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Baroque and Rococo: the City and the Court

Caravaggio Amor Victorious Amor vincit omnia (Profane Love)


The style started around 1600 in Rome, Italy and spread to most of Europe Period of artistic style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama. The popularity and success of the Baroque style was encouraged by the Roman Catholic Church, which had decided at the time of the Council of Trent, in response to the Protestant Reformation, that the arts should communicate religious themes in direct and emotional involvement Second earliest period in orchestral music. Beginning of instrumental concertos. The term Baroque was derived from a Portuguese word meaning "a pearl of irregular shape" implying strangeness and abnormality. Can be recognized by the "complex" (for lack of a better word) melody line.

Cannons and fugues were very popular in the baroque period.

Elements of music such as texture, dynamics, and duration where emphasized


What is Baroque Art?

In fine art, the term Baroque (derived from the Portuguese Barocco meaning, A pearl of "irregular shape) describes a fairly complex idiom, originating in Rome, which flowered during the period c.1590-1720, and which embraced painting and sculpture as well as architecture. After the idealism of the Renaissance (c.1400-1530), and the slightly 'forced' nature of Mannerism (c.1530-1600),

Baroque art above all reflected the religious tensions of the age - notably the desire of the Catholic Church in Rome (as annunciate at the Council of Trent, 1545-63) to reassert itself in the wake of the Protestant Reformation. Many Catholic Emperors and monarchs across Europe had an important stake in the Catholic Church's success, hence a large number of architectural designs, paintings and sculptures were commissioned by the Royal Courts of Spain, France, and elsewhere, in order to glorify their own divine grandeur, and in the process strengthen their political position. By comparison, Baroque art in Protestant areas like Holland had far less religious content, and instead was designed essentially to appeal to the growing aspirations and financial strength of the merchant and middle classes.

Styles/Types of Baroque Art In order to fulfil 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. FRESCOS IN THE WURZBURG RESIDENCE by GIAMBATTISTA TIEPOLO

Apollo and the Continents (America) 1752-53 Fresco Stairwell of the Residenz, Wrzburg

Apollo and the Continents (Europe) 1752-53 Fresco Stairwell of the Residenz, Wrzburg

Apollo and the Continents (Asia) 1752-53 Fresco Stairwell of the Residenz, Wrzburg

Apollo and the Continents (Africa) 1752-53 Fresco Stairwell of the Residenz, Wrzburg

Baroque painting 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 tenebrism and chiaroscuro were developed to enhance atmosphere. Brushwork is creamy and broad, often resulting in thick impasto. Baroque sculpture, typically larger-than-life size, is marked by a similar sense of dynamic movement, along with an active use of space.

*Tenebrism - the word "tenebrism" (from the Italian word "tenebroso" meaning dark) describes a style of painting characterized by deep shadows and a distinct contrast between light and dark areas. In essence, it is a compositional technique (often confused with chiaroscuro) in which some areas of the painting are kept completely black, allowing one or more areas to be strongly illuminated usually from a single source of light. These pictures are sometimes referred to as "night pictures" painted in the "dark manner." Tenebrism is most often used in connection with works created during theMannerism and Baroque eras, notably by Caravaggio (1571-1610), as well as other tenebristi in Naples, the Netherlands and Spain.

Examples of Tenebrism

* Chiaroscuro - term "chiaroscuro" (from the Italian for "light-dark"; or the French "clair-obscur") describes the prominent contrast of light and shade in a painting, drawing or print, and the skill demonstrated by the artist in the management of shadows to create the illusion of three-dimensional forms.

What is the Difference Between Chiaroscuro and Tenebrism?

Both chiaroscuro and the Mannerist painterly style known as tenebrism (from the Italian word "tenebroso" meaning "murky") are concerned with the treatment of light and shadow in a twodimensional painting or drawing. And at first glance a tenebrist painting might look very similar to one containing strong chiaroscuro effects.

However, there is a clear theoretical difference between the two terms. As described above, chiaroscuro is a painterly shading technique used specifically to give 2-D objects a sense of volume: that is, to make them look like three-dimensional solids. Whereas tenebrism is a dark-light compositional technique by which some areas of the painting are kept dark (that is, totally black), allowing one or two areas to be strongly illuminated by comparison. Tenebrism is used for purely dramatic effect (it is sometimes called "dramatic illumination"). There is no modelling involved: no attempt to give figures a sense of three-dimensionality. In effect, tenebrist darkness is purely negative, while chiaroscuro shadow contributes positive form.


