Baroque In Italy

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  • 1. Baroque
    • Meant as derogatory, exaggerated, excessive, perverse
  • Advanced techniques of Renaissance married to the intense emotions of Mannerism
  • Courts and palaces designed to impress visitors
  • Theatrical emphasis on emotion over rationality

2. Catholic Protestant

  • Spain
  • Portugal
  • France
  • Italy
  • Provinces (Belgium)
  • Austria
  • Poland
  • Rhineland
  • Holy Roman Empire
  • England
  • Scotland
  • Scandinavia
  • Swiss Confederation
  • Holland
  • North Germany

3. Caravaggio (1573 1610)

  • Rebelled against convention
  • Started in Rome, but fled after murder and worked in many cities
  • Used drowned corpse as a model for Death of a Virgin refused by patron but purchased by Duke of mantua on advice of Rubens
  • Used prostitutes, drunks and street people for models
  • Died at 37 (unknown cause but lots of speculation)
  • Intense Light/Dark contrasts
  • Dramatic chiarioscuro revolutionizes European art as well as the use of common people
  • Varicose veins, dirty fingernails, and other attributes of truth in painting
  • Often worked straight onto canvas without preliminary drawings
  • High Psychological content


  • Caravaggio,Calling of Saint Matthew
  • Tenebroso
  • Light comes from two sources on the right; top source illuminates Saint Matthew
  • Ordinary figures
  • Some dressed as 17th Century dandies, fashionably coiffed
  • Influence of MichelangelosCreation of Adamin the hand of Christ: Gods hand but Adams reversed position


  • Caravaggio,Conversion of Saint Paul
  • Unknown source of light
  • Common figures
  • Little to suggest a spiritual event
  • Dark tenebroso effect; limited color palette
  • Figures are very closely spaced
  • Awkwardness in the man holding the horse with his very long arms and legs that dont line up with his head
  • Awkwardness of the foreshortened horse
  • Little depth; very shallow stage, figures pushed forward
  • Positioning of horse guides viewer into painting seen to the right

6. 7. Judith and Holofernes ( Judith 13,1-10 ) "Judith was left alone in the tent, with Holofernes stretched out on the bed, for he was overcome with wine (Judith 13,2)... She went up to the post at the end of the bed, above Holofernes' head, and took down his sword that hung there. She came close to the bed and took hold of the hair of his head, and said: "Give me strength this day, O Lord God of Israel!". And she struck his neck twice with all her might, and severed his head from his body (Judith 13,6-8)... After a moment she went out and gave Holofernes' head to her maid (Judith 13, 9)". The Old Testament narrates the episode of Judith who saved her city of Bethulia from the siege of Holofernes, general of the Assyrian king Nabucodonosor, by killing him after a banquet at which he had been made drink, beheading him and bringing his head to his fellow citizens (Judith ch. 10-13). 8.

  • Gentileschi, Judith Slaying Holofernes
  • Painted six versions of the story
  • Gentileschi raped when young: is there a relationship of this event to the painting?
  • Artist identified with Judith, Gentileschis self-portrait as the heroine
  • Not idealized but realistic figures
  • Gory moment of decapitation, blood squirting out: shock value
  • Holofernes defenseless
  • Tenebroso
  • Dramatic light effect from the left

9. 10.

  • Bernini,David
  • David is energetically swinging the slingshot
  • Chose not to wear his armor to fight Goliath, it is at his feet and acts as a physical support for the statue
  • Harp at his feet suggests David as a poet and singer
  • Said to have Berninis likeness: intensity of expression
  • Must be seen in the round, though may have been originally set against a wall
  • Recalls Hellenistic Greek art
  • Baroque art: figures caught in the middle of action

11. Bernini (1598 1680)

  • One of the most influential Baroque artists
  • Architect and sculptor
  • Devotion to physical and psychological reality
  • Exquisite sense of textures
  • Patron Cardinal Barberini becomes Pope Urban VII and grants many commisions (especially for St. Peters)
  • Mixture of many media in certain pieces
  • When called to France by Louis XIV sculpture not used portrait changed rto roman figure and placed in remote part of garden


  • Bernini,Ecstasy of Saint Theresa
  • Stage-like setting
  • Carved a vision by Saint Theresa of Avila
  • Members of the patron family, the Cornaro, look on from theatre boxes, in conversation or are reading about the event itself
  • Baroque as theatrical
  • Natural light from a hidden window shines on rays and figures
  • Combination of painting, sculpture and architecture
  • Directed view
  • Angel as sexless, Teresa in physical ecstasy, drained of all emotion
  • Carved marble differently depending on the texture of the surface: clouds are rough, wings are downy, drapery is smooth, and skin has a high shine

13. Nile (covered head for unknown source) Danube Ganges Rio della Plata Americas (note coins on the ledge representing the riches) 1648-50 (Pope Innocent X) 14.

  • Bernini, Colonnade of Saint Peters, Rome
  • Plaza holds half million people, 284 columns, 4 rows, 140 statues
  • Church in a congested area of Rome, Bernini wanted an open area to overwhelm visitors entering it through the four-deep colonnade with light and space
  • Tuscan Doric columns with classical temple front
  • Curving Baroque shape of colonnade
  • Forms the shape of two arms bringing people into the Church
  • Also the shape of a skeleton keyhole, symbolic of Saint Peter who holds the keys to the kingdom

15. Italian Baroque Sculpture

  • Bernini,Baldacchino
  • Over main altar of Saint Peters
  • 100 feet high, made of bronze
  • Twisting columns inspired by Early Christian designs, corkscrew motif
  • Lively ornate concept
  • Symbol of the patron, the Barberini family, in the sun and bees motif on entablature
  • Baroque concept of directed view: focuses your eyes down the main aisle of Saint Peters and acts as a frame for the Cathedra Petri, which though later in date, was likely planned already
  • Bronze taken from the Pantheon: paganism transformed into Christianity

16. Italian Baroque Architecture

  • Borromini, St. Charles of the Four Fountains, Rome
  • Very small site
  • Complex ground plan
  • Alternating convex and concave patterns
  • Exterior:
  • Faade higher than the rest of the building
  • Walls treated sculpturally
  • Emphasis on central portal with kiosk and formerly frescoed medallion above
  • Union of three major arts
  • Interior:
  • Chapels merge into the main room
  • Oval coffered dome

17. Baroque Ceiling Painters

  • Influenced by Mantegna, Corregio and Michelangelo
  • Use of flying figures common
  • High achievement in perspective, foreshortening and issues of overlapping space, color and value in compositions.


  • Carracci,Loves of the Gods
  • Gallery intended to exhibit antique sculpture
  • Di sotto in s and quadro riportato painting intermingled
  • Figures flow harmoniously
  • Each figure is studied from life
  • Figures overlap frames of paintings
  • Painted herms bordering main scenes, inspired by Sistine Chapel ignudi
  • Herms seem sculptural, seen from below
  • Golden frames seem three-dimensional but figures overlap them
  • Venetian color
  • Robust, healthy, muscular figures, defined contours: idealized


  • Reni, Aurora
  • Quadro riportato
  • Glowing dramatic colors
  • Aurora leads Apollos chariot, Hours guide the chariot
  • Soft modeling
  • Idealized, sweetly lyrical females
  • Wavy compositional lines


  • Pozzo,Glorification of Saint Ignatius
  • Walls of church are foreshortened into painted architecture
  • Di sotto in s