Baroque Art Style
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Baroque - Overview - Goodbye-Art Academy
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The Protestant Reformation was opposed to the use of images for religious worship, but the Counter-Reformation argued that such art had a didactic purpose and called for a new kind of visual representation that was simple but dramatic, realistic in depiction, and clear in narrative. 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-inspiring sense of the church.
While the church and its dignitaries had been notable art patrons since the Gothic era, a new program of patronage was intentionally spurred throughout Europe. New religious orders that were part of the reform movement like the Jesuits, the Capuchins, and the Discalced Carmelites, were officially encouraged to become important patrons of art. It was further disseminated by powerful religious orders through their extensive network of monasteries and convents.
The architect Giacomo Della Porta came from a family of Italian sculptors and was a student, and later collaborator of both Michelangelo and the leading Mannerist architect in Rome, Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola. In painting, the works of the anti-Mannerist Bolognese School led by Annibale Carracci were the first to be promoted as part of the Counter-Reformation. Carracci along with his brother Agostino and Ludovico, their cousin, had launched the Accademia dei Desiderosi , a small art academy that emphasized prior Renaissance aesthetic ideals of proportion, the use of figure drawing, and precise observation to create realistic but heroic figures in emotionally compelling scenes.
His work attracted the attention of the noted art patron Cardinal Odoardo Farnese who called him to Rome and commissioned him to paint the Palazzo Farnese's gallery ceiling to celebrate the wedding of the Cardinal's brother. The resulting fresco ceiling Loves of the Gods influenced the Baroque movement, as Carracci pioneered the quadro riportato technique that framed each scene as if it were an easel painting arranged on a ceiling.
He also employed quadratura , or painting illusionistic architectural features, as seen in his painted figures of Atlas and classical male nudes, which resemble sculptures. The work influenced Giovanni Lanfranco, Guercino, Pietro de Cortona, Carlo Maratta, and Andrea Pozzo, all of whom became noted quadrature and trompe l'oeil ceiling painters. Carracci also had a noted influence upon future landscape and history painting as seen in the works of the French painters Claude Lorrain and Nicolas Poussin , and the French Baroque style.
Michelangelo Merisi Caravaggio, known simply as Caravaggio, has sometimes been dubbed "the father of Baroque painting" because of his pioneering approach. Trained in Milan in the dominant Mannerist style, he quickly evolved his own technique using chiaroscuro , dramatic contrasts of light and dark, and tenebrism , intensifying the contrast into dark atmospheric scenes with some elements highly lit as if by a spotlight. His mastery of tenebrism , meaning "dark, mysterious," was such that he was often credited with inventing the technique. His radical realism, by which he painted his subjects as they actually were, flaws and all, was equally innovative and made his works controversial, as did his preference for disturbing subjects.
Caravaggio became the most famous artist in Rome with his paintings of the Martyrdom of Saint Matthew and the Calling of Saint Matthew , commissioned for the Contarelli Chapel. He was subsequently given a great number of religious commissions, though a number of them, including his Conversion of Saint Paul and Death of the Virgin , were subsequently rejected by patrons who found his realism too shocking. Nonetheless his work became so influential that subsequent generations that adopted his style were called Caravaggisti or tenebrosi. Marked by grandeur and an emphasis on movement and drama, the High Baroque began around and lasted until around Gian Lorenzo Bernini led and dominated the era, defining the Baroque style in sculpture.
His patron, Cardinal Scipione Borghese, was one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in Rome, and Bernini's early sculptures were created for the Cardinal's Borghese Palace. Works like his The Rape of Proserpina and his Apollo and Daphne emphasized dramatic realism, intense emotion, and movement, and as art historian Rudolf Wittkower wrote, they "inaugurated a new era in the history of European sculpture. Peter's in His Baldachin and the colonnade he designed around St. Peter's Square exemplified the High Baroque style in architecture. As art historian Maria Grazia Bernardini wrote, he was "the great, principal protagonist of Baroque art, the one who was able to create undisputed masterpieces, to interpret in an original and genial fashion the new spiritual sensibilities of the age, to give the city of Rome an entirely new face, and to unify the [artistic] language of the times.
Bernini's chief rival in architecture was Francesco Borromini, whose Church of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane employed undulating walls, an oval tower, and a radically innovative oval design for the church beneath an oval dome. Published in two volumes, first in , then , it influenced artists and architects throughout Europe into the s. Spanish Baroque was noted for its distinctive style, as a somber and, even sometimes, gloomy mood prevailed in Spanish culture. The Eighty Year War where the Spanish sought unsuccessfully to maintain control of the Netherlands, and the Anglo-Spanish War where the Spanish Armada, attempting to invade England, was defeated, drained Spanish finances and created an economic crisis.
