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Baroque Art

Historical background.
o 16th & 17th centuries were a time of great religious, scientific,
political and social changes.
o The catholic churchs influence diminished after the Protestant
Reformation and the Scientific Revolution.
o However, monarchies grew strong and became absolute, royal
authority was questioned by the bourgeoisie.
o 1517 Martin Luther published 95 Thesis, which refuted the
authority of the pope as well as many catholic dogmas and
traditions.
o
The Catholic Church answered with Counterreformation; it
summoned the Council of Trent (1545-1563) and Protestantism
was condemned.
o The Jesuit order was created as an effort to support the pope and
educate Catholics.
o Many rulers decided to become Protestant, and their choice had to
be adopted by their people. Along 16 th & 17th Centuries almost half
of Europe turned to Protestantism. England, Northern Netherlands,
Germany and some regions of France.
o Italy, Spain, Portugal, South Netherlands remained Catholic.
o The Thirty years war was fought largely as a religious war between
Protestants and Catholics in the Holy Roman Empire, although
disputes over internal politics and the balance of power within the
Empire played a significant part.
o 17th century Johannes Kepler affirmed that the planets had a
elliptical form and orbits.
o Galileo contradicted the Ptolemaic geocentric theory, and stated
that the Earth moved around the sun. These ideas denied the
traditional religious perception of the universe.
o Spain lived its Golden Age, supported by the silver and gold
obtained from the American colonies.
o Baroque art was demanded by three groups: a) the Catholic
Church (as propaganda); b) the absolute monarchies (to show their
power and for entertainment); and c) Protestants (for prestige).
o The Jesuit order needed temples, schools, convents, sacred images
etc. The kings, nobility and the bourgeoisie demanded places and
luxurious furniture and decoration.

Baroque Architecture

ELEMENTS

o Forms
change
according
to
country
and
region.
o Big
building
projects:
convents,
churches
and
palaces.
o Curved forms in
facades
and
plan
provided
undulating
movement
to
the building.
o Facades
were
decorated with
eye-catching
forms.
o Contrast
between
light
and shade.
o Materials: stone
cut in ashlars,
interiors
were
covered
with
colored marble,
details
in
bronze.
Decorative
elements: oval
windows,
niches, opened
pediments.
Organic
decoration.
Horror vacui
(fear for empty
space): most of
the surface is
covered with

o Carlo Madero.
o Gian Lorenzo
Bernini.
o Francesco
Borromini.

Baroque Sculpture

Baroque Painting

decoration.
Solomonic
columns:
helical column
(a spiraling
twisting shaft
like a
corkscrew).
Mixtilinear
figures: formed
angles and
curves.
Abundant
niches.
Sculptures were
created
Gian Lorenzo
together with a
Bernini.
scenography.
Movement.
Dramatic effects
and
expressions.
Undulating
clothes.
Helical
compositions.
Materials: white
and colored
marble, bronze,
polychrome
stone.

Asymmetrical
and diagonal
compositions.
Realism: full
naturalism.
Chiaroscuro.
Big formats.
Techniques: oil
on canvas and
fresco.

Michelangelo
Merisi
(Caravaggio).
Pedro Pablo
Rubens.
Rembrandt.
Velzquez.