Some generalizations about the three major art forms:
What is Baroque? The term was originally coined to desparage the very style it designates:
it meant "irregular,
contorted, grotesque." Also, an irregularly shaped pearl.
defies simple definition or classification. Rather it incorporates an extreme range of contradictions.
Historians generally agree that the Baroque period was born in Rome during the final years of the 16th century. It
included both religious and secualr subjects - after a quick spread into northern Europe. It existed in the Papal
states, as well as in the style of absolutism of the northern monarchies but also flourished in bourgeois Holland. It
was, to say the very least, hard to tie to any religion, state, or country.
In addition, during the 17th century scientific and philosophical thought became too complex, abstract and
systematic for the aritist to share as they had during the Renaissance. Copernicus, Galileo, Descartes and Newton
developed real scientific theories and pursued their studies utilizing new methods and technologies. They displaced
the Renaissance, uncovering natures's secrets with a scientific method of discovering nature's "laws". Baroque is
not simply the result of religious, political, or intellectual developments of the era but is more a mixture of
these key elements plus a generous dose of personal confidence, human passion, and the desire for
individual achievement and recognition.
General characteristics of the Baroque styles, changing over the course of the century, included the manipulation
of space, light, mass, volume and texture to express power; religious, political, and social.
Some generalizations about the three major art forms:
Architecture: Grandeur. elegance, and opulence were expressed in a great variety of
~-- Complex forms with undulating rhythms and oval motifs were built on a grand
France --Secular building was dominant. The style was called "Classical Baroque"
because the classicism of the Renaissance was combined with Baroque grandeur.
Painting: Each country developed unique expressions of the Baroque. One of the
characteristics shared by all was the use of tenebrism (a extreme use of dark and light,
different than chiaroscuro by its degree and in some cases theatrical application) Other
1. Dynamic instead of static balance.
2. Receding compositions with elements placed diagonally rather than parallel to
the picture plane.
3. Extreme illusionism in space and lighting.
4. Extremely complicated perspective and foreshortening.
5. emotional response was heightened by use of intense colors, exaggerated
poses and gestures. and daring compositions.
Italy -- Illusionistic ceiling paintings. mostly religious. were dynamic, expansive. and
emotionally charged. Intense colors. exaggerated poses and gestures. and diagonally arranged
compositions were typical. Caravaggio's use of tenebrism (a unique shading approach which
used extremes of light and dark for dramatic effects) influenced artists throughout Europe.
~-- Two styles developed: intense mysticism and detached realism. Illusionism was
important to both. Mysticism is best illustrated by the work of EI Greco. while Velazquez
championed detached realism.
-2Flanders--Rich brushwork, intense colors, and a wide variety of subjects were typical of
Holland--Portraiture, genre (everyday life), still life, and landscape painting flourished.
Only Rembrandt produced religious works. Frans Hals was one the first to paint alia prima.
France--Calm, serene compositions in the manner of the High Renaissance, a preference
for grand subjects, often with moralistic tone, taken from historical of mythological narrative.
Whole range of subject matter.
SCulpture: Bernini, the genius of the age, influenced generations of carvers with his
werful and emotional
1. Michelangelo Caravagglo (1571-1610) It
2. Peter Paul RUbens--1577-1640) Flemish
3. Diego Velasquez (1599-1660) Spain
4. Glanlorenzo Bernini--(1598-1680)
5. Jan Vermeer--(1632-1675) Dutch
6. Rembrandt Van Rljn (1606-1669) Dutch
REVIEW OF ARTISTS
1. MICHELANGELO MERISI 1571-1610 ITALIAN CALLE
CARAVAGGIO BORN IN MILIAN,
A NORTHERN GENIUS PAINTING SACRED SUBJECT MATTER IN TERMS OF CONTEMPORARY EVERYDAY
IMAGERY, PAINTINGS ARE PEOPLED WITH THE COMMON AND LOW ELEMENTS ENGAGED WITH HOLY
SUBJECTS, SOMETIMES REFERRED TO AS A NEW "NATURALISM" APART FROM THE EARLIER TYPE OF GITTO
AND OTHERS. NATURALISM AND USE OF TENEBRISM IS NOT AN END UNTO ITSELF BUT RATHER A MEANS
TO CONVEYING PROFOUNDLY RELIGIOUS CONTENT. AS IN THE PAINTING, "THE CALLING OF ST.