At the same time, Catholicism was informed by the severity of the Inquisition. In architecture the grandeur and wealth of the church was emphasized, as the Jesuits, an order noted for both its intellectual advocacy for the Counter-Reformation and its Christian proselytization, evolved an extreme use of ornament to accentuate religious glory. An early noted example was Pedro de la Torre's San Isidro Chapel , which combined an ornamented exterior with a simple interior that used light effects to convey a feeling of religious mystery. The resulting style, emphasizing a surface in motion, was called "entallador" and was adopted throughout Spain and Latin America.
In contrast to the architectural emphasis on Catholic splendor, Spanish Baroque painting emphasized the limitations and suffering of human existence. It was noted for its focus on realism based upon precise observation and was less interested in theatrical effects than a compelling sense of human drama. Caravaggio was an early influence on artists like Francisco Ribalta and Jusepe Ribera, though most Spanish artists took chiaroscuro and tenebrism as a departure point and evolved their own style.
Ribera's later work emphasized a layer of silver tones overlaid with warm golden tones as seen in his The Holy Family with St. Catherine His works were both religious subjects like The Immaculate Conception , and genre paintings, where he often depicted street people, as in The Young Beggar His work was very popular, due to its elegance and sentimentality, and he cofounded the Seville Academy of Fine Art in After his death Juan de Valdes Leal became the leading painter of Seville, though his work focused on the dramatic such as The End of Worldly Glory , an allegory of death, which made his work a kind of early precursor to Romanticism.
Francisco de Zurbaran was dubbed "the Spanish Caravaggio" for his religious subjects like The House of Nazareth , though his compositions were more severe and restrained and often focused on a solitary ascetic figure. While he began by employing tenebrism , he evolved his own masterful technique, which employed a relatively simple color palette but emphasized tonalities and varied brushwork. Architecture was the dominant expression of the French Baroque style.
Called Classicism in France, it rejected the ornate in favor of geometric proportion and less elaborate facades. As the director of the Gobelins tapestry, Le Brun's work became influential throughout Europe. Similarly the gardens, arranged in geometric grids to echo and emphasize the architecture, were another notable element of Versailles. In painting, French artists also moved toward a more classical restraint. Claude Lorrain , known simply as Claude, and Nicolas Poussin , were the most important French painters, though both worked in Rome. Claude's work emphasized landscape and the effects of light, and his subjects, whether religious or classical themes, were simply the occasion of the work but not its focus.
While Poussin began painting in a Baroque style, by his mid-thirties he had begun to develop his own style, as works like his Landscape with Orpheus and Eurydice conveyed a calm rationality that became influential in the later development of Neoclassicism. Other French artists, most notably Georges de la Tour , were influenced by Caravaggio's tenebrism but turned away from dramatic action and effects. Painting primarily religious subjects, he innovatively explored nocturnal light, employing geometric compositions and simplified forms to convey a calm and thoughtful spirituality. Genre painters like the Le Nain brothers also innovatively applied the Baroque style.
Louis, Antoine, and Mathieu Le Nain collaborated on most of their works, and their genre scenes emphasized the realism of everyday labor, as seen in their The Blacksmith at His Forge c. Russian Baroque is also called Petrine Baroque, named in honor of Peter the Great who promoted the style in rebuilding St. Petersburg, when he named it the new Russian capital in He had been inspired by French Baroque following his visit to Versailles and the Chateaux of Fontainebleau. The Menshikov Palace became a notable early example of Russian Baroque.
Following Peter the Great's death, the style continued but became more luxurious and ornate as designed by the leading architect, Bartolomeo Rastrelli. The style was then called Elizabethan Baroque in honor of Empress Elizabeth Petrovona and famous examples were the Smolny Cathedral and the Winter Palace Painting was the distinctive component of the Flemish Baroque, and its particular character originated in historical and cultural forces.
As a result, Flemish artists painted both Counter-Reformation religious subjects and landscapes, still lifes, and genre works that still drew upon the Northern European tradition. Peter Paul Rubens led the development of Flemish Baroque painting. His High Baroque style, known for its rich color, sensual exuberance, and movement informed both his religious painting as in Descent from the Cross and his non-religious subjects like the Judgment of Paris His female nudes of mythological and Biblical women were particularly renowned and influential, as they combined sensuality with a complexity of allegory and allusion.
Rubens' most noted student was Anthony van Dyck who became famous later primarily for his portraits, marked by a courtly elegance. In he was appointed court painter to the Princess of Orange in and, due to royal connections, became the painter for the English court and was knighted by Charles I, the King of England, in The Dutch Golden Age was the only example of the Baroque style employed in a Protestant area, and, as a result, took a very different approach in both architecture and painting.
It was the architect Christopher Wren, one of the most acclaimed English architects in history, who was responsible for the genesis of the English Baroque style. When the Great Fire of London in forced much of the city to be rebuilt, Wren was hired to replace many of the churches. His most ambitious construction, St. Popular from to about , English Baroque architecture is characterized by heavy structures adorned with elaborate decoration; compared to the contemporary Baroque of the European continent, however, it tends to be relatively plain, with more Classical subtleties.
