Photograph by Noah Scalinon Flickr.
As opposed to Renaissance art, painting which usually showed the moment before an event took place, Baroque artists chose the most dramatic point, the moment when the action was occurring: Michelangelo, working in the High Renaissance, shows his David composed and still before he battles Goliath; Nighthawks Bernini s baroque David is caught in the act of hurling the stone at the giant. The Flemish painter Antony Van Dyck developed a graceful but imposing portrait style that was very influential, especially in England. The prosperity of 17th century Holland led to an enormous production of art by large numbers of painters who were mostly highly specialized and painted only genre scenes, landscapes, Still-lifes, portraits or History paintings.
Others derive it from the mnemonic term Baroco denoting, in logical Scholastica, a supposedly laboured form of syllogism. He did not make the distinctions between Mannerism and Baroque that modern writers do, and he ignored the later phase, the academic Baroque that lasted into the 18th century.
His realistic approach to the human figure, painted directly from life and dramatically spotlit against a dark background, shocked his contemporaries and opened a new chapter in the history of painting. Baroque art was meant to evoke emotion and passion instead of the calm rationality that had been prized during the Renaissance. Among the greatest painters of the Baroque period are Caravaggio, Caravaggio is an heir of the humanist painting of the High Renaissance.
However, although religious painting, history painting, allegories, and portraits were still considered the most noble subjects, landscape, still life, and genre scenes were also becoming more common in Catholic countries, and were the main genres in Protestant ones. The term Baroque was initially used with a derogatory meaning, to underline the excesses of its emphasis. 1636, National Gallery, London Nicolas Poussin, The Rape of the Sabine Women, 1637–38, Louvre, Paris José de Ribera, Martyrdom of St Philip, 1639, Prado, Madrid Salvator Rosa, Self-portrait, Of Silence and Speech, Silence is better, 1640, National Gallery, London Diego Velázquez, The surrender of Breda, 1635, oil on canvas, Museo del Prado, Madrid Claude Lorrain, The Embarkation of the Queen of Sheba, 1648, 149 × 194 cm., National Gallery, London Diego Velazquez, Las Meninas, 1656–57, oil on canvas, 318 x 276 cm, Museo del Prado, Madrid Rembrandt van Rijn, The Syndics of the Clothmaker s Guild, 1662, oil on canvas, 191.5 × 279 cm., 75.4 × 109.8 inches, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam Jan Vermeer, The Allegory of Painting or The Art of Painting, 1666–67, 130 x 110 cm., Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna .
Baroque art is characterized by great drama, rich, deep color, and intense light and dark shadows. It was first rehabilitated by the Swiss-born art historian, Heinrich Wölfflin (1864–1945) in his Renaissance und Barock (1888); Wölfflin identified the Baroque as movement imported into mass, an art antithetic to Renaissance art.
This return 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, although unlike the Carracci, Caravaggio persistently was criticised for lack of decorum in his work. In particular, the term was used to describe its eccentric redundancy and noisy abundance of details, which sharply contrasted the clear and sober rationality of the Renaissance.
Flemish Baroque painting shared a part in this trend, while also continuing to produce the traditional categories. Caravaggio, Bacchus, c.1595, Oil on canvas, 95 x 85 cm., Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence Artemesia Gentileschi, Judith Slaying Holofernes, 1614–20, oil on canvas, 199 x 162 cm Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence Frans Hals Gypsy Girl, 1628–30, oil on wood, 58 x 52 cm., Musée du Louvre, Paris Peter Paul Rubens, Judgement of Paris, c. This was subsequently interpreted and expounded by a number of clerical authors like Molanus, who demanded that paintings and sculptures in church contexts should depict their subjects clearly and powerfully, and with decorum, without the stylistic airs of Mannerism.
Writers in French and English did not begin to treat Baroque as a respectable study until Wölfflin s influence had made German scholarship pre-eminent. A rather different art developed out of northern realist traditions in 17th century Dutch Golden Age painting, which had very little religious art, and little history painting, instead playing a crucial part in developing secular genres such as still life, genre paintings of everyday scenes, and landscape painting. The movement is often identified with Absolutism, the Counter Reformation and Catholic Revival, Most important and major painting during the period beginning around 1600 and continuing throughout the 17th century, and into the early 18th century is identified today as Baroque painting.
Baroque painting often dramatizes scenes using chiaroscuro light effects; this can be seen in works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Le Nain and La Tour. Technical standards were very high, and Dutch Golden Age painting established a new repertoire of subjects that was very influential until the arrival of Modernism. The Council of Trent (1545–63), in which the Roman Catholic Church answered many questions of internal reform raised by both Protestants and by those who had remained inside the Catholic Church, addressed the representational arts in a short and somewhat oblique passage in its decrees.