MATTHEWS,". SUPERNATURAL EVENTS OCCURRING IN AN ORDINARY LOOKING SETTING WITH COMMON,
"UNHOLIFIED" PEOPLE. NOTE THE STRONG BEAM OF LIGHT ILLUMINATING THE FACE AND GESTURING
HAND OF JESUS, SO CHARGED WITH SYMBOLIC MEANING. HE STRONGLY INFLUENCES REMBRANDT, THE
GREATEST RELIGIOUS ARTIST OF THE PROTESTANT NORTH.
CARAVAGGIO'S APPEAL IS UNIVERSAL, BOTH CATHOLIC AND
PROTESTANTS, BECAUSE HE FOCUSES ON THE INWARD
EXPERIENCE AND LESS OF RELIGIOUS DOCTRINE. ORDINARY
PEOPLE FOUND IT EASY TO RELATE TO THIS, ALTHOUGH
THE MORE CONSERATIVE CRITICS REGARDED HIS WORK
AS LACKING PROPRIETY AND REVERENCE. HE WAS THE
PROTYPE OF THE BOHEIMEN ARTIST, REBELIOUS
(PARTICULARLY AGAINST AUTHORITY) KILLED A MAN IN
STREET DUEL AND WAS FORCED TO FLEE TO ELBLE.
The Calling of 51. Matthews>
2. PETER PAUL RUBENS-15n-1640 FLEMISH FOUND SUCCESS IN ANTWERP. HE WAS SAID TO
HAVE FINISHED WHAT DURER HAD STARTED IN THE NORTH A HUNDRED YEARS BEFORE, I.E., THE
BREAKDOWN OF THE ARTISTIC BARRIERS BETWEEN THE NORTH AND SOUTH. A MAJESTIC NORTHERN
PERSONALITY OF STAGGERING ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS A PAINTER. HE DEVELOPED A UNIQUE STYLE THAT
UNITED THE NATURAL AND SUPERNATURAL REALITY AND FANTASY. LEARNING AND SPIRITUALITY.
RUBENS RESOLVED THE CONTRADITIONS OF THE ERA THROUGH HUMANISM, THAT UNION OF FAITH AND
< The Raising of the Cross
-3ATTACKED BY THE REFORMATION AND COUNTER-REFORMATION ALIKE. HE EMPITOMIZED THE BAROQUE
IDEAL OF BOUNDLESS ENERGY AND INVENTIVENESS OF THE INTELLECT AS WELL AS ARTISTIC VIRTUOSITY.
IN THE USE OF THEATRICAL EFFECTS AND DRAMA IN HIS SWIRLING COMPOSTIONS. "THE RAISING OF THE
CROSS". PROVIDES AN EXAll.PLE OF HIS CHARACTERISTICALLY BAROQUE WAY OF MAKING THE VIEWER
FEEL PART OF THE ACTION BY EXTENDING THE PAINTING BEYOND ITS FRAME THROUGH THE USE OF AN
UNDULATING "S" CURVE OF BODIES SWAYING PRECARIOUSLY AND AT ITS CENTER THE GRUESOME DEED
DURING HIS FORMATIVE YEARS IN SEVILLE HIS WORK WAS INFLUENCED EJY
CARAVAGGIO. HE WAS SO BRILLIANT THAT HE WAS QUICKLY APPOINTED
COURT PAINTER. HE MET RUBENS ON A DIPLOMATIC MISSION, WHO
INTRODUCED HIM TO THE SUBTLITES AND BEAUTY OF THE MANY TITIANS
IN THE KINGS COLLECTION FROM WHICH HE DEVELOPED A NEW FLUENCY
AND RICHNESS. THE "MAIDS OF HONOR," IS VELAZQUEZ AT THE HEIGHT
OF HIS MATURE STYLE. IT IS BOTH A GROUP PORTRAIT AND A GENRE
SCENE' (AN ARTIST IN HIS STUDIO) .ACTUALLY IT MIGHT BE DESCRIBED AS
A PUZZLE FOR THE VIEWER TO SOLVE. WHAT IS GOING ON? OR PREHAPS
FOR THE PLEASURE OF THE ROYAL COUPLE, A PRIVATE JOKE OR
PUN...BUT ALSO IT IS A TOUR DE FORCE OF VELAZQUEZ'S FASCINATION
WITH LIGHT. HE CHALLENGES US TO FIND THE VARIETIES OF DIRECT AND
REFLECTED LIGHT, TO COMPARE THE MIRROR IMAGE WITH THE
PAINTINGS_ON THE_SAME WALL_OR THE MAN PlCTIJREDJNTHEDOORWAY.
