• Introduction • historical Background: condition Quo versus reform • Main features • Illusionist architectural Murals and Ceiling paintings • Light: The key Feature the Baroque painting • Caravaggio (1573-1610) • Caravaggism • Venetian Baroque painting • Classicism: Poussin, Claude • Netherlandish Baroque paint • Spanish Baroque Painting

information from Supper at Emmaus (1602) nationwide Gallery, London. Caravaggio. One more masterpiece of Christian art from the Counter-Reformation.

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In general, "Baroque painting" was a enjoy of the extensive political and cultural changes climate emerging throughout Europe. Baroque painting coincided, generally speaking through the 17th century, return in some areas - significantly Germany - several of its achievements did not happen until the 18th century. Back the term embraced a bewildering range of styles, it to be typically identified by 2 things: a feeling of grandeur (or sensuous richness), plus an overt emotional content. That was with these two elements that Baroque painters, sought come evoke emotional states in the viewer by appeal to the senses, regularly in dramatic ways. Why to be they appealing to viewers in this way? due to the fact that life in 17th century Europe had suddenly end up being a competition in between two an effective forces.

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Historical Background: status Quo versus Reform

On one side were those who sustained the Catholic Church and also the divine Right of kings - essentially, the standing quo. The latter contained the queens of France, Spain, Austria and good Britain. On the other side to be those that wanted reform: they had those that belonged come the new Protestant religious movement, and also those who thought in nationwide or an individual self-determination. The former proactively used painting and also other creative disciplines to admire their congregations and subjects through the reality of their message.

So Church authorities constructed magnificent churches, decorated through illusionistic fresco paint on the ceilings and also walls, making use of the recent quadratura techniques and trompe l"oeil methods, in bespeak to wake up piety and convey one impression the the splendour of the divine. And they commissioned an countless stream of Biblical art, designed come illustrate necessary parts the Catholic theological dogma. Meantime, Emperors and Kings proclaimed their own authority by hiring architects to construct palaces, embellished through murals, oil painting and other creates of decorate art.

Reformers typically disapproved that this type of religious art, preferring rather to whitewash the interiors that churches. However, amongst the nations and also provinces of north Europe, a brand-new breed that patron started to emerge - the middle course professional, seller or office-holder - who started buying small-scale artworks in order come celebrate their cultivation affluence and also promote their own cultural values. Hence in Holland, for instance, a brand-new realist format of easel arts boomed as the freshly empowered middle classes i was delegated genre paintings, still lifes or individual/group portrait paints to present off their new status. In France, the exact same trend was obvious in the need for realist works by the Le Nain brothers and comparable artists. Curiously, in Italy, where realist "low brow" contents had first emerged (in works by Caravaggio), the Church authorities had cleverly exploited it because that their very own ends, to do Saints look an ext human. Thus virtually all Caravaggio"s paintings were religious.

Baroque painting - in this case landscape painting - was likewise influenced by the general widening of person intellectual horizons, motivated by advances in science and by geographical explorations of the globe. These 2 factors developed a new sense both of human insignificance and also of the mysterious complexity of the natural world. Hence in the landscape painting of the duration we see people often portrayed as tiny figures in a vast natural setting.


In addition to the 2 main characteristics of Baroque painting outlined above: (1) grandeur or sensuality - see, for instance, spiritual works through Peter Paul Rubens, or the elegant portraits that Anthony valve Dyck; and also (2) strong emotional content - check out in particular, works by Spanish Baroque artists such as Ribera, Zurbaran, even Velazquez; we must note two various other important yet contradictory tendencies: (3) naturalism or realism, and also (4) classicism or "the ideal". Naturalism is ideal exemplified by Caravaggio (realism by january Vermeer); if classicism is the main impulse in functions by Old Masters like Annibale Carracci, Peter Paul Rubens, Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorraine. View also: Classicism and Naturalism in Italian 17th Century Painting. In addition, (5) Baroque architects made full use the the mural painting an abilities of painters choose Andrea Pozzo and also Pietro da Cortona, whose trompe l"oeil fresco ceilings proceed to accumulate to this day.

Illusionist architecture Murals and Ceiling Paintings

It is appropriate to begin an account the Baroque paint with that is favourite genre and also characteristic function: the illusionist decorate of the walls of one interior. Clear the idea of utilizing a wall surface to display a painted scene was together old together art; what to be new, or nearly new, to be the usage made the this an approach of mural paint by Baroque artists. On the walls, and an ext especially top top the ceilings, the churches and palaces lock painted vast, liven scenes, which often tend to produce upon the spectator a trompe l"oeil impression that the walls or ceiling no much longer exist, or at the very least that they open up out in an exciting way. This, as well was not essentially new: together experiments had actually been made during the Renaissance, by Mantegna, and also most spectacularly by Correggio in his extraordinary assumption of the Virgin (Parma Cathedral) (1526-30). In the Baroque period, however, the became practically an pure rule, combining as it did every the aesthetic functions of the time: grandeur, theatricality, movement, the representation of infinity, and also in addition a technical ability that appears practically superhuman. It proved that propensity to incorporate various forms of arts for a unified effect which to be the many distinctive properties of the age.

