Background Information

The baroque movement started in Europe in the 1600s. It was encouraged by the Catholic Church, which was very influential at the time. This was an effort to return to tradition and spirituality. It is less complex and more realistic than Mannerism. Baroque has also been described as a "weapon for the church".

Famous Baroque Artists

One of the great periods of art history, Baroque Art was developed by Caravaggio, Annibale Carracci, and Gianlorenzo Bernini, among others. This was also the age of Rubens, Rembrandt, Velázquez, and Vermeer.

With all his fondness for pretty things, Rembrandt never allowed his fancy to carry him beyond the limits of fitness in sacred art. The Venetian masters had represented the most solemn scenes of the New Testament with a pomp and magnificence entirely at variance with their meaning. Rembrandt understood better the real significance of Christianity, and made no such mistake

Velasquez painted religious pictures like the Adoration of the Shepard's and an Adoration of the Kings, a Christ Crucified and a Coronation of the Virgin. He painted landscapes, historical pictures, like the Surrender of Breda and ancient subjects like Los Borrachos and Smithy of Vulcan, Mars and Venus.

Vermeer was a master at capturing the moods of his subjects, from his atmospheric effects, the glory of his light, the sumptuous warmth of his domestic interior scenes, and the inexplicable sensuality of so many of his works in every genre. Vermeer is best known for the portrait of his maid, 'Girl with a Pearl Earring'.

Famous pieces from Baroque era

The aristocracy also saw the dramatic style of Baroque architecture as a means of impressing visitors and expressing triumph, power, and control.

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The Fall of Phaeton: Peter Paul Rubens

The mass of bodies form a diagonal oval in the center of the painting, separating dark and light sides of the canvas. Each figure is caught mid-movement, their bodies arranged to help the viewer’s travel continually around that oval. I really liked how it tells a story. He worked the color and shape really well too. It was interesting to see how he intertwined light into the background and shadowed the characters.