Amanda Blanchette DePaul School for New Learning


The term Baroque is rooted in the Portugese word ³Barocco´ which translates to µa pearl or irregular form¶. The Baroque period began around 1600. It was a movement started by the Catholic Church at the Council of Trent. The movement aimed to create emotions while looking at religious artwork. Artwork done during this period aimed at the senses. The Baroque period had a flare for the dramatics. Artists painted with great intensity, individualism and detail. They painted with wonderful texture of skin and cloth. They mastered the effects of light and shadow. They painted poses based on contrapposto, or counterpoise. This type of pose gave great movement. Contrapposto is when most of the weight of a person¶s body rests on one foot. This allows the shoulders and arms to twist off-axis from the hips and legs. This type of position allows the artist

to create a more dynamic appearance. It also has the ability to show tension in the body. The Baroque period was a time for great advances in art of all types. Music and architecture flourished during the Baroque period. Scuptures became more expressionful. Architecture was given more ornamentation. Even the music of this time was given to far more ornamentation and flourish. Famous musicians during this time included Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, and George Frideric Handel. Nearly all art of all forms were alive with excess, flourish and grandeur during the Baroque period. Many people are familiar with the famous male artists of the Baroque period. Italian artist, Michelangelo Merisi-Caravaggio ,was a very famous Baroque painter . His best known work is The Conversion on the Way to Damascus (image on the right).

Other well-known artists of the Baroque period include Nicolas Poussin, Diego Velazquez and Jan Vermeer. Perhaps the best know of all Baroque artists is Rembrandt. Rembrandt is known for his many self portraits. During his life he completed more than 90. Another interesting Baroque artist was Italian artist, Annibale Carracci. His range

of works included The Beaneater, Self Portrait and The Crucifixtion. While many male Baroque artists are quite well-known, there were a great deal of talented women artists of this period that are often overlooked. Many of the women artists of this time came from families with an artist in them (similar to the Renaissance). Such women artists include Louisa Roldan whose father was famous sculpturer, Pedro Roldan. Saint Gines de la Jara is a sculpture featured in this exhibit by Louisa Roldan. It is located in the µBaroque Portraits Gallery¶. Also in the portrait gallery hangs three oval miniatures by Susan Penelope Rosse. Her father was a famous miniaturist as well. His name was Richard Gibson. Other women artists influenced by their fathers include Elisabeth Sophie Cheron (father, Henri Cheron), Elisabetta Sirani (father Giovanni Andrea Sirani) and Louise Moillon (step-father, Francois Garnier). Women Baroque artists gave the women that they painted a conscious. They made their women subjects far more involved than they had been portrayed as in the past. Women of the Baroque era were also key in the increased appearance and importance of still-life works. This type of artistry was especially lead by the women of the Netherlands. In the ³Baroque Still Life Gallery´ viewers will find works by Louise Moillon. Moillon is notable for her use of brilliant colors. Rachel Ruysch is featured twice in this gallery. Her still-life paintings of flowers are dramatic and a

wonderful example of still-life Baroque art. Other artists in the gallery include Maria van Oosterwyck, Clara Peeters, Giovanna Garzoni, and Maria Sibylla Merian. Maria Sibylla Merian¶s work focused on botany and natural life. The National Museum of Women in the Arts houses fifteen plates by Maria Sibylla Merian. They are all from ³Dissertation in Insect Generations and Metamorphisis in Surinam´ by the artist. All are on display in the gallery of still-life Baroque works.

Plate 7 by Merian

America by Carriera

The ³Baroque Portraits´ gallery features works by Anne Killigrew, Rosalba Carriera, Judith Leyster, and Mary Beale. There are four works on display

by Elisabetta Sirani. Sirani was an Italian artist. Not only did she paint, but she was a gifted musician and poet as well. Her subjects matters were mainly historical and religious. Three of the four works in the exhibit are of a religious nature. Susan Penelope Rosse¶s three miniature ovals hang in this gallery. This gallery also houses the above mentioned sculpture by Roldan.

Venus Attired by the 3 Graces by Killigrew

The third, and final gallery of the exhibit is dedicated entirely to Artemisia Gentileschi. Another woman Baroque artist that gained much of her skill with the aid of her father, Orazio Gentileschi, Artemisia lead an often challeging life. She worked out many of her trials and tribulations through her work. Artemisia Gentileschi was an Italian artist that lived between 1593-1656. Her works are typically very powerful. Often times they depict

strong and determined women. Five of the six paintings in the Artemisia Gentileschi Gallery are depicting the biblical story of Judith decapitating Holofernes.

Judith Slaying Holofernes (Uffizi version) by Gentileschi

Judith was a noble Jewish widdow. She lived in a town besieged by General Holofernes of the Assyrian Army. Judith one evening went to Holoferne¶s tent. Acting seductively, she was invited in for food and wine. When Holofernes was drunk enough Judith seized the opportunity and beheaded him with the help of her maidservant. Keeping the decapitated head as a trophy of sorts, she then fled the scene. The paintings depicting this scene are gruesome and highly dramatic. However, they feature a highly powerful woman taking matters into her own hands. Because of the difficulties that she was going through, it is easy to

see how Artemisia found painting these depictions cathartic. Also in this gallery is a self portrait of the artist. Near the self portrait is an informational board with further insight and history of Ms. Gentileschi. This exhibit was created to sing the praises of the µun-sung¶. Throughout the years women artists were, most of the time, under appreciated. Many masterful women artists of the Meieval period, Renaissance and Baroque periods went barely noticed. Much of the time their work was credited to male artists. It is important to give credit to the female artists of the Baroque. Without them women might still be depicted as mindless muses, simply weeping women and pretty faces.

Self Portrait by Judith Leyster, 1633

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