Such illusionist art - amongst them some of the best Baroque paints ever created - varied considerably in the story they called - resides of saints, histories of dynasties, myths, or story of heroes - however they were consistent in the components they deployed: architecture glories was standing out versus the sky; soaring angels and also saints; numbers in swift motion, their clothes billowing the end in the wind; all shown with bold foreshortening - the perspective result of feather upwards from listed below or the contrary downwards indigenous above, which makes the figures show up shorter. Such to be the vitality the the genre that it ongoing not just throughout the seventeenth century however well into the eighteenth, invading the borders of time generally taken into consideration to demarcate the doing well Rococo movement.

Baroque artist who dedicated in together murals and ceiling paintings included: the forerunner Annibale Carracci (1560-1609) - co-founder together with his brothers Agostino Carracci (1557-1602), and cousin Ludovico Carracci (1555-1619) that the prominent Bolognese college - that was noted for his Farnese gallery frescoes in Rome, and his pendant Guido Reni (1575-1642), Guercino (1591-1666), and also in details Domenichino (1581-1641) whose elaborate classic compositions to be to influence Nicolas Poussin. Thereafter, we have Parma-born Giovanni Lanfranco (1582-1647), affected by the frescoes that Correggio; Bernini (1598-1680), more famous as architect and also sculptor; Pietro da Cortona (1596-1669) - check out his immortal Allegory of magnificent Providence (1633-39, Palazzo Barberini); Andrea Sacchi (1599-1661), that exemplified High Baroque Classicism, and his pupil Carlo Maratta (1625-1713). Luca Giordano (1634-1705) and Andrea Pozzo (1642-1709) - see his Apotheosis of St Ignatius (1688-94, Sant"Ignazio, Rome) - were also great exponents the the Baroque style of quadratura ceiling decoration. See additionally the Neapolitan decorative painter Francesco Solimena (1657-1747), who fresco works link the late Baroque through the Rococo. For more, see: Baroque style (1600-1750).

Another vital Italian artist was Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (1609-64), best known because that his etching, Biblical genre paint (with animals) and his pioneering usage of monotype. See also: Italian Baroque Artists.

In France, Charles Le Brun (1619-90) was the heir to Pietro da Cortona"s decorative brilliance, i beg your pardon he used to his murals in ~ the royal residence of Versailles, especially those in the room of Mirrors. Le Brun offered his place as director of the French Academy to exert complete control over French paint (1663-83). Check out also: French Baroque Artists.

For the golden age of interior style in France during the Baroque, see: French decorate Art. For furnishings, see: French Furniture (1640-1792). For artists and craftsmen, see: French Designers.

Light: The key Feature of Baroque Painting

Naturally, painting was no confined to the wall surfaces of buildings. There was also, and indeed especially, a heritage of paint on canvas, and as with style the characteristics of the miscellaneous national institutions differed widely. They had actually one problem in common, however: the study of light and also its effects. Despite the great divergences in between the occupational of assorted artists in the Baroque duration - divergences so good that countless art doubters are not ready to designate their work-related by a solitary common adjective - the thematic usage of light and shade in building any significant work was, come a greater or lesser degree, typical to them all, to the extent of gift the key feature and also unifying pictorial motif the the age.

Caravaggio (1573-1610)

The advertise towards adoption of this idiom come from Italy, indeed from a solitary Italian artist, Michelangelo Merisi, recognized as Caravaggio native the name of the tiny town wherein he to be born. Return his work has actually been more attacked through some doubters than appreciated, over there is no doubt that he marked the start of a new epoch. At the moment of Caravaggio, fine art painting had totally attained the missions that it had actually been collection two centuries before - namely, the perfect depiction of nature in every its manifestations. A brand-new line of examination was required, one congenial to the age; and also this Caravaggio supplied. His paintings showed sturdy peasants, innkeepers, and also gamblers; and also though they might sometimes it is in dressed together saints, apostles, and also fathers of the Church castle represented truth in its many crude and also harsh aspect. This was in itself a break with Renaissance art, v its aristocratic figures and also idealized surroundings. The most important facet of Baroque painting was not yet what was represented but how it was represented. The painting was not lit uniformly but in patches; details win by bright, intense light alternated with areas of dark shadow. If in the final analysis a Renaissance paint was coloured drawing with in its entirety lighting, a canvas by Caravaggio was a leopard"s skin of strong light and deep, intense shadow, in which the highlights room symbolic; that is, they shown the important aspects of the composition. It was a dramatic, violent, tormented layout of painting, eminently suitable to period of solid aesthetic contrasts, as the Baroque period was. His biggest paintings include the following:

• The call of Saint Matthew (1599-1600) mountain Luigi dei Francesi. • The Martyrdom that Saint Matthew (1599-1600) mountain Luigi dei Francesi. • counter on the way to Damascus (1601) Santa Maria del Popolo. • Crucifixion that Saint Peter (1601) Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome. • fatality of the Virgin (1601-6) Louvre, Paris. • The Entombment that Christ (1601-3) Vatican Museums, Rome.


