Baroque Art - art, a style characterized by movement, vivid contrast, and emotional ... Baroque style in architecture is a tiny Roman church designed by the architect

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    ave you ever heard of the Baroque period or the term Baroque art?Did you read the book or see the movie The Three Musketeers that

    took place during this time? What do you know about Rembrandt? By thestart of the seventeenth century, the Catholic Church was answering thechallenge of the Protestant Reformation with a reform movement called theCounter-Reformation. Artists were encouraged to portray religious subjectswith realism and emotion. This resulted in a new art styleBaroque. TheBaroque style originated in Rome and spread across Europe, resulting inpaintings, sculptures, and buildings with overwhelming emotional impact.

    19Baroque Art

    Read to Find Out As you read this chapter, learn about Baroque artin Italy, Flanders, the Netherlands, and Spain. Read to find out aboutDutch art and genre painting. Read further to learn about Spanishartists and their preference for religious subject matter.

    Focus Activity Respond to the artworks you see in this chapter. Lookat Judith Leysters painting in Figure 19.1. What adjectives would youuse to describe the emotional impact of this painting? How do light,contrast, and composition help create drama or emotional impact?What qualities draw you into the painting? What elements and princi-ples of art are used to make you feel as if you are in the same roomwith the young musician? Do you feel like an eyewitness to themoment? Why? Write down your response.

    Using the Time Line The Time Line introduces you to some of theimportant events and other artworks of the Baroque era that you willstudy in this chapter. What adjectives would you use to describe theemotional impact created by these works?


    1623Berninis Davidemphasizesmovement

    1596Shakespeare writesRomeo and Juliet

    1599The GlobeTheatre is builtin London

    1601Caravaggio illuminateshis figures in light

    c. 1575Il Ges is an earlyexample of the newBaroque style inchurch architecture

    16001700The Baroque Period

    1609Galileo perfects the telescope

    1550 1600

  • FIGURE 19.1 Judith Leyster. Boy Playing the Flute. c.16001660. Oil on canvas. 73 62 cm (2834 2412).National Museum, Stockholm, Sweden. Erich Lessing/ Art Resource, NY.


    163035Leyster paints Boy Playing theFlute (Detail)

    166576San Carlo alle QuattroFontane illustrates themature Baroque style in architecture

    1642Rembrandt paintsThe Night Watch

    1656Velzquez paintsLas Meninas(Detail) Refer to the Time Line

    on page H11 in yourArt Handbook for moreabout this period.

    1666The Great Fire of London

    16001700The Baroque Period continues

    1650 1700

  • Vocabulary Counter-Reformation Baroque art faade chiaroscuro

    Artists to Meet Francesco Borromini Gianlorenzo Bernini Michelangelo da Caravaggio Artemisia Gentileschi Peter Paul Rubens

    DiscoverAfter completing this lesson,

    you will be able to: Explain what the Counter-

    Reformation was and discuss therole art played in this movement.

    Describe the qualities Baroquearchitects and sculptors soughtin their work.

    Discuss the styles and innova-tions of Baroque artists, includ-ing Caravaggio, Gentileschi, and Rubens.

    he Counter-Reformation was an effort by the Catholic Church to lurepeople back and to regain its former power. Art played a major role in

    this movement to stamp out heresy and encourage people to return to theChurch. Artists and architects were called to Rome to create works that wouldrestore religious spirit and make the city the most beautiful in the Christianworld. A style emerged that had dramatic flair and dynamic movement. It wasBaroque art, a style characterized by movement, vivid contrast, and emotionalintensity. Once again, Rome became the center of the art world, just as it hadbeen during the height of the Renaissance a century earlier.

    A New Style in Church ArchitectureIn architecture, the Counter-Reformation brought about a revival of

    church building and remodeling. One of these new Roman churches, IlGes (Figure 19.2), was among the first to use features that signaled thebirth of the new art style. The huge, sculptured scrolls at each side of theupper story are a Baroque innovation. They are used here to unite the sidesections of the wide faade, or front of the building, to the central portion.This sculptural quality on buildings such as Il Ges was an important fea-ture of the Baroque architectural style. Over the next hundred years, thisstyle spread across a large part of Europe.

    Baroque Art of Italy and Flanders


    FIGURE 19.2 Thischurch was an earlyexample of the newBaroque style. Point to afeature on this buildingthat marks it as uniquelyBaroque.

    Gacomo della Porta. Il Ges,Rome, Italy. c. 1575.



  • Francesco Borromini (15991667)

    An excellent example of the matureBaroque style in architecture is a tinyRoman church designed by the architectFrancesco Borromini (fran-chess-koh bore-oh-mee-nee).

