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Definition: What Is Baroque Art?

Autor:   •  March 30, 2011  •  Case Study  •  1,469 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,631 Views

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Apollo and Daphne (1622-25)

by Bernini, the greatest of

all Baroque sculptors

and architects.


For a guide to architectural design

during the 17th century, see:

Baroque Architecture.

Definition: What is Baroque Art?

In fine art, the term Baroque (derived from the Portuguese 'barocco' meaning, 'irregular pearl or stone') describes a fairly complex idiom, originating in Rome, which flowered during the period c.1590-1720, and which embraced painting, and sculpture as well as architecture. After the idealism of the Renaissance (c.1400-1530), and the slightly 'forced' nature of Mannerism (c.1530-1600), Baroque art above all reflected the religious tensions of the age - notably the desire of the Catholic Church in Rome (as annunciated at the Council of Trent, 1545-63) to reassert itself in the wake of the Protestant Reformation. Many Catholic Emperors and monarchs across Europe had an important stake in the Catholic Church's success, hence a large number of architectural designs, paintings and sculptures were commissioned by the Royal Courts of Spain, France, and elsewhere, in order to glorify their own divine grandeur, and in the process strengthen their political position. By comparison, Baroque art in Protestant areas like Holland had far less religious content, and instead was designed essentially to appeal to the growing aspirations and financial strength of the merchant and middle classes.


For a list of the Top 10 painters/

sculptors: Best Artists of All Time.

For the Top 300 oils, watercolours

see: Greatest Paintings Ever.

For the Top 100 works of sculpture

see: Greatest Sculptures Ever.


For a brief guide to this form

of Baroque painting and

sculpture, please see:

Female Nudes in Art History (Top 20)

Male Nudes in Art History (Top 10)

Styles/Types of Baroque Art

In order to fulfill its propagandist role, Catholic-inspired Baroque art tended to be large-scale works of public art, such as monumental wall-paintings and huge frescoes for the ceilings and vaults of palaces and churches. Baroque painting illustrated key elements


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