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Baroque Art Caravaggio

Baroque Art


The baroque Art, the category historiographique indicating a dominant artistic tendency appeared to the end of the XVIE century in Italy.

Used as adjective, the term "baroque" applies to the formal attributes independent from the historic context. One will speak about music, about thought or about literature "baroque" to find the character "baroque" of this literature, this thought, or this music. Used as noun, he indicates forms of artistic or religious expression, as multiple forms of social organizations. One can not extract it, here , from the mental context. In this last case, one will speak about the "baroque" in catholic Europe, about the end of the XVIE Century by the middle of the XVIIIE Century.


The previous history of the word "baroque" are vague. It would result maybe from barrocco Portuguese, which means " pearl of irregular shape ". From the end of the XVIIIE Century, the term "baroque" enters the terminology of the art critics to indicate broken forms opposing to the returning proportionality of the end of the XVIIE Century, namely proportion, harmony, balance and a symmetry. Certain historians of art, as Jakob Burckahrdt, considered the baroque as the decadent expression of the returning art, until Heinrich Wölfflin, his follower, who noticed the first one, in his fundamental Principles of the art history ( 1915 ), the differences enters the art of the XVIE Century and that of the XVIIE Century, without being however able to categoriser these changes.

The art the baroque includes numerous regional distinctions and covers different social realities. The recent historiography reconsiders it by approaching it as a formal tool of expression. it associates the art the baroque and the classic art by making some first meaning shape the repressed person of second, and categorize the whole by the term of "baroque" . So, the baroque appears as a complex relation of association / aversion of two opposite, a relation which melts itself on a principle said about convergent order. One will operate a sub-classification ; so, to define the baroque going from 1590 till 1650, as it will be will spoken about "height - baroque" or about the primitive baroque ", and about the "classicism" to indicate the baroque of the years 1650-1750.


The baroque is characterized, in opposition to the Renaissance, by a new relation among the being and the world. While the Renaissance asserted a harmonious and mathematical report of the microcosm towards the macrocosm, the baroque is going, to him, to set a complex link, a hyperbolic expression of the unity and the identical demands, the total and immediate immanence and the grand and unambiguous transcendence. The thought the baroque, just like holy Ignace de Loyola, is going to privilege a fantasized, imaginary universe, which will be the extrapolation of this conflict of opposite, but which will carry in him this principle of convergence. The art the baroque is then going to develop the crack, the curvature, the tension and the knot as representational expressions the best suited to represent this type of conflict.

Copernic's cosmology will bring to the baroque one sat scientist. Because the copernicien universe is a twisted, stretched, exaggerated universe, carrying the Earth in the borders of a héliocentrique world, and making of the Man a representation broken by biblical Adam. Galilee will resume these sights, and the philosopher Giordano Bruno will consider this héliocentrique universe as indefinite from the point of view of the quality, and "the indefiniteness" from the point of view of the area. The discovery of the Indians of the New World will be made the echo, mostly , of an anthropology "baroque" . Because the "savage" of Americas is going to evoke, in Europe, the fabulous myth of the gymnosophisme, but his practices man-eaters will arouse, at the same time, horror and disgust.

The explosion of the baroque also coincided with all the expressions of the reformation, as with the emergence of the European major powers, that it is Louis XIV's France , or Spain of Philippe II . The notion of State and that of the religion go, alternately, fight and become confused. Every European State will be perceived as a separate religion, at the same time as the Roman Catholic Church will assert itself as an European institution. The report among the individual and the State will reproduce then the report among the individual and the God.

In its will to touch the feeling of the crowds, the baroque possesses the taste of the splendor and the spectacular. Artists are going to play contrasts of lighting, fakings and complex machineries to arouse effects of mass. In the sacred art, the edifying scenes (martyrs, ecstasies and miracles) are particularly appreciated.

The painters privilege the geometrical compositions and play on diagonals, games of perspective, shortcuts and effects of low-angle shot (sotto in sù). The technique of the trompe-l'oeil knows an important development, because it serves largely the will to use the illusion as the most adequate representational expression to arouse the force of the imagination, the only force susceptible to reach this fantasized and magnificent universe. The lyric and the poignant, in the painting the baroque, are so many effects looked for to evoke this fundamental imaginative force. So, the painting the baroque shares with the sculpture a taste pronounced for all who can arouse the pathos : psychological descriptions of the persons, theories of the human passions, movements of the thought, put in abyme, etc.

Finally, in architecture, the baroque is characterized by a very net tendency for the dissolution in the space. Expressing a split universe, the architecture the baroque wants to spread, to occupy most possible space while looking for the decentration, the crack, that is the threshold of the loss of balance. The dissolution and the crack will be perceived as architectural experiences the best elaborated to report the permanent conflict between the order and the disorder, the One and the multiple. On the contrary, the classic architecture will privilege the concentration and a symmetry to appear in best the realities of the known world. The architect the baroque sees developing the column trunk, the uncoupling, the curves and the broken lines.