    San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane FIGURE 19.3

    The church that made Borromini famousworldwide was San Carlo alle Quattro

    Chapter 19 Baroque Art 421

    FIGURE 19.3 This building issaid to produce an effect of move-ment. How is this effect achieved?

    Francesco Borromini. San Carlo alle QuattroFontane, Rome, Italy. 166576.

    Fontane (Figure 19.3). The faade of thischurch is a continuous flow of concave andconvex surfaces. This makes the buildingseem elastic and pulled out of shape.

    The push and pull that results creates astartling pattern of light and shadow acrossthe building. The faade is three-dimensional,almost sculptural. The moldings, sculptures,and niches with small framing columns addthree-dimensional richness and abrupt valuecontrast. Borromini boldly designed thisfaade to produce an overall effect of move-ment, contrast, and variety.

  • Emphasis on Moodand Drama inSculpture

    Throughout the Baroque period,sculptors showed the same interest in movement, contrast, and variety as did architects. They placed greatimportance on the feeling expressed in their work and tried to capture the moment of highest drama andexcitement.

    Sculptors showed less interest in portraying ideal or realisticbeauty. Drapery, for example, nolonger suggested the body beneath.Instead, it offered artists a chance to show off their skills at complexmodeling and reproducing differenttextures. Deep undercutting wasused to create shadows and sharpcontrasts of light and dark values.Colored marble replaced white marble or somber bronze as thepreferred sculptural medium.

    During this time, sculptors cre-ated works that seemed to breakout of and flow from their architec-tural frames. This effect is similar to that found in murals and ceilingpaintings done at the same time(Figure 19.4). The results over-whelm and even confuse theviewer. Sometimes the viewer has trouble seeing where the painting or sculpture ends and reality takes over.

    422 Unit Six Art of an Emerging Modern Europe

    FIGURE 19.4 The artist who painted this ceiling placed a small mark on thefloor beneath it. When people stood on this mark and looked up, they had thebest view of this amazing painting. Can you tell where the building ends and the painting begins? What makes this painting Baroque?

    Fra Andrea Pozzo. The Entrance of St. Ignatius into Paradise. 169194. Ceiling fresco. Sant Ignazio, Rome, Italy.

  • Gianlorenzo Bernini (15981680)

    This merging of Baroque sculpture andarchitecture is seen in Gianlorenzo Berninis(jee-ahn-low-ren-zoh bair-nee-nee) altar con-taining the famous Ecstasy of St.Theresa(Figure 19.5). It was dedicated to St. Theresa,a sixteenth-century Spanish saint of theCounter-Reformation. The inspiration for thissculpture is St. Theresas vision in which anangel pierced her heart with a fire-tippedgolden arrow symbolizing Gods love.

    FIGURE 19.5 The figures in thisBaroque work appear to float in space.Which elements and principles of artdid Bernini employ when creating thissculpture?

    Gianlorenzo Bernini. The Ecstasy of St. Theresa.164552. Marble. Life-size. Cornaro Chapel, SantaMaria della Vittoria, Rome, Italy.

    Chapter 19 Baroque Art 423

    Berninis Use of Space and LightThe angel and the saint are carved in

    white marble and placed against a back-ground of golden rays radiating from above.This scene is lit from overhead by a concealedyellow glass window that makes the figuresseem to float in space within a niche of col-ored marble. The figures appear to moveabout freely within that space. This new relationship of space and movement setsBaroque sculpture apart from the sculpture of the previous 200 years.

  • David FIGURE 19.6

    This new relationship between active figures andspace is observed in Berninis sculpture David(Figure 19.6). The theme in Berninis work is move-ment. Davids body is twisting in space as he preparesto hurl the stone at the mighty giant, Goliath. Thecoiled stance, flexed muscles, and determined expres-sion are clues to his mood and purpose. AlthoughGoliath is not shown, his presence is suggested byDavids action and concentration. The dramatic actionof the figure forces you to use your imagination toplace Goliath in that space in front of David.

    Baroque PaintingLike Baroque architects and sculptors,

    painters of this period used more action intheir works than had their predecessors,and this increased the excitement of theircreations. Furthermore, they used dramaticlighting effects to make vivid contrasts oflight and dark. This magnified the actionand heightened the excitement.

    MOLIRE. French playwright Molire isknown for his satire. His comedies madefun of the foolishness and false values ofthe society of his time. His work greatlyinfluenced other writers.

    SALON SOCIETY. InFrance during the Baroqueperiod, upper class societygathered for games anddiscussions of daily eventsand intellectual ideas.These gatherings, knownas Salons, often includedartists and writers.

    GALILEOS TELESCOPE. This telescopewas perfected by Italian astronomer andmathematician Galileo in 1609. It allowedhim to watch the paths of the planets.