Caravaggio"s temperament appears to have had closer affinities v the Spanish fairly than the Italian character, and Naples, which had actually close relations with Spain at this period - and also was also a centre of religious Quietism - to be a crucial centre of Caravaggism influence. For the artist"s so late Neapolitan work, see: Caravaggio in Naples. For a guide to arts in the city, see: painting in neapolitan (1600-1700). For much more detail of early on 17th century art in Naples, see: Neapolitan school of paint (1600-56). For later works, see: Neapolitan Baroque (c.1650-1700). The leading Caravaggisti in Naples contained Battistello Caracciolo (1578-1635), the influential Jusepe Ribera (1591-1652) and also the good female artist Artemisia Gentileschi (1597-1651), noted for Judith Beheading Holofernes (1620, Uffizi, Florence).

The mature functions of Francisco Ribalta (1565–1628) show Caravaggesque influence; the at an early stage paintings that Velazquez (1599-1660) present it, as carry out those of other 17th-century Spanish masters such as Zurbaran (1598-1664). However his influence prolonged much farther than Spain, though it is there that the master"s manner was most very closely followed. In Holland, Gerrit valve Honthorst (1592-1656) seems to have transmitted other of Caravaggio"s dramatic use of chiaroscuro to his great countryman, Rembrandt; when in France the somewhat mysterious master, Georges de la Tour (1593-1652), was a skilful, yet apparently isolated, exponent that "Tenebrism", as this use of deep shadows cast from a single source of light, to give unity to a composition, is called. Adam Elsheimer (1578-1610) was another influential representative the this tendency; while the is perhaps simply worth pointing out in this connection the name of the one English tenebrist, Joseph wright of Derby (1734-97). Of Caravaggio"s Italian followers, the most influential were Mattia Preti (1613-1669) and Domenico Fetti (1589-1624); if Salvator Rosa (1615-1673), also a Neapolitan, has affinities with him in his taste because that savagery and low-life scenes, of bandits fighting and also carousing amongst wild and rocky scenery. Salvator is specifically of interest for his prestige in the breakthrough of romantic landscape; the eighteenth-century Genoese, Magnasco (1667-1749) has something in typical with him.

Venetian Baroque Painting

Apart from Caravaggio, over there were few if any 17th century artist in Italy to rank v the good names the the fifteenth and also sixteenth centuries. Return both Titian and Tintoretto did much to wrap the way for the Baroque, the leading representative of the Baroque layout in Venetian paint was Tiepolo (1696-1770), in whose hands illusionistic fresco painting reached the apogee in the Wurzburg Rezidenz frescoes (1750-3) in Germany. V the fatality of Tiepolo, the golden age of Venetian arts was over.

For painters in Germany and also Austria throughout the 17th century, please see: German Baroque Artists.


Before leave Italy, we must note the presence of a separate trend in europe painting, usually dubbed the "classical" tradition. A hangover, if girlfriend like, from the Renaissance, classicism was the the opposite of Romanticism, gift a format of art in which follow to accepted aesthetic ideals takes precedence end individuality that expression. In straightforward terms, it to be a restrained, harmonious layout that thought in best of design, quite than (say) color or expressionism. It was closely connected with "academic art", the style taught in many of the european academies of well arts. During the Baroque era that the 17th century, the timeless tradition to be personified by the French artist Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665), that spent most of his job in Rome, whereby his patrons consisted of Cardinal Francesco Barberini (1597-1669), and also the cardinal"s secretary Cassiano dal Pozzo (1588-1657). Poussin is probably ideal known for his mythological paint - see, because that instance, his kidnapping of the Sabine ladies (1634-5) and also Et in Arcadia Ego (1637) - back he to be also crucial pioneer of classic arcadian landscape paint - a genre conquered by one more French artist based in Rome, Claude Lorrain (1600-82), that instigated the "Claudean" style. (Note that Claude Lorrain was especially influenced through the German Baroque arts of Adam Elsheimer.) prefer Poussin and also Claude, Simon Vouet (1590-1649) also spent a significant part the his job in Rome, before returning to Paris together court painter to King luigi XIII. He was noted, in particular, because that his muted style of Baroque painting, which avoided both the too much naturalism and drama that Caravaggio, and the contrived painterly effects of the an ext intense Italian Baroque art.

