Baroque is all about grandeur, sensuous richness, drama, vitality, movement, tension, emotional exuberance, and a tendency to blur distinctions between the various arts. After all the Baroque style is characterized by an emphasis on unity among the Arts. This style originated in Rome and is associated with the Christian Paintings. The most distinctive characteristics of Baroque paintings are overt rhetoric and dynamic movement. It was designed to express the self-confidence and arrogance of the reinvigorated Catholic Church. It is however not exclusively associated with religious art, but certain aspects of it were distinctly church centric.
Baroque as a Painting style
Baroque was faithful to the themes of the its precedents: Paintings with Christian themes were still an integral part of it, but the patronage extended by the different monarchs to the more famous artists resulted in the execution of numerous royal portraits, as well as paintings of historical events. Depictions of court life were also a common theme. One can see in the best works of this period a superb elegance of gesture and a psychological profundity that are combined with artistic skills. Baroque is a style, which strikes the rare balance of beauty and vibrancy; it juxtaposes the perfection of the craft with the imperfection of the human race. The subtle irony of these paintings captivates its delighted audience and not viewers because Baroque is more about performance than brushstrokes.
The principal schools of this period were those of Seville and Madrid, the latter enjoying the patronage of the court. Initially, there were other important schools at Valencia, which maintained contact with Italy, and at Toledo, a training center for painters who later worked elsewhere.
Famous Baroque painters
Some of the most renowned and acclaimed Baroque artists are as follows
- Anthony Van Dyck
- Paul Rubens
- Claude Lorrain
- Agostino Carracci