VELAZQUEZ WAS CONCERNED WITH THE OPTICAL QUALITIES OF
LIGHT RATHER THAN THE METAPHYSICAL MYSTERIES OF CARAVAGGIO.
HIS AIM WAS TO SHOW THE MOVEMENT OF LIGHT ITSELF AND INFINITE .
RANGE OF ITS EFFECTS ON FORM AND COLOR.
4. GIANLORENZO BERNINI 1598-1680 ITALIAN THE GREATEST SCULPTOR-ARCHITECT OF THE
17TH CENTURY. IT WAS HE WHO MOLDED THE OPEN SPACE IN FRONT OF THE FACADE OF ST. PETER'S, IN
ROME INTO A MAGNIFICENT OVAL "FORECOURT" FRAMED BY COLONNADES WHICH HAVE BEEN LIKENED TO
THE ALL EMBRACING ARMS OF MOTHER CHURCH. LET US STUDY FOR A MOMENT THE TREATMENT OF THE
CHRISITAIN THEME "DAVID" BY THREE SCULPTORS:
Bernini, detail: A Faun Teased by Children, marble 1616-17 >
BERNINI-BAROQUE, MICHAELANGELO-HIGH RENAISSANCE, AND DONA TEUcrEARLY RENAISSANCE. ALL
DIFFERENT, ALL BRILLIANTLY CONCEIVED REFLECTING THEIR OWN TIME.
DONATELLO -- DAVID 1425-30
MICHAELANGELO -- DAVID 1501-04
BERNINI--DAVID 1623 -- p338
Detail from Rape
marble (1598 - 1680)
DONATELLO- FIRST FREE STANDING lIFESIZE NUDE STATUE SINCE ANTIQUITY. DAVID-WEAK BUT
FAVORED BY THE LORD, BEAUTIFUL
CONTRAPPOSTO OF THE CLASSICISTS NO TENSION OR ENERGY ALMOST LYRICAL, POSING TO CONFER A
STATE OF CHRISTIAN GRACE ARMED ONLY WITH HIS FAITH AND AN UNMANAGABLE SWORD.
MICHAELANGELO--FIRST FREE STANDING MONUMENTAL STATUE SINCE ANTIQUITY. By CHOSING THE
MOMENT BEFORE THE FIGHT WE HAVE THE CHAMPION OF A JUST CAUSE, RIGHT OVER MIGHT! HIS FIGURE
IS POISED YET ENERGY CHARGED. THE FIGURE ACTS OUT THE SPIRIT'S AGONY, AT ONCE CALM AND
TENSE, READY FOR ACTION.
BERNINI-- THE FIGURE IS GALVINIZED IN ACTION, CAUGHT IN A MOMENT OF TIME, A UNSION OF BODY AND
SPIRIT, OF MOTION AND EMOTION. BERNINI'S WORK IS NOT CONCEIVED OF AS A SELF-CONTAINED FIGURE
BUT AS PART OF A PAIR, HIS ENTIRE ACTION FOCUSED ON HIS ADVERSARY. THE SPACE BETWEEN DAVID
AND HIS INVISBLE OPPONENT IS CHARGED WITH ENERGY. THE YOUNG BERNINI WAS SUPPOSED TO HAVE
USED HIS OWN LIKENESS FOR DAVID'S FEATURES.
