The Baroque was an art movement that used many different forms of art as propaganda for the church. These art forms include paintings, sculptures, architectural structure, and musical arts as well. The propagandistic art work was in favor of the Catholic Church. This movement originated in Italy in the early 1600s with the Council of Trent and influenced all of Europe. The Catholic Church was against Protestants and the art work during the baroque was response to the protestant reformation.
The arts during the baroque period in Italy, that the Catholic Churches would strongly encourage, were to give you an idea about communication of religious themes as well as emotional involvement. The dramatic appeal of the exquisite Baroque architecture and paintings were a way for the Catholic Churches to express power, wealth, and victory to the visitors as a way to impress visitors. Catholic-inspired Baroque art tended to be extensive works of public art, such as monumental wall-paintings and vast frescoes for the ceilings and vaults of palaces and churches, in order to accomplish its propagandist role.Order now
Baroque paintings illustrated key elements of Catholic belief, either directly in religious works or indirectly in mythological works of art. In Baroque sculptures, the artist’s typically portrayed their works as larger-than-life size. The sculptures all share a similar sense of dynamic movement, as well as with an active use of the background. Designed to create spectacle and illusion, Baroque architecture had flowing curves opposed to the symmetry of the Renaissance. The domes/roofs were enlarged, and interiors cautiously constructed to create stunning effects of light and shade.
The Baroque period brought along its set on specific characteristics that sets it apart from any other art movement. The use of strong contrast between light and dark played a big role to enhance the dramatic effects of many paintings and sculptures, even baroque buildings entail movement with contrasts in light and color. This application of light and dark is referred to as Tennebrism. Artists of this point in time were concerned with the inner workings of the mind and attempted to represent the passions of the soul on the faces they painted and sculpted, the figures in paintings are not types but individuals with their own personalities.
The term for that is referred to as Realism. The movement and emotional display were also key elements of the Baroque art movement. The main element of Baroque arts is the devotion to the religious deity. The artists of this time were greatly talented with the use of the baroque elements in their works of art. The artist found it easy to work with what the catholic churches preference or guidelines were. Among the famous artists is painter Michelangelo Merisi, or better known as Caravaggio. Caravaggio is best known for his influence of light and dark, exaggerated smokiness, and high detail in his paintings.
His most famous paintings include: The Calling of Saint Matthew(oil painting) and Bacchus. Other famous painters of this period are Artemisia Gentileschi and Elisabetta Sirani. Artemisia Gentileschi is the daughter of a friend to the great Caravaggio and eventually becomes a student of his. Her best known works of art are Judith slaying Holoferes and Judith and Her Maidservant. Elisabetta Sirani is also a student of Caravaggio; her best known works of art include Judith with the Head of Holoferes and the Virgin and Child. The talented Bernini, who was also a marvelous architect, produced his sculpture version of the Statue of David.
Looking at the other style of art form the Baroque era, Architecture seems to be the most marveled in the time period in Italy. The Structures have more warped columns, sometimes simply ornamental as opposed to supportive with more curves rather than symmetrical lines. Highly decorative details and ornaments along with optical illusions giving the appearance of movement. The Architecture of the baroque had enormous towers and domes and an abundance of windows. A very unique feature about the baroque architecture was the blending of painting with the structure itself.
Famous Baroque architects are Bramante, Maderno, Bernini, and Della Porta. Bramante is best known for the first to be commissioned to constructed St. Peters Basilica in the early 1500s. The façade of St. Peters Basilica is credited to Maderno, who also made great contributions to architecture of the Baroque era. Bernini is best known for his work with facades as well as his colonnade. To be a painter in the baroque era, an artist could not just simply paint a picture but use innovative elements and expressions. Many other artists later followed Caravaggio’s example and copied this unique technique.
In Caravaggio’s The calling of Saint Matthew,he uses Tennebrism to add drama to this illustration as well as giving the figures depicted a value of nearness. The painting is a group scene portraying mass movement and action. The figures are overwhelmed by shadow and it is only the single glowing light that shines across the wall and draws notice to the fact of St. Matthew and the seated assembly that brightens the canvas. Bringing this work of art to life, Caravaggio uses vivid eye-catching colors and bold contrasts of other colors.
He was even better with darkness, making ink-black shadows seem to open onto infinity. His best paintings combine the riveting intensity of quickly glimpsed details with the spine-tingling scariness of dark alleys and dimly cellars. (Pagel). He also depicts gesticulation and expressions, which was abnormal at this time in art. As for Caravaggio’s Bacchus, it is a still life depicting a young man with a plate of fruit in the foreground of the canvas. Caravaggio portrays more of a realist man in the painting, with the man having dirty fingers as if he was a just one of the common people.
The use of light and shadow is shown again in this paintings with visible “farmer’s tan” that Caravaggio carefully illustrates. Caravaggio had great influence on his pupils as well; So much influence that Artemisia Gentileschi painted her own near identical depiction of the scene of her late teacher’s original work of art, Judith Slaying Holoferes. Judith’s maid plays an active part, holding the frantically resisting general down as the heroine’s sword slices into the victim’s neck, his blood running in rivulets across the sheets and down the head of his bed (Morris).
Gentileschi depicts scene in a dark area with light shining almost as if it is coming from somewhere off of the scene. The scene entails action and movement as well as violence and naturalism. Another scene by a follower of Caravaggio is Judith and her Maidservant with the Head of Holoferes. Detail of the intense chiaroscuro from the single candle lighting the scene is a technique often employed by Baroque painters. Dramatic and unusual chiaroscuro, especially the darkness Judith’s hand casts on her face, collectively with attentive expressions and posture, add urgency to the scene (Brash).
Taking a look at the Baroque, numerous unique accomplishments have been achieved by the architects in this time frame. The Construction of Saint Peter’s Basilica was set forth by the Catholic Church during the time of the Avignon Papacy, who in turn appointed Bramante to design the great Catholic basilica. Bramante had a design that was in the form of a massive Greek cross, so a central design plan with a dome like that of the huge circular of the Pantheon. Unfortunately, Bramante died before he could ever see his finished work of art.
Michelangelo was commissioned to design the St. Peters Basilica after Bramante’s death. The new design he had planned was an expansion of the old designs structure. Maderno also made Great contributions to the basilica. He constructed the nave and a new facade for Saint Peter’s Basilica. Maderno’s additions to Saint Peter’s Basilica were consonant with the spirit of the Baroque; by adding the nave he transformed Michelangelo’s Greek-cross plan into a longitudinal one, thus reverting to the scheme of early Christian and Medieval cathedrals (Britannica).
An architect and sculptor worth noting for innovative designing of a phenomenal additional to St. Peters Basilica is Bernini. Bernini designed this structure to have hundreds of columns topped with sculptures constructed together around a plaza. Bernini began constructing his masterpiece in 1657 and was not able to finish until 10 years later. The design he made had the columns was curved tending to the plaza shape, but also engulfing any viewer or visitor with its colossal size.
This addition the church was the Baroque was of showing the Catholic Church was the more pristine, more influential, and most of all more dominant. Not only was Bernini a brilliant architect, he was also an accomplished sculptor. His Baldacchino, inside St. Peters basilica, stands at a massive 66 feet tall. It is Baroque canopy sculpted from bronze over the high altar in the church. The canopy towered over the high altar of St. Peter right in the middle of the great church.
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