3º ESO

Topic Nine:

The Baroque

Baroque Style
Baroque is an art style that developed in approximately the XVII and XVII century. It is essentially characterized by irregularity and complexity. This style emerged as an aesthetic response to religious, political and economic circumstances of this period of time. In Catholic Europe, the church looked for an art (architecture, painting and sculpture) to serve as propaganda and defense of their religious principles. This is why the resulting works are so lavish, extravagant , fussy and overelaborate.

On the other hand, the art produced in the Protestant countries did not have the nature of indoctrination. The artworks were commissioned by the new bourgeoisie and reflected a feeling more intimate and everyday life, as seen, for example, in the paintings of Vermeer.
In any case, there are common characteristics of Baroque: • The movement and the curved shapes of the works of art. • Light and color to create shapes • Realism in the works, but seeking the emotion and surprise of the audience • Interest in the theatrical, in the stage and in the symbolism.

The main feature of the new style is the freedom with which architectural elements are used. Therefore, the buildings are extravagant and overelaborate. The plant of the buildings is usually circular or elliptical, and the façade played with the architectural forms to create light effects and shadow effects. We can mention two important baroque architects, whose works are in Rome. Bernini (1598-1680) and Borromini (1599-1667)

Borromini, San Carlo alle quattro fontane

Bernini, Piazza San Pietro and colonnades

Spanish Baroque Painting
Despite the social and economic crisis in Spain in the seventeenth century, this period can be considered as the Golden Age of Spanish painting. It is the time of a very technical and realistic art. Spanish painting has the typical characteristics of Baroque pictures: interest in the play of light, use of warm colors, and natural and complex compositions. Both the Catholic Church (eager to fight Protestantism) and the nobility, headed by the monarch, are the institutions that commission masterpieces to the great artists:

• Jose de Ribera shows a special interest in light (Tenebrism) and color:

El martirio de San Felipe.

Ribera, San Andres

• Francisco de Zurbaran evolved toward realism. His Still Lifes are very well known.
Zurbaran, Still Life

• Carreño and Claudio Coello were specialists in portraits.

Claudio Coello, Portrait of Carlos II

Special relevance must be given to the sevillian Esteban Bartolomé Murillo, whose religious painting and children's issues must be underlined. His mastery of painting technique is impressive.

Bartolome Esteban Murillo, The Young Beggar

Immaculate Conception

However, the most important figure of Spanish baroque painting, and perhaps of universal painting, was Diego Velazquez (1599-1660). Velazquez was a court painter (he painted for Felipe IV: Las Meninas), painter of historical subjects (La rendición de Breda) and painter of mythological themes (La fragua de Vulcano, El triunfo de Baco, Las hilanderas)

Velazquez, El triunfo de Baco

Velazquez excelled in the masterful use of aerial perspective, that is, the optical sensation of light flowing between objects and figures.

Velazquez, Las Meninas

Velazquez, La Rendición de Breda

Velazquez, Las Hilanderas

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