Baroque 1600 ( 17th – 18th Century )

The baroque style was born in Italy and spread throughout all of Europe. It was divided into three periods: Early Baroque, High Baroque, Late Baroque.

Baroque angel detail
Baroque angel detail

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/9bb7a0bf-9617-43a0-b7bd-f2c96ac0c012  by Leandro’s World Tour

 

The origin of the term

The term Baroque derived from Italian barocco, which philosophers used in the Middle Ages to describe errors in logic schemes. Later on, the word came to denote any contorted idea or complicated thoughts. Another possible origin of this word comes from the Portuguese barroco (Spanish barrueco), used to talk about an imperfectly shaped pearl. This way of using this word still survives in the jeweler’s term baroque pearl.

Baroque Console
Baroque Console

Image source: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/209244?searchField=All&sortBy=Relevance&ft=Baroque+Console&offset=0&rpp=20&pos=1

Architecture

Baroque architects conceived buildings as a single mass to be shaped according to particular requirements. On the facade elements like columns and pilasters are linked in various ways to the center. The facade looks divided horizontally, it is organized vertically. St. Peter in Vatican City is an important example of this style. It was finished in 1615 under Paul V. It is was projected with a three-aisled Latin cross with a dome at the crossing, above the altar covering the shrine of St. Peter the Apostle. The edifice is a key pilgrimage site.

Saint Peter's Square in Vatican (2006-05-036)
Saint Peter’s Square in Vatican

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/14f51788-cfc4-461b-a760-acb07ee0e18b by Argenberg

The interior of St. Peter’s features masterpieces from the Renaissance period and Baroque art. The most famous are Michelangelo’s Pietà, the baldachin made by Bernini over the main altar. The tomb of Urban VIII and the cathedra of St. Peter in the apse are considered relevant too.

File:0 Baldaquin et chœur de Gian Lorenzo Bernini - Basilique St-Pierre - Vatican (1).JPG
St. Peter Baldachin in St. Peter’s Basilica, 1623 – 1634

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/ef15b7e5-4717-4e5f-a408-ee9e4a58f76a by Jean-Pol GRANDMONT

 

Baroque Design Characteristics

Like all other styles Baroque has its features:

  • Gilded frames were very used many times in paintings and mirrors and usually featured several cartouches, carved flowers, and sculpted figures.
  • Italian furniture of this period featured raised lids, often were decorated with carved leaves and figures.
Cassone, Walnut, partially carved, traces of gilding and polychrome; iron hardware., Italian (Siena or Rome?)
Italian cassone- Walnut, partially carved, traces of gilding and polychrome; iron hardware., Italian

Image source: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/460493?searchField=All&sortBy=Relevance&ft=Italian+Baroque+cassone&offset=0&rpp=20&pos=7

  • Decorations were sumptuous. Carved wood was often gilded with gold or bronze, and legs for example in tables were caryatids or muscular figures, made to show up as if they were sustaining the marble slab put on top.
Bookcase (one of a pair), Design attributed to the architect Niccolo Michetti (Italian, died 1759), Walnut and poplar; iron hinges and locks, metal wire; antique silk and linen brocatelle door curtains (not original), Italian, Rome
Bookcase (one of a pair), Design attributed to the architect Niccolo Michetti (Italian, died 1759), Walnut and poplar; iron hinges and locks, metal wire; antique silk and linen brocatelle door curtains (not original), Italian, Rome

Image source: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/236757?searchField=All&sortBy=Relevance&ft=Baroque+Venetian+Console&offset=0&rpp=20&pos=20

  • Segments and strapwork were used and were also included new key characteristics such as pilasters, panels forming arches, and pietra dura designs. Many religious or mythological themes were painted inside the panels to improve the decorations of the object.
Baroque cabinet with gobelets
Baroque cabinet with gobelets

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/09540eb9-bcd8-408f-b7c5-30d78ed16434 by quinet

  • Commodes, for example, were made of walnut or oak, pearl, jewels, and ivory, to form up allegorical stories. They were decorated, most of the times with angels, animals, leaves. They were also called lion commodes due to their feet at the bottom of the drawer recalling the animal.
Commode, Bernard III van Risamburgh (ca. 1731–1800), Oak; Japanese black-and-gold lacquer and ebony veneer, gilt bronze; brèche d’Alep marble top, French, Paris
Commode ca. 1765–70 – Bernard III van Risamburgh – Oak; Japanese black-and-gold lacquer and ebony veneer, gilt bronze; brèche d’Alep marble top, French, Paris

Image source: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/202224?searchField=All&sortBy=Relevance&ft=Baroque+furniture+commode&offset=0&rpp=20&pos=16

  • Tables varied greatly during the period but were usually made of gilded wood, oak, or walnut. Large tables were elonged, rich, and grandiloquent, while smaller ones were ornate and featured carved geometrical forms.
Table, Walnut, maple, carved, turned, inlaid, and stained., Italian and  American
High Baroque Table- Walnut, maple, carved, turned, inlaid, and stained., Italian and American

Image source: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/460608?searchField=All&sortBy=Relevance&ft=High+Baroque+Table&offset=0&rpp=20&pos=5

 

Baroque Sculpture

The Cornaro Chapel is a famous Baroque Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome. It houses one of Bernini’s most ambitious masterpieces: The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa. It represents a mini-theatre. Illumination comes from a hidden window at the rear of the altar. Divine light descends upon the agitated Teresa at the apex of her spiritual ecstasy. Sculpted in white marble, she is surrounded by gilt bronze representing the divine light.

'Saint Theresa's ecstasy' (1644-1652) by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (Naples 1598-Rome 1680) - Santa Maria della Vittoria Church in Rome
‘Saint Theresa’s ecstasy’ (1644-1652) by Gian Lorenzo Bernini – Santa Maria della Vittoria Church in Rome

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/03656560-b0ec-4433-966e-6f72a20a489a by Carlo Raso


Info source:

https://www.britannica.com/art/Baroque-art-and-architecture

http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/history-of-art/baroque-architecture.htm

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Saint-Peters-Basilica

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_Baroque_interior_design

http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/sculpture/baroque-sculpture.htm#sculptures