Baroque Art Movement
The Baroque era lasted from the late 1500s to the early 1700s and was widespread and diverse across Europe.
The dominant religion in 15th-century Europe could influence socially produced art's tone and subject matter. The Catholic Church was obligated to create a response to the conservative Protestant Reformation at the time to reassert its status and grandeur in society.
Following suit, artists restored Renaissance ideas of beauty, including a renewed hint of classicism in the period's artwork, music, and architecture, further enhanced by a new exuberant extravagance and preference for the extravagant. A prosperous new visual language was introduced into what had previously been a largely subdued period in art history with this highly ornate style called Baroque.
The Pope in Rome and the Catholic kings of Italy, France, Spain, and Flanders had a significant role in the spread of the Baroque across Europe. Through their vast network of monasteries and convents, strong religious groups spread it farther. Spain, Portugal, northern Italy, France, and then Austria and southern Germany all experienced a quick expansion of fashion. (The Art Story, n.d.)
The Baroque Period Timeline
The Baroque era lasted from the late 1500s to the early 1700s and was widespread and diverse across Europe. Various cultural expressions, including paintings, architecture, sculpture, literature, and music, reflected its ideals of extravagance, ornateness, and decorative details. It was a time of artistic and cultural renaissance with solid roots in the Catholic Church, now known as the Roman Catholic Church, which at the time dominated Western Europe.
Any kind of baroque art was intrinsically related to the Catholic Church. In reality, the Church gave instructions on how art should seem if it is to have the desired impact on the populace. It created an entirely new sensory experience and was intended to evoke majesty and awe in all who encountered it.
The Catholic Church supported the Baroque movement because it required a fresh and energizing approach to reconnect the ordinary people with the Church and its grandeur while inspiring and uplifting them. This was a welcome revival for the Church after the turbulence of war and strife following the Reformation.
The motivations behind this may be categorized as propagandist since they upheld the Catholic Church's legitimacy and power using visual representational and communicative mediums (painting, architecture, and sculpture). We must examine the historical underpinnings of the Baroque era to comprehend the improvements that this movement brought to art and society. (2021)
Who are the Baroque style's most famous artists?
The two Italian artists, Caravaggio and Annibale Carracci, whose works exemplify the classicist and realism schools, respectively, were crucial in the development of the Baroque. The 20th century brought Artemisia Gentileschi acclaim for her technically proficient and ambitious historical paintings. The finest of the Baroque sculptor-architects was Gian Lorenzo Bernini, whose works include the creation of the colonnade fronting St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.
Nicolas Poussin's symmetrical artwork and Jules Hardouin-Austere Mansart's architecture demonstrate the more restrained and classicalist French Baroque movement. Diego Velázquez, a painter in Spain, adopted a somber yet potent realistic style that had nothing in common with the dominant Baroque style.
The greatest master of that predominantly Roman Catholic, Spanish-ruled region was the painter Peter Paul Rubens, whose raging diagonal compositions and lifelike figures define Baroque art. But the art in the Netherlands is more intricate. Such towering artists as Rembrandt, Frans Hals, and Johannes Vermeer were influenced by the realism preferences of their middle-class clients. Still, they remained essentially independent of the Baroque in significant ways, even though much art literature associates them with the movement. However, the Baroque significantly influenced English architecture, notably that of Sir Christopher Wren. (Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d.)
Examples of Baroque Art
Vibrant colors, a stark contrast between foreground pictures that are brightly lighted and dark backgrounds, and the representation of the event's climactic moment are all characteristics of baroque painting. Biblical narratives, scenes from classical mythology, historical events, portraiture, and still life are frequent topics in Baroque paintings. Important Italian Baroque painter Michelangelo Merisi de Caravaggio is renowned for popularizing chiaroscuro, the technique of contrasting bright foreground light with dark backgrounds, as shown in The Calling of Saint Matthew (1599-1600).
Dynamic motion is a feature of baroque sculpture. It frequently has several figures that spiral around one another and are created to be seen from different perspectives. Sculptures can be produced as standalone sculptures, as non-structural or structural architectural elements, or both. Standalone sculptures may combine the use of stone with metal or wood. The usual topics include religious narratives, historical individuals, and characters from classical mythology.
Castles and cathedrals have baroque architecture created to evoke awe and devotion. Many of the same elements seen in Renaissance architecture are used, like domes, columns, and naves, but they are built more strikingly and dramatically. More expansive, higher naves, double columns; columns with many floors; and domes with cupolas were all created by baroque painters to allow for contrasts between light and shadow. Baroque structures' interiors included frescoed walls and ceilings and elaborate stucco detail work that was frequently gilded.
A Celebration of Wealth and Power
The development of art that favored the dignity of human life over the authority of the divine persisted throughout the Baroque period. Kings, princes, and even popes started to select the artistic celebration of their power and status over that of God.
The overstatement that distinguished Mannerism persisted throughout the Baroque era, with the scenes in paintings growing increasingly unbelievable and unrealistic. In baroque art, scenes of the king ascending in the skies, mixing with the angels, and drawing ever-closer to the omnipotence and power of God were frequently shown.
Although the subject matter does not entirely stray from religious symbolism, we can see how human self-importance has progressed in these compositions. Man is becoming the dominant force inside them. Gold and marble, two modern materials that exalt wealth and rank, are sought for use in sculptures.
Beyond what occurs naturally, contrasts between light and dark, warm and cool hues, and symbols of good and evil are accentuated. Art became a means of displaying one's riches, power, and position, leading to a surge in the number of art academies. (2020)
The Art Story. (n.d.). www.theartstory.org. Retrieved July 23, 2022, from https://www.theartstory.org/movement/baroque-art-and-architecture/
art in context. (2021, April 23). artincontext.org. artincontext.org. https://artincontext.org/baroque-art/
Encyclopedia Britannica. (n.d.). www.britannica.com. Retrieved July 23, 2022, from https://www.britannica.com/art/Baroque-art-and-architecture
Study.com. (n.d.). study.com. Retrieved July 23, 2022, from https://study.com/learn/lesson/baroque-art-characteristics-time-period.html
art in context. (2020, December 17). artincontext.org. artincontext.org. https://artincontext.org/art-periods/