The art the baroque in Italy : of the "height - baroque ( 1590-1650 )" in the "classicism ( 1650-1750 )"

The first demonstrations of the baroque appear in Rome towards the end of the XVIE Century, in the term of mannerist said period. This evolution is, largely , connected to the council of Thirty, which advocates a big discipline in the research for an art knowing how to get the crowds by the passion.

Painting the baroque Italian

In painting, one distinguishes two fundamental schools: " the school of Bologna " and " the neapolitan school ". The paintings of Caravage, with their opposition of light and very marked shadow, are a part of this last one. The brother Carrache, refusing any affectation for the benefit of principles of light, of monumentality and balance, is a part, on the other hand , of the school of Bologna. These two tendencies turn out decisive in the evolution of the "height - baroque" of the years 1620-1650, and participate in the style " to the Italian ".

In Rome, Caravage, neapolitan school ", settles as the main rival of the Bolonais Annibal Carrache. Works such as the Vocation and Martyr of saint Matthieu (v. 1599-1600, church Saint-Louis-des-Français, Rome) appear as the point of reference of a "naturalism" the baroque which finds an echo, between 1600 and 1620, in the canvases of Orazio Gentileschi and its daughter Artemisia, or in those of Bartolomeo Manfredi (v. 1580-1620). Afterward, certain foreign painters come to work in Rome get closer of this current : Valentin de Boulogne, Gerrit Van Honthorst and Jusepe de Ribera. Less fashionable in Italy from 1630, the caravagisme will continue however to influence profoundly the European painting till the end of the XVIIE Century.

Annibal Carrache, his brother Augustine and their cousin Ludovic, all three native of Bologna, are the main representatives of the second tendency. From 1595, Annibal settles down in Rome. Already famous for his frescoes realized in Bologna, he is in charge of painting the ceilings of the gallery of the palace Farnèse in Rome ( 1597-1602 ). This work, very significant, marks a decisive stage in the evolution of what will become the "classicism" . This second influence also reunites artists as Guido Reni, Dominiquin and Francesco Albani, says Albane ( 1578-1660 ), pupils of the Carrache in their workshop of Bologna.

It is towards the end of 1620's when develops a "height - baroque" , marked by a theatricality and an exuberance any news. The artists try to base a painting being able to arouse a total imaginative energy. From 1625 till 1627, Giovanni Lanfranco decorates in fresco the big dome of the church Sant' Andrea della Valle ( Rome) of his Assumption of the Virgo, according to the techniques of upper limit focusing in Parma by Corrège. The complex visual effects of the set place it as one of the first masterpieces the baroque. The work from Lanfranco to Rome ( 1613-1630 ), then in Naples ( 1634-1646 ) will have played a fundamental role in the evolution of this style " to the Italian " which Bernin will glorify.

Ceilings establish a support privileged to develop the art of the trompe-l'oeil ; Pierre de Cortone spends boss in this art. It executes notably frescoes on the ceilings of the Big show of the palace Barberini in Rome ( 1633-1640 ). Between 1676 and 1679, Giovanni Battista Gaulli, said Baciccia, realizes a work which presents spectacular 3-dimensional effects, letting discover to the spectator the infinity of Heavens and the Divine ; it is about the Triumph of the name of Jesus over the ceiling of the church Santa Maria del Gesù in Rome, called collectively Gesù. However, one can not speak about the painting about the baroque Italian without evoking the last one of its big painters, Giambattista Tiepolo. At first marked by the twilight, it(he) adopts quickly a more brilliant way. Boss of the feigned architectures, the skies and the landscapes which aim towards the infinity, Tiepolo creates a light, translucent world, an expression idealized by this imaginary universe where triumphs the idea of complétude. It is also necessary to quote the frescoes of the biblical Histories and the Fall of the rebel angels of Udine's ( 1726-1728 ) archbishopric, and those of the church of Gesuati ( 1737-1739 ), or still the decoration of the palace Labia ( 1747-1750 ), in Venice.

Painting the baroque Spanish

TIn Spain, Jusepe de Ribera and Francisco de Zurbarán absorbed Caravaggio's Tenebrism, but each brought different interests and tendencies to his work. Ribera could be brutally realistic, as in the Clubfooted Boy (1652, Louvre, Paris). Zurbarán imbued his religious paintings with Spanish mysticism; like Caravaggio, he also excelled in still life. Diego Velázquez, court painter to Philip IV, was the greatest Spanish painter of the age and a consummate master of tone and color. He approached his subjects with detachment, dispassionately but realistically portraying members of the royal family. The royal entourage can be seen in his masterpiece, Las meninas (The Maids of Honor, 1656, Prado); as symbol of its veracity, it even includes a portrait of Velázquez himself at his easel..

