, along with their undulating walls and decorative surface elements, imply motion along with contrasts in light and color. Intense spirituality is frequently present in works of baroque art; in the Roman Catholic countries, for instance, martyrdoms, scenes of ecstasies, or miraculous apparitions are common. Infinite space is frequently suggested in baroque sculptures or paintings, no longer the associated units they were in the Renaissance. Realism is another integral characteristic of baroque art; in paintings the figures are not types but particular along with their own personalities. Artists of this time were concerned along with the inner workings of the mind and attempted to portray the passions of the soul on the faces they painted & sculpted. The intensity & immediacy of baroque art and its uniqueness & detail observed in such things as the convincing rendering of cloth & skin textures making it one of the most compelling periods of Western art.

What is Baroque Art?

In fine art, the term Baroque (derived from the Portuguese 'barocco' meaning, 'irregular pearl or stone') define a rather complex idiom, originating in Rome, which flowered throughout the period c.1590-1720, and that embraced, sculpture and painting along with architecture. After the idealism of the Renaissance (c.1400-1530), and the somewhat 'forced' nature of Mannerism (c.1530-1600), Baroque art above all reflected the religious tensions of the age - particularly the desire of the Catholic Church in Rome (as annunciated at Council of Trent, 1545-63) to reassert itself in the wake of the Protestant Reformation. Several Catholic Emperors & monarchs across Europe had an significant stake in the Catholic Church's success, therefore a large number of architectural paintings ,designs, and sculptures were commissioned by the Royal Courts of France, Spain,  and elsewhere, to glorify their own divine grandeur, and in the procedure strengthen their political position. Through comparison, Baroque art in Protestant areas such as Holland had far less religious content, and rather was designed essentially to appeal to the rising aspirations and financial strength of the merchant and middle classes.

Things to Look for in Baroque Art:

  • Images are obvious, direct and dramatic.
  • Depictions feel physically & psychologically real. Intense emotionally.
  • Tries to draw the viewer into contribute in the scene.
  • Dramatic use of color.
  • Extravagant settings & ornamentation.
  • As opposed to Renaissance art along with its clearly distinct planes, along with each figure placed in isolation from each other, Baroque art has continuous overlapping of elements and figures.
  • Dramatic contrasts between dark and light, shadow and light.
  • Common themes: ecstasies, grandiose visions, and conversions, death and martyrdom, intense light, intense psychological moments.

Styles/Types of Baroque Art:

In order to accomplish its propagandist role, Catholic-stimulated Baroque art tended to be large-scale works of public art, like monumental wall-paintings and vast frescoes for the vaults and ceilings of palaces and churches. Baroque painting illustrated key elements of Catholic dogma, either indirectly in mythological or directly in Biblical works or allegorical compositions. With this monumental, painters, high-minded approach typically portrayed a strong sense of movement, by using upward diagonals and swirling spirals, and strong sumptuous color schemes, to dazzle and surprise. New techniques of chiaroscuro and tenebrism were developed to increase atmosphere. Brushwork is broad and creamy, often resulting in thick impasto. However, the theatricality and melodrama of Baroque painting was not well attained by later critics, such as the influential John Ruskin (1819-1900), who suppose it insincere. Baroque sculpture, usually larger-than-life size, is indicated by a same kind of sense of dynamic movement, along with an active employ of space.

Baroque architecture was designed to created spectacle and illusion. Thus the straight lines of the Renaissance were replaced along flowing curves, while domes/roofs were enlarged, and carefully interiors constructed to produce spectacular effects of shade and light. It was an emotional style, that , wherever attainable, exploited theatrical potential of the urban landscape as illustrated through St Peter's Square (1656-67) in Rome, leading up to St Peter's Basilica. It’s Bernini, architect, ringed the square along with colonnades, to convey the impression to visitors that they are being embraced by the arms of the Catholic Church.

Following are some examples of Baroque Art:

  • The Conversion on the Way to Damascus, by Caravaggio, 1601.
  • The Ecstasy of St. Teresa, by Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini, 1652.
  • The Four Continents, by Peter Paul Rubens, 1615.
  • The Crucifixion of Saint Peter, by Caravaggio, 1601.

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