What is Baroque
Baroque was a style in art that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur from sculpture, painting, literature, and music. The baroque style started around 1600 in Rome, Italy and spread to most of Europe. In music the Baroque applies to the final period of dominance of imitative counterpoint.
The popularity and success of the "baroque" was encouraged by the Catholic Church when it decided that the drama of the baroque artists' style could communicate religious themes in direct and emotional involvement. The secular aristocracy also saw the dramatic style of baroque architecture and art as a means of impressing visitors and would-be competitors. Baroque palaces are built round an entrance sequence of courts, anterooms, grand staircases, and reception rooms of sequentially increasing magnificence. Many forms of art, music, architecture, and literature inspired each other in the "baroque" cultural movement.
The Baroque originated around 1600. The canon promulgated at the Council of Trent (1545?63), by which the Roman Catholic Church addressed the representational arts by demanding that paintings and sculptures in church contexts should speak to the illiterate rather than to the well-informed, is customarily offered as an inspiration of the Baroque, which appeared, however, a generation later. This turn 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.
The appeal of Baroque style turned consciously from the witty, intellectual qualities of 16th century Mannerist art to a visceral appeal aimed at the senses. It employed an iconography that was direct, simple, obvious, and dramatic (see the Prometheus sculpture below). Baroque art drew on certain broad and heroic tendencies in Annibale Caracci and his circle, and found inspiration in other artists like Correggio and Caravaggio and Federico Barocci, nowadays sometimes termed 'proto-Baroque'.
A defining statement of what Baroque signifies in painting is provided by the series of paintings executed by Peter Paul Rubens for Marie de Medici at the Luxembourg