Chatsworth House, England : English Baroque architecture, as seen in Chatsworth House, can be characterized by heavy structures adorned with elaborate decoration; however, it tends to be relatively plain, with more Classical subtleties, compared to the Baroque architecture of the continent that was being built at the same time. The Palace of Versailles is an opulent palace built by Louis XIV that contains rooms, extensive gardens, and lavish decoration. Initially a small hunting lodge built by his father, Louis XIV transformed Versailles with four intensive building campaigns over his reign. The formal aesthetic of the palace was meant to glorify France and show the power and greatness of the self-proclaimed Sun King, Louis XIV.
In , Versailles was transformed into the official residence of the king, and such notable features of the palace as the Hall of Mirrors and the Grande Canal were built. French Baroque architectural style is characterized by its large curved forms, twisted columns, high domes, and complicated shapes. In comparison to the Baroque architecture of the rest of Europe, it is commonly thought to be more restrained and characterized by its mixture of lavish details on symmetrical and orderly buildings.
Charles Le Brun was the interior decorator for the Palace of Versailles, as well as first painter to the king. Interior design from this period is known as Louis XIV style, originated by Le Brun, and was characterized by richly woven red and gold fabrics or brocades, heavy gilded plaster molding, large sculpted side boards, and heavy marbling. Louis XIV style : This elaborate bench showcases the style of Louis XIV at Versailles, which is characterized by richly woven red and gold fabrics or brocades, heavy gilded plaster molding, large sculpted side boards, and heavy marbling.
The Hall of Mirrors is the central gallery of the Palace of Versailles and is one of the most famous rooms in the world. The main feature of this room is a series of 17 mirrored arches that reflect 17 arcaded windows overlooking the gardens. Each arch contains 21 mirrors. The arches are fixed between marble pilasters upon which bronze symbols of France are embedded. The Hall of Mirrors : The main feature of the Hall of Mirrors is a series of 17 mirrored arches that reflect 17 arcaded windows overlooking the gardens. The landscape design at the Palace of Versailles is one of the most extravagant in history.
Headed by Andre Le Notre, the gardens at Versailles cover nearly 2, acres of land and were executed in the French formal garden style, or jardin a la francaise. This style is characterized by its meticulously manicured lawns, parterres of flowers, numerous fountains, and sculptures. A common feature of sculpture and decoration at Versailles is the use of classical mythology as allegory. The Grotte de Thetys is a freestanding structure with an interior decorated in elaborate shell-work to represent the myth of Apollo. Gardens at Versailles : Plan for the extravagant gardens at the Palace of Versailles. The Grande Canal is a notable feature of the gardens, with an impressive length of 1, x 62 meters. It also served a functional purpose by gathering the water that drained from the fountains and redistributing it to the gardens by horse-powered pump.
Learning Objectives Identify characteristics of Spanish Baroque architecture, its most famous examples, and how it differs from the art of Northern Europe in the 17th century. Key Takeaways Key Points In contrast to the art of Northern Europe, the Spanish art of the Baroque period appealed to the emotions rather than seeking to please the intellect. The Churriguera family, which specialized in designing altars and retables, revolted against the sobriety of the previous Herrerian classicism and promoted an intricate, exaggerated, almost capricious style of surface decoration known as the Churrigueresque. Between and , the Churrigueresque column , or estipite, in the shape of an inverted cone or obelisk was established as a central element of ornamental decoration.
Key Terms Herrerian : A style of architecture developed in Spain during the last third of the 16th century under the reign of Philip II — and continued in force in the 17th century, transformed then by the Baroque current of the time. Moorish : Of or pertaining to a style of Spanish architecture from the time of the Moors, characterized by the horseshoe arch and ornate, geometric decoration. Obelisk : A tall, square, tapered stone monolith topped with a pyramidal point, frequently used as a monument.
English Architecture in the Baroque Period English architecture during the 17th century can be characterized by its use of Palladian, Jacobean, and English Baroque styles. Learning Objectives Define the architecture of 17th century England. Key Takeaways Key Points Inigo Jones is known for introducing Palladian architecture to England, a highly symmetrical style based on the principles of formal Classical temple architecture of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Popular during the early 17th century, the Jacobean style can be classified by its adoption of decadent and detailed Renaissance motifs such as columns and pilasters , round arch arcades , and flat roofs with openwork parapets , as seen in Hatfield House.
English Baroque architecture can be characterized by heavy structures adorned with elaborate decoration; compared to the contemporary Baroque of the European continent, however, it tends to be relatively plain, with more Classical subtleties. Key Terms arcade : A row of arches. Learning Objectives Identify the most impressive features of Versailles and those artistically responsible.