History of Art Through the Art Institute - Baroque Art

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Baroque Art Baroque art is the expressive style most closely associated with the seventeenth century. The term itself comes from the Portuguese word barroco, referring to an irregular pearl; it means contorted, even grotesque, and was intended as a disparaging description of the grand, turbulent, dynamic, overwhelming style of seventeenth-century art. The desire to evoke emotional states by appealing to the senses and to persuade, often in dramatic ways, underlies Baroque art. Some of the qualities that characterize the Baroque are grandeur, sensual richness, emotional exuberance, tension, movement, and the successful unification of the various arts. The expansive, expressive quality of the Baroque paralleled the true expansion of European influence geographical, political and religious throughout the seventeenth century. The Baroque has been called a style of persuasion, as the Catholic Church attempted to use art to speak to the faithful and to express the spirit of the Counter-Reformation. Around 1600, Rome became the fountainhead of the Baroque, as it had of the High Renaissance a century before, by attracting artists from other regions. The papacy and many of the new Church orders as well as numerous private patrons from wealthy and influential families commissioned art on a large scale, with the aim of promoting themselves and making Rome the most beautiful city in the Christian world for the greater glory of God and the Church. ARCHITECTURE IN ITALY The Baroque style in architecture, like that of painting, began in Rome, which was a vast construction site from the end of the sixteenth through the middle of the seventeenth century. The goals of the Counter-Reformation caused the Church to embark on a major building campaign. New churches were constructed and the new St. Peter s was finally completed. Although many of these building projects began

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