-4"THE ECTASY OF ST. THERESA," PP338-39-- CORNARO CHAPEL IN LTHE CHURCH OF STA. MARIE DELLA VITIORIA. THERESA AVILA,
ONE OF THE SAINTS OF THE COUNTER REFORMATION HAD DESCRIBED HOW AN ANGEL HAD PIERCED HER HEART WITH A FLAMING
GOLDEN ARROW. UTILIZING PHYSICAL RELEASE TO SUGGEST SPIRITUAL ECSTASY. ITS DIVINE NATURE IS SUGGESTED BY THE
GOLDEN RAYS. THERE ARE OTHER THEATRICAL DEVICES UTILIZED INCLUDING PAINTING AND ARCHITECTURE. BERNINI WAS
UNDOUBTEDLY THE FOREMOST SCULPTOR OF THE BAROQUE PERIOD.
5. JAN VERMEER-1632-1675 DUTCH FAMOUS FOR HIS LANDSCAPES AND
GENRE SCENES. HARDLY ANY NARRATNE, SINGLE FIGURES FOR THE MOST PART,
USUALLY WOMEN ENGAGED IN SIMPLE EVERYDAY TASKS BATHED BY A COOL CLEAR
LIGHT FED THROUGH SOME JEWEL-LIKE FILTEA. IT MODIFIES REALITY INTO A
FRESH, BEAUTIFUL AND TIMELESS "STILL LIFE" WORLD. THE "GEOGRAPHER"WE SEE IT AS A PERSPECTIVE WINDOW AND AS A PLANE, A SERIES OF INTERLOCKING
RECTANGLUAR SHAPES CAREFULLY ALIGNED TO CREATE A SENSE OF CALM YET
UNUSUAL TENSIONS AT THE SAME TIME. ALL CAREFULLY "STAGED" TO ESTABLISH
OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE SCENE, USUALLY AS AN OBSERVER ONLY. THE
CONTENT IN VERMEER'S PICTURE LIES IN THE DUTCH INTEREST IN SCIENCE AND
EXPLORATION AND THE ARTISTS INTEREST IN THE DEPICTION OF INTERIORS.
Jan Vermeer, The Geographer>
6. REMBRANDT VAN RIJN 1606-1669 DUTCH
THE GREATEST OF THE DUTCH MASTERS--BOTH PAINTER AND ETCHER PAR EXCELLENCE.
1642 "II:fg NIGHT WATCH, "--THE MARCH OUT OF CAPTAIN BANNING coca."
POOR MONEY MANAGEMENT, TRAGIC PERSONAL LIFE, PAINT A POWERFUL LIFE PICTURE
TO MATCH THE INCREDIBLE POWER OF THIS ARTIST. UNPARALLELED SERIES OF
SELF PORTRAITS. OVER 100 DRAWINGS, ETCHINGS AND PAINTINGS THAT DOCUMENT THIS GREAT LIFE. HE GAVE US DYNAMIC
GROUP PORTRAITURE IN THE NIGHT WATCH AND IS UNDOUBTEDLY THE LEADER IN THAT AREA. HE WAS THE LEADING ETCHER OF THE
17TH CENTURY. THEATRICAL, DRAMATIC--MARCHING TO HIS OWN DRUMMER...
< detail, Rembrandt, The Night Watch
detail, The nave of Wieskirche church, 1745 by
Dominikus Zimmermann v
during the beginning of the 18th century but more
significantly was linked to the close of the Baroque period. The Rococo, a light,
frivolous, and at times, decadent style was connected with the aristocracy and
considered the ultimate in fantasy. It was both light hearted and tender-minded.
It conjured up an enchanted realm that presented a temporary diversion from real life. It is fashionable to denigrate
the Rococo for its unabashed escapism and eroticism. To its credit, however, the Rococo discovered the world
of love and broadened the range of human emotion in art to include, for the first time, the family as a major
theme. Watteau, Boucher, Fragonard and Chardin were all first rate painters of the
movement. The architecture included anti-symmetrical designs based on curves and counter-curves, heavy with
embellishment to the point of madness and visual overload. About mid-way through the century and continuing well
into the 1850's two separate yet strangely intertwined movements sprang up in France and spread through-out
Europe and into North America.