The Baroque
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The Baroque (and Rococo) 1600-1750 Action Passion Healthy Eaters. Counter Reformation was over- Catholic Church was strong again-Protestantism was on the defensive Countries at war (30 Year’s War, Hapsburg empire) Secularization of gov’t

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The Baroque (and Rococo) 1600-1750

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The Baroque

(and Rococo)


  • Action

  • Passion

  • Healthy Eaters.

  • Counter Reformation was over- Catholic Church was strong again-Protestantism was on the defensive

  • Countries at war (30 Year’s War, Hapsburg empire)

  • Secularization of gov’t

  • Worldwide markets (coffee, tea)-private wealth-buy more art!

  • Baroque artists were far removed from science and technology unlike during the Renaissance (too complicated)

  • Affected by the absolutist states (France, Germany, England)

  • Rome became Baroque art’s center- Popes were still largest patrons (aimed to make Rome the most beautiful city of Christendom)-ambitious artists flocked to Rome for commissions


  • 1571-1610

  • Remote from both Mannerism and Renaissance

  • New form of art called “Naturalism”- a sacred scene painted in contemporary low life

  • Story of Matthew the tax collector-figure on the far right is Jesus

  • Light is both natural and charged with symbolic meaning

  • Religious monumentalism would appeal to both Catholics and Protestants (later became Rembrandt’s influence)

Caravaggio, The Calling of St. Matthew, 1599-1602

  • Strong Light, action-packed paintings

Caravaggio, Judith, early 17th C.

  • Born into an artistic family which gave her an advantage over other women artists

  • Became one of the leading painters and personalities of her day

  • Subject of Judith popular during Baroque- violent and erotic scene

  • Immortalizes feminine courage

  • Very theatrical, mysterious light

  • Complex composition

Artemesia Genteleschi, Judith and Maidservant, 1625

  • Became so famous, that it was considered second only to Michelangelo and Raphael

  • Intricate narrative scenes surrounded by architecture

  • Subject matter is the loves of the classical gods

  • Color is based on the Venetians

  • Balance of studies from life with a revival of the classics (including the Renaissance masters)

  • Revived interest in illusion

Carracci, Palazzo Farnese, Rome, 1597-1601

Carracci, Landscape with the Flight into Egypt, 1603

  • Pastoral mood and soft light are influenced by Titian

  • Figures are almost inconspicuous -like northern painters (Breugal)

  • Early example of the ideal lasndscape

  • Ceiling Frescos became more and more popular- done mostly for patrons

  • Illusionistic-shows the sky behind the regular architectural scheme

  • Some figures are closer to the viewer and some are farther away in the sky

Cortona, Glorification of the Reign of Urban the VIII, 1633-39

  • The decoration of the interior of St. Peters was a difficult task- to relate a vast space to a human scale

  • Task fell to Bernini (1598-1680) who worked on St. Peters throughout his career

Interior, St. Peters, showing Bernini’s Throne

  • Bernini’s David and Michelangelo’s David have the same relationship as classical and Hellenistic sculpture-each drew inspiration from a different part of antiquity

  • Bernini shares the Hellenistic view of unison of body and spirit, motion and emotion

  • Implied presence of Goliath-the negative space is owned by the sculpture

  • During the Baroque, sculpture merged with painting and architecture like in no other time period before

Bernini, David, 1623

  • Sensuous visual experience

  • Shows the moment where St. Teresa is pierced by an angel’s arrow and felt both emotional pain and sweetness at the same time

  • Because of the lighting, the sculpture looks visionary

  • Some outside (from above) force is blowing their clothing

  • Sculpture is connected in this way to a fresco directly above it

Bernini, The Ecstasy of St. Teresa, 1645-52

  • In the Choir of St. Peters

  • Focus is a burst of heavenly light that propels all the figures towards the viewer

Bernini, Throne of St. Peters, 1657-66

  • Francesco Borromini- the role of the tortured artist- died by suicide

  • Very complex and extravagant structures-dynamic and complex

  • Play of concave and convex surfaces makes structure seem pulled apart

  • Merges architecture and sculpture

  • Plan is like a half-melted cross

  • Combines Renaissance and Medieval structures

Borromini, S. Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, 1665-67

  • Great architect of late Baroque

  • Central European (Vienna)

  • Pantheon-like portico, columns should look familiar to you!!

  • The power of the Christian faith to absorb and change the splendors of ancient art

Von Erlach, St. Charles Borromaeus, 1716-37

  • Baroque in Flanders (the Spanish Netherlands)

  • Peter Paul Rubens 1577-1640

  • Helped to break down artistic barriers between north and south

  • Studied art of the High Renaissance

  • Artist of major influence and education-court advisor to Spanish regent in Flanders

  • Altarpiece

  • Muscular figures of Italian art, lighting reflect Caravaggio

  • Definitely a Flemish realist

  • Tremendous dramatic force-almost bursts through the picture plane

Rubens, The Raising of the Cross, 1609-10

  • In the Luxembourg Palace in Paris

  • Popularity of spectacle and wealth

  • Not a very exciting event, but Rubens has made it so-Neptune rises from the sea (has protected her on her journey)

  • Used oil sketches to prepare for his paintings- this was an important legacy for future artists

Rubens, Marie de-Medici, Queen of France, Landing in Marseilles, 1622-23

  • The Utrecht School-Baroque came to Holland through Rubens

  • Utrecht was a Catholic city- most artists traveled to Rome-

  • Influenced by Caravaggio

  • Franz Hals 1580-1666-great portrait painter

  • Spontaneity- twinkling eyes, SMILE!

  • Worked in dashing brushstrokes-immediacy of design but spent a long time (lifesize!)