Baroque Architecture 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 architect, Bernini, ringed the square with colonnades, to convey the impression to visitors that they are being embraced by the arms of the Catholic Church.

Famous Baroque Painters (and Paintings)

Annibale Carracci (1560-1609)

Farnese Gallery fresco paintings (1590s, Rome) Christ Wearing the Crown of Thorns (1585-7, Gemaldegalerie, Dresden) Flight into Egypt (1604, Doria Gallery, Rome)

Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640)

Samson and Delilah (1609), National Gallery, London. The Judgement of Paris (1635-38), National Gallery, London.

Carravaggio (1571-1610)
Conversion on the Way to Damascus (1601), Chapel of Santa Maria Rome. Supper at Emmaus (1601-2), National Gallery, London.

Artemisia Gentileschi (15931656)

Judith Beheading Holofernes (1620) Uffizi Gallery, Florence.

Diego Velazquez (1599-1660) The Surrender of Breda (1634-5), Museo del Prado, Madrid. Las Meninas (1656), Museo del Prado, Madrid.

Famous Baroque Sculptors (and Sculptures)

Giovanni Bernini
The greatest Baroque sculptor, noted for: The Rape of Proserpine (1621-22) Galleria Borghese, Rome. Apollo and Daphne (1622-25), Galleria Borghese, Rome. Cornaro Chapel (1645-52), Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome.

Juan Martines Montanes (1568-1649)

Spanish virtuoso wood-carver, noted for: The Merciful Christ (The Christ of Clemency) (1603) Seville Cathedral The Santiponce Altarpiece (1613).

Francois Duquesnoy (1597-1643)

Classical style, sculpted in marble, stone, bronze, and noted for the statues: St Andrew (1629-33) Basilica di San Pietro, Vatican St Susanna (1630-33) Santa Maria di Loreto, Rome

1725-1775 AD

In music the Rococo period (1725-1775) was the 18th century reaction against the Baroque style. It is an 18th century artistic movement and style, It is referred to as Late Baroque.

Less formal and grandiose in structure, it was a graceful rather than profound style.
The word Rococo derives from the French Rocaille, A shell. Rococo related much more to decorative shapes as well as the natural and organic. The Rococo developed in the early part of the 18th century in Paris, France as a reaction against the grandeur, symmetry and strict regulations of the Baroque, especially that of the Palace of Versailles Rococo may also be interpreted as a combination of the word "barocco" and the French "rocaille", and may be used to describe the refined and fanciful style that became fashionable in parts of Europe during the eighteenth century. Rococo artists opted for a more jocular, florid and graceful approach to Baroque art and architecture. The goal of all artists was to charm, delight and entertain. There were great painters such as Jean Antoine Watteau (1684-1721), and composers like Francois Couperin (1668-1733). Couperin has been referred to as the greatest composer of the French keyboard school and came from a family of distinguished musicians. This coming era was characterized by the desire to systematize all knowledge, and was very presents in the music scene.

Furniture and Decorative Objects

Rococo was noted for having light, curves, playfulness, and was illustrated mainly in the interiors of the French upper class and through decorative art. Rococo was infamous for its superfluous decoration and extraordinary detail.

Rococo Mirror

Rococo Table

Garden Designs
Rococo Garden Design is a style of garden based on symmetry and the principle of imposing order over nature.

The Gardens of the Grand Trianon at Versailles

Parterres of the Orangerie of the Chateau of Versailles

Rococo architecture also brought significant changes to the building of edifices, placing an emphasis on privacy rather than the grand public majesty of Baroque architecture, as well as improving the structure of buildings in order to create a more healthy environment. Chinese House (Potsdam) St. Andrews Church

Interior Design
Rococo rooms were designed as total works of art with elegant and ornate furniture, small sculptures, ornamental mirrors, and tapestry complementing architecture, reliefs, and wall paintings. Gatchina



Painters used delicate colors and curving forms. Paintings are whimsical and have recognizable erotic themes.

Pilgrimage of Cythera

Dancing Milkmaids


The themes of love and gaiety were reflected in sculpture, as were elements of nature, curving lines and asymmetry.

Jan Obrocki 1773 Tomb of Amalia Mniszech Saint Mary Magdalene Church in Dukla, Poland

Cupid fashioning his bow from Hercules club

Wenus in Saxon Garden