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Related: 1600s - art

It wasn't until Heinrich Wölfflin published Renaissance und Barock (1888), that "Baroque" was perceived as a stylistic category and a serious area of study. [Apr 2006]

The appeal of Baroque style turned consciously from the witty, intellectual qualities of 16th century Mannerist art to a visceral appeal aimed at the senses. [Apr 2006]

The term Baroque was named during subsequent stylistic periods when the preceding style was unpopular. The word 'baroque' (probably) was used first in late 18th century French about the irregular natural pearl shape and later about an architectural style perceived to be 'irregular' in comparison to the highly regular Neoclassical architecture of that time. Subsequently the term has become purely descriptive, and has largely lost its negative connotations. The term 'Baroque' as applied to art (for example Rubens) refers to a much earlier historical period than when applied to music (Händel, Bach). This reflects the difference between stylistic histories internal to an art form and the external chronological history beyond it. [Apr 2006]

Boreas Abducting Orithyia (1615) - Rubens


The Baroque, a cultural movement in European art, originated around 1600 in Rome. The Council of Trent (1545–63), in which the Roman Catholic Church answered many questions of internal reform, addressed the representational arts by demanding that paintings and sculptures in church contexts should speak to the illiterate rather than to the well-informed. This turn toward a populist conception of the function of ecclesiastical art is seen by many art historians as driving the innovations of Caravaggio and the Carracci brothers, all of whom were working (and competing for commissions) in Rome around 1600.

The appeal of Baroque style turned consciously from the witty, intellectual qualities of 16th century Mannerist art to a visceral appeal aimed at the senses. It employed an iconography that was direct, simple, obvious, and theatrical. Baroque art drew on certain broad and heroic tendencies in Annibale Caracci and his circle, and found inspiration in other artists like Correggio and Caravaggio and Federico Barocci (illustration, left), nowadays sometimes termed 'proto-Baroque'. Germinal ideas of the Baroque can also be found in Michelangelo. Some general parallels in music make the expression "Baroque music" useful: there are contrasting phrase lengths, harmony and counterpoint have ousted polyphony, and orchestral color makes a stronger appearance. See the entry Baroque music. Even more generalized parallels perceived by some experts in philosophy, prose style and poetry, are harder to pinpoint.

Though Baroque is superceded in many centers by the Rococo style, beginning in France in the late 1720s, especially for interiors, paintings and the decorative arts, Baroque architecture remained a viable style until the advent of Neoclassicism in the later 18th century. See the Neapolitan palace of Caserta, a Baroque palace (though in a chaste exterior) that was not even begun until 1752. Critics have given up talking about a "Baroque period".

In paintings Baroque gestures are broader than Mannerist gestures: less ambiguous, less arcane and mysterious, more like the stage gestures of opera, a major Baroque artform. Baroque poses depend on contrapposto ("counterpoise"), the tension within the figures that move the planes of shoulders and hips in counterdirections. See Benini's David (below, left).

The dryer, less dramatic and coloristic, chastened later stages of 18th century Baroque architectural style are often seen as a separate Late Baroque manifestation. See the entry Claude Perrault. Academic characteristics in the neo-Palladian style, epitomized by William Kent, are a parallel development in Britain and the British colonies.

The Baroque was defined by Heinrich Wölfflin as the age where the oval replaced the circle as the center of composition, that centralization replaced balance, and that coloristic and "painterly" effects began to become more prominent. Art historians, often Protestant ones, have traditionally emphasized that the Baroque style evolved during a time in which the Roman Catholic Church had to react against the many revolutionary cultural movements that produced a new science and new forms of religion— Reformation. It has been said that the monumental Baroque is a style that could give the Papacy, like secular absolute monarchies, a formal, imposing way of expression that could restore its prestige, at the point of becoming somehow symbolic of the Counter-Reformation.

Whether this is the case or not, it was successfully developed in Rome, where Baroque architecture widely renewed the central areas with perhaps the most important urbanistic revision. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baroque [Oct 2004]

Baroque and Rococo Pictorial Imagery (1593) - Cesare Ripa

Baroque and Rococo Pictorial Imagery: The 1758-1760 Hertel Edition of Ripa's Iconologia with 200 Engraved Illustrations (1593) - Cesare Ripa
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Great 1593 work codified and developed symbolism of baroque and rococo periods. This royalty-free volume reprints 200 plates from rare 18th-century edition, Hertel’s Historiae et Allegoriae, with English translations of the German and Latin captions, and full descriptions, interpretations and analyses of Ripa’s work.

Cesare Ripa was a 16th-century Italian aesthetician and author of the Iconologia (or in full : Iconologia overo Descrittione Dell’imagini Universali cavate dall’Antichità et da altri luoghi) (Rome, 1593), an influential emblem book.

This book would influence several artists, among them the baroque painter Antonio Cavallucci, whose inspiration for his painting Origin of Music was drawn from this book. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cesare_Ripa [Oct 2006]

Emblem books are a particular style of illustrated book developed in Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries, normally containing about one hundred picture/text combinations.

Each combination consisted of a woodcut or engraving (emblems) accompanied by one or more short texts, intended to inspire their readers to reflect on a general moral lesson derived from the reading of both picture and text together. The picture was potentially subject to numerous interpretations: only by reading the text could a reader be certain which meaning was intended by the author.

Emblem books, both secular and religious, attained enormous popularity throughout continental Europe, though in Britain they never captured the imagination of readers to the same extent. The books were especially numerous in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and France. Andrea Alciato wrote the epigrams contained in the first and most widely disseminated emblem book, the Emblemata, published by Heinrich Steyner in 1531 in Augsburg. Another influential emblem book was Cesare Ripa's Iconologia, first published in 1593. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emblem_book [Oct 2006]

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