Franz Hals, The Laughing Cavalier, 1630

  • Follower of Hals

  • Poetic quality of life

  • Celebration of self

Leyster, Self Portrait, 1630

  • Art effected by Caravaggio-sharply lit

  • Painted mostly Old Testament scenes at first and was a well-sought-after portrait painter

  • Night Watch- a group portrait-Some people say that people were angry for being portrayed in shadow so he lost popular opinion-had financial difficulties

Rembrandt, The Night Watch, 1642

  • Did many self portraits- always reflects the view of himself and his inner development

  • Influenced by Titian and Van Eyke

  • Use of light- hallmark of style

Rembrandt, Self Portrait, 1658

  • Most art buyers preferred landscapes and still lifes

  • Vanitas, Vanitas!- all is vanity

  • disguised symbolism is back!!!

  • The passing of all earthly pleasures

Willem Claesz Heda, Still Life 1634

  • Jan Vermeer- master of the genre paintings- but no narrative

  • Usually solitary, usually women-almost like still-lifes

  • Light always filters in from an implied window-everyday world seems fresh and new

  • Made up of rectangles, no undefined empty spaces

  • Know very little about his life- died when he was 43, lived in Delft

  • Genius not recognized until 100 years ago

Vermeer, Girl in Blue Reading a Letter, 1663-64

  • Baroque in Spain---did not happen natively, but through the spread of ideas from Italy and the Netherlands

  • Caravaggio-esque, but focused more on genre scenes

  • This was done at the age of 20

  • Moved to Madrid and became court painter- portraits of the royal family

Velasquez, The Water Carrier of Seville, c.1619

  • Valazquez’s style at its fullest- a self portrait, a group portrait and a genre scene

  • Mirror in the back of the room- is it on the canvas or behind?

  • Fascination with light and its optical mysteries-reflected and direct

  • Light creates the visual world

Velazquez, The Maids of Honor, 1656

  • France was the most powerful state in Europe- culturally too!

  • Art center changed from Rome to Paris because of large projects (Versailles)

  • Also called “Style of Loius XIV” or the “Classic” style- links to other high points in culture

  • De La Tour- oriented towards Caravaggio- both a religious and genre scene- intimate and tender

De La Tour, Joseph the Carpenter, 1645

  • Classicism reigned supreme

  • Earliest French painter in history to gain international fame

  • Freezes action, like statues, Roman architecture in the background

  • Shows emotion but doesn’t touch the viewer

  • Logical and serious

  • Thought that the viewer should be able to “read” the exact emotions of each figure

  • Not very accessible

Poussin, The Rape of the Sabine Women, 1636-37

Perrault, Louvre, 1667-70

  • All art had to be made to glorify the king- very restrictive “royal” style

  • Design meant to link the king with Roman emperors-Roman temple front -ground floor serves as the podium

  • Showed victory of French “royal” style over Italian classicism

Lebrun, Hall of Mirrors, Palace of Versailles, 1678

  • Louis XIV interested in lavish interiors rather than the exterior

  • Entire interior decorated by Lebrun, a painter-became the dictator of the arts in France

  • All art became for the glorification of the king- reflects Italian Baroque style (ceilings)

Louis Le Vau, Hardouin Mansart, Palace of Versailles, 1669-85

  • Design grew and grew to accommodate the royal family’s wishes

  • Garden is most impressive aspect of the palace-meant to serve as the background for the King’s official appearances

  • Royal Academy- new system of educating artists founded in 1648-very rigid- had a grading system for all artists including past-Greeks came first, then Raphael-Flemish ranked low

  • Produced no significant artists!

  • Became an argument over drawing v. color (Poussinistes V. Rubenistes)

  • educated v. lay

Watteau, Delights of Life, 1717

  • Watteau was a Rubeniste-violates all academy canons

  • Admitted to the academy anyway because it had lost a lot of clout by this time

  • Slim and graceful rather than round like Rubens

  • Rococo Style- after the death of Louis XIV, people became less centralized- art made for interiors and private collection

  • Means “playful decoration”

  • Fragonard sensual in style and subject, lacks emotional depth, graceful

  • Style ends with the Revolution

Fragonard, The Bolt, 1778

Chardin, Still life, c.1731

  • Rubenistes cleared way for revival of Dutch painting-Chardin is a master

  • Sense of spatial order- each object seems very important-respect for everyday objects- symbols, but not religious- everyday people

  • Sir Christopher Wren- Very intellectual -like a Renaissance man but no apparent direct link between his scientific and artistic ideas

  • design classical in nature

  • Great fire of London in 1666 destroyed the old St. Paul’s

  • Named to the Royal commission for rebuilding the city

  • Effected by the design for the Louvre

  • Wanted it to be the St. Peters of England

Wren, St. Paul’s Cathedra, 1675-1710l

Hogarth, The Rake’s Progress, c. 1734

  • England never accepted Rococo style- became the object of satire

  • English painting became more important than it had been since the Middle Ages

  • William Hogarth was a “Dramatist”-paintings and prints came in sets-morality plays that espoused middle class virtues- very narrative in nature

  • Portraiture was constant source of income for English painters- Gainsborough became a master at this-a a favorite of high society

  • Cool elegance

  • Rubenesque technique

  • Enlightenment- painting must include both nature and art- Hume’s “Natural Man”- free of excessive pride or humility

Thomas Gainsborough, Blue Boy

  • Great rival of Gainsborough

  • Believed in the French Academy’s academic approach

  • Had his own written art rules

  • Painted allegorical portraits

  • Rembrandt-like lighting

  • Unlike Gainsborough, Reynolds believed that art must conform to the example of poetry, be it epic or tragic (Horace)

  • Borrowed poses from antiquity to elevate the individual to a universal type

Sir Joshua Reynolds, Mrs. Siddon as the Tragic Muse, 1784

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