Architecture Art definition
Styles/Types of Baroque Art
In order to fulfill its propagandist role, Catholic-inspired Baroque art tended to be large-scale works of public art, such as monumental wall-paintings and huge frescoes for the ceilings and vaults of palaces and churches. illustrated key elements of Catholic dogma, either directly in Biblical works or indirectly in mythological or allegorical compositions. Along with this monumental, high-minded approach, painters typically portrayed a strong sense of movement, using swirling spirals and upward diagonals, and strong sumptuous colour schemes, in order to dazzle and surprise. New techniques of and were developed to enhance atmosphere. Brushwork is creamy and broad, often resulting in thick impasto. However, the theatricality and melodrama of Baroque painting was not well received by later critics, like the influential John Ruskin (1819-1900), who considered it insincere., typically larger-than-life size, is marked by a similar sense of dynamic movement, along with an active use of space.
was designed to create spectacle and illusion. Thus the straight lines of the Renaissance were replaced with flowing curves, while domes/roofs were enlarged, and interiors carefully constructed to produce spectacular effects of light and shade. It was an emotional style, which, wherever possible, exploited the theatrical potential of the urban landscape - as illustrated by St Peter's Square (1656-67) in Rome, leading up to St Peter's Basilica. Its designer, Bernini, one of the greatest Baroque architects, ringed the square with colonnades, to convey the impression to visitors that they are being embraced by the arms of the Catholic Church.
As is evident, although most of the architecture, painting and sculpture produced during the 17th century is known as Baroque, it is by no means a monolithic style. There are at least three different strands of Baroque, as follows:
(1) Religious Grandeur
(2) Greater Realism
(3) Easel Art
In addition, to complicate matters further, Rome - the very centre of the movement - was also home to a "classical" style, as exemplified in the paintings of the history painter Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665) and the Arcadian landscape artist Claude Lorrain (1600-82).
History of Baroque Art
Following the pronouncements made by the Council of Trent on how art might serve religion, together with the upsurge in confidence in the Roman Catholic Church, it became clear that a new style of Biblical art was necessary in order to support the Catholic Counter Reformation and fully convey the miracles and sufferings of the Saints to the congregation of Europe. This style had to be more forceful, more emotional and imbued with a greater realism. Strongly influenced by the views of the Jesuits (the Baroque is sometimes referred to as 'the Jesuit Style'), architecture, painting and sculpture were to work together to create a unified effect. The initial impetus came from the arrival in Rome during the 1590s of Annibale Carracci and Carravaggio (1571-1610). Their presence sparked a new interest in realism as well as antique forms, both of which were taken up and developed (in sculpture) by Alessandro Algardi (in sculpture) and Bernini (in sculpture and architecture). Peter Paul Rubens, who remained in Rome until 1608, was the only great Catholic painter in the Baroque idiom, although Rembrandt and other Dutch artists were influenced by both Caravaggism and Bernini. France had its own (more secular) relationship with the Baroque, which was closest in architecture, notably the Palace of Versailles. The key figure in French Baroque art of the 17th century was Charles Le Brun (1619-90) who exerted an influence far beyond his own metier. See, for instance, the Gobelins tapestry factory, of which he was director. Spain and Portugal embraced it more enthusiastically, as did the Catholic areas of Germany, Austria, Hungary and the Spanish Netherlands. The culmination of the movement was the High Baroque (c.1625-75), while the apogee of the movement's grandiosity was marked by the phenomenal known as Apotheosis of St Ignatius (1688-94, S. Ignazio, Rome), by the illusionist ceiling painter Andrea Pozzo (1642-1709). Surely one of the best Baroque paintings of the 17th century.