Netherlandish Baroque Painting

In Flanders and also Holland, painting had arisen flourishing regional schools the so far from being backwaters were fine in the van of artistic exploration. Flemish artist had created - or at the very least greatly amplified - two varieties of photo concerned through the faithful depiction of domestic life and everyday reality: genre painting and still life. No had any kind of equivalent in Italy - whereby there was indeed no need for such pictures. It to be the Flemish painters who had actually exported the an approach of oil painting, formerly unknown to the artist of the at an early stage Italian Renaissance. Now they were fast to fuse your own tradition with that arriving from Italy - a marital relationship which to be to create works among the greatest accomplishments in the history of art. This advancement had various results in Flemish painting contrasted to that of Holland, and in each situation was linked with the two profoundly various people: specific Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) and Rembrandt (1606-1669).

Masterpieces through Rubens include:

• Samson and Delilah (1610, national Gallery, London) • lower from the overcome (Rubens) (1614, Cathedral of our Lady, Antwerp) • Rape the the Daughters the Leucippus (1618, Alte Pinakothek, Munich) • Judgement of Paris (1636, national Gallery, London).

Masterpieces by Rembrandt include:

• The Night clock (1642, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam) • Syndics that the Cloth-Makers Guild (1662, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam) • Return of the Prodigal child (1669, Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg).

For much more details, see: Flemish Baroque Art and also Dutch Baroque Art. Watch also: Dutch painting (17th century) and also Dutch Realist Artists.

Spanish Baroque Painting

By the so late 1570s, Rome to be no longer the center of the world. The Italians were wearing Spanish costumes, and the heart of the Counter-Reformation remained in Spain. The Escorial to be being developed as the new citadel that the Faith, and the palaces that Toledo were being turned into monasteries and convents. Beauty was giving way to holiness. In the spring of 1577, the resides Mannerist El Greco (1541-1614) found in the Spanish city the Toledo the familiar shapes of his Cretan home, the buildings of the Mohammedan East, all in the urgent and also emphatic Spanish form. He invested two years in painting his first great work, the altarpiece for san Domingo el Antiguo. The passionate and often extravagant heart of the Baroque had now own him. His wooden panels and also modest canvases to be forgotten; he currently painted pictures of substantial dimensions.

Among El Greco"s greatest religious paintings the the following period was the representation of the wonder which was stated to have occurred during the funeral of count Orgaz, when St Augustine and also St Stephen appeared and discharged the duties the the clergy, In grey and also yellow, black and white, the colour of the stormy sky, El Greco has painted the miracle in an unearthly light, not as a supernatural, however rather together a supremely natural event, come which the totality Spanish people, that is priests, the nobles, and its faithful, bear witness through their existence on the heavy floor of the church. See: interment of count Orgaz (1586-88). Some have called El Greco"s pictures ascetic, ecstatic, cruel, nerveless and also colourless. Nevertheless, his Portrait of a Cardinal (1600) of Don Fernando Nino de Guevera - favor that the the grand Inquisitor is painted v the the strongest colouring; the is just in El Greco"s saints that we find deliberate distortion and also an unearthly radiance. When he paints ordinary person beings, choose his daughter, it is together though they to be reflected in a mirror. The final advancement of El Greco"s art areas him, despite his peculiarities, in the love of the Baroque period, as he abandons Renaissance regulations of composition and also colour and also moves towards the worldwide art that the Baroque period.

Other essential members that the Spanish Baroque school included: Jusepe (Jose) de Ribera (1591-1652), the Naples-based Spanish caravaggesque artist, noted for his realist paintings on spiritual and mythological subjects; the devout Francisco de Zurbaran (1598-1664), detailed for his intense spiritual pictures, still-lifes, and mastery that tenebrism; Diego Velazquez (1599-1660), official painter to the Spanish court in Madrid who linked realism through the Baroque focus on light and also illusionism.

Masterpieces by Velazquez include:

• Waterseller that Seville (1618-22) Apsley House, London. • Christ Crucified (1632) Prado, Madrid. • The Surrender that Breda (1634-5) Prado, Madrid. • The Rokeby Venus (1647-51) nationwide Gallery, London. • Portrait of Pope innocent X (1650) Doria Pamphilj Gallery, Rome. • ras Meninas (1656) Prado, Madrid.

Other important painters the the Spanish School encompass the sentimental Seville artist Bartolome Esteban Murillo (1618-1682) whose spiritual works and genre paintings were influenced by Velazquez, Zurbaran and Caravaggio. For details, see: Spanish Baroque Art.

Baroque painting can be viewed in the best art museums about the world.

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