    FIGURE 19.6 If youcompare this workwith a Renaissancesculpture such asDonatellos St. George(Figure 16.11a,page 363), you willquickly recognize theBaroque sculptors loveof movement withinspace. How was thiswork designed toencourage a viewerto move around itrather than view itfrom one spot?

    Gianlorenzo Bernini. David.1623. Marble. Life-size.Galleria Borghese, Rome, Italy.

    Personality Research.Write an I am poem about Galileo,Molire, or another personality from theperiod. Complete the following linesfrom the point of view of that person:I am a...; I wonder...; I hear...;I see...; I want...; I understand...;I say...; I dream...; I hope...;My name is....


    Baroque PeriodSee more Time & Place events on theTime Line, page H11 in your Art Handbook

    c. 1600 1700

    424 Unit Six Art of an Emerging Modern Europe

  • Michelangelo daCaravaggio (15711610)

    More than any other artist, Michelangeloda Caravaggio (mee-kel-ahn-jay-low da kar-ah-vah-jyoh) gave Baroque art its unique lookand feel.

    Caravaggio chose to study and paint theworld around him instead of reworking thesubjects of Renaissance artists. He made lightan important part of his painting, using it toilluminate his figures and expose their imper-fections. By showing their flaws, he made hisfigures seem more real and more human.

    The Conversion of St. Paul FIGURE 19.7

    Caravaggios The Conversion of St. Paul(Figure 19.7) is a fine example of his painting

    style. Only St. Paul, his horse, and a single atten-dant are shown. The entire scene is pushed for-ward on the canvas, so you are presented with aclose look. There is no detailed landscape in thebackground to distract your attention from thisscene, only darkness. Instead of stretching backinto the picture, space seems to project outwardfrom the picture plane to include you as an eye-witness to the event.

    Controversial Portrayal of Religious Subjects

    Caravaggios desire to use ordinary peoplein his portrayal of religious subjects met withmixed reactions. Some of his paintings wererefused by church officials who had commis-sioned them. They disliked the fact that Christand the saints were shown in untraditionalways. The people of Caravaggios time were

    Chapter 19 Baroque Art 425


    There is something unreal and mysteriousabout this scene. Description. A powerful light illuminates a

    figure on the ground with arms upraised andanother standing figure gripping the bridle ofa horse. The light makes them stand outboldly against the dark background. Like aspotlight, it originates outside the picture.

    Analysis. Caravaggio uses this mysteriouslight to add drama to the scene. This tech-nique is chiaroscuro, the arrangement ofdramatic contrasts of light and dark value. InItalian, chiaro means bright and scuromeans dark.

    Interpretation. The figure on the ground isSt. Paul, who, as Saul, was once feared as apersecutor of Christians. The brilliant flashof light reveals St. Paul at the exact momentwhen he hears Gods voice with a messagethat changes his life.

    Judgment. Do you think this artwork is successful in using lightto increase the visual impact of the scene?

    LOOKING Closely

    FIGURE 19.7

    Caravaggio. The Conversion of St. Paul. c. 1601. Oilon canvas. Approx. 228.6 175.3 cm (90 69).Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome, Italy.

  • used to seeing religious figures pictured asmajestic and supernatural beings. OftenCaravaggios figures looked like peasants and common beggars.

    Caravaggios reckless life was as shockingto the public as many of his pictures. Duringthe last decade of his life, he was in constanttrouble with the law because of his brawls,sword fights and violent temper.

    Caravaggios dynamic style of art and dra-matic use of chiaroscuro, however, helped tochange the course of European painting dur-ing the seventeenth century. Spreading northinto Flanders and Holland, these techniquesand new approaches to religious subject mat-ter provided inspiration for Rubens,Rembrandt, and other artists.

    Artemisia Gentileschi(15931653)

    Artemisia Gentileschi (ar-tay-mee-zee-ah jen-tih-less-key) became the first woman in the his-tory of Western art to have a significant impacton the art of her time. Her debt to Caravaggio isevident in her works. A good example is Judithand Maidservant with the Head of Holofernes(Figure 19.8), painted when she was at thepeak of her career.

    Judith and Maidservant with theHead of Holofernes FIGURE 19.8

    The biblical story of Judith is one of greatheroism. She used her charms to capture thefancy of Holofernes, an important general and an enemy of the Jewish people. WhenHolofernes was asleep in his tent, Judith strucksuddenly, cutting off his head. Gentileschi cap-tures the scene just after this act. Judith standswith the knife still in her hand as her servantplaces the severed head in a sack. A mysteriousnoise has just interrupted them and Judithraises a hand in warning.

    The dark, cramped quarters of the tent are aneffective backdrop for the two silent figures illu-minated by the light from a single candle.Judiths raised hand partially blocks the lightfrom this candle and casts a dark shadow on herface. Her brightly lit profile is thus emphasizedand this...