The English baroque

The painting the baroque English remain dominated by the presence of Rubens and Van Dyck , who influenced portrait painters' whole generation. The sculpture is marked at the same moment by the Italian and Flemish styles. Banqueting House (1619-1622, London) of the English architect Inigo Jones, house of London the ceiling of which is decorated with the Allegory of the Peace and the War ( 1629 ) of Rubens, raises more the returning influence of Palladio than those of architects the baroque. Christopher Wren, on the other hand, makes live the education of Borromini and the influence of Bramante in the plans of the cathedral Saint Paul (begun in 1675, London). Wren, in charge of(loaded with) the reconstruction of London after the big fire of 1666, will have left in Great Britain a style the clean baroque.

The French baroque

Two French painters in particular assimilated the Caravaggesque style. Georges de La Tour, primarily a painter of religious subjects, was a master of light and shadow, demonstrating his virtuosity at so illuminating faces and hands, by the light of a single candle, that flesh seems almost translucent. Louis Le Nain also used light and shadow dramatically in his monumental paintings of peasant life. In general, however, French baroque artists practiced a classical restraint that brought clarity, balance, and harmony to their pictures. This is seen both in the classical subjects painted by Nicolas Poussin and in the dreamlike landscapes of Claude Lorrain; significantly, both artists spent most of their careers in Italy.

The Germanic baroque

The war of Thirty Years ( 1618-1648 ) in Germany, the presence of the Turks in Austria, and the wars against the Czechs prevent the influences the baroque from spreading in these countries - at least, during the XVIIE Century. Nevertheless, they are smelt at certain artist's of the beginning of the XVIIE Century, as Adam Elsheimer or Johann Lys (v. 1595-1629), who are held both in touch with Italy and contribute to the elaboration of the German "height - baroque". From the second half of the XVIIE Century, catholic Bavaria becomes the place of the development of a style the particular baroque which explains itself by the membership of his various sovereigns in the Italian art, and by the development of the Jesuit movement which spreads from the beginning of the XVIIE Century in the European regions lining the Danube. But it is even more the XVIIIE That the baroque, then the Rococo, mark an extraordinary development, notably in architecture, in sculpture and in the decorative arts. The religious architecture of the Germanic countries and, in a lesser measure, the civil architecture know an unprecedented development in which the influence of the French "classic" art is obvious.

In Bavaria, the art and the architecture are supported by the Électeur Maximilien Maximilien Emmanuel ( 1622-1726 ) . Between 1680 and 1750, personalities of emergent foreground. Dominikus Zimmermann ( 1685-1766 ) signs one of the masterpieces of the art the baroque in Europe, the church of Wies's pilgrimage (1746-v. On 1756). The building is of an oval, brilliant structure, a sensational polychromatic decoration. The brother Cosmas Damian Asam ( 1686-1739 ) and Egid Quirin Asam ( 1692-1750 ), respectively painter and sculptor, also make architects' work for famous church from Saint-Jean-Népomucène to Munich ( 1733-1746 ). It is again necessary to quote Johann Michael Fischer ( 1691-1766 ), architect of Ottobeuren's ( 1737-1766 ) abbey church. The baroque, then the Rococo, which they contributed to build in Bavaria, reached a very high quality and spread in nearby Souabe.

Austria sheltered a home(foyer) the due very active baroque, mainly , in the Jesuit reconquest in the Eastern Europe and in the influence organized by Germany. Vienna covers itself with spectacular palaces built by Fischer von Erlach and Hildebrandt, and with abbeys built by Jakob Prandtauer ( 1660-1726 ). It is for this last one, brilliant self-taught, that one owes the restoration of the abbey Benedictine of Melk, become thanks to him one of the jewels of the art the Austrian baroque. The Highlight of prince Eugène ( 1718-1721 ), doubtless the most surprising work of the sculptor Balthasar Permoser ( 1651-1732 ), could illustrate the Austrian baroque of time.

More in the North, Prussia opened in the baroque with Schlüter, sculptor and architect, follower of the Bernin. The castle of Without Concern in Potsdam, work of several architects of whom Georg Knobelsdorff ( 1699-1753 ), constitutes one of the most elegant examples of the Prussian baroque.

The baroque ended with the preromanticism. In the space of two centuries, it crossed Europe. It prefigures, in its way, what will become Europe modern, at the same moment carried towards the unification, at the same moment worried of preserving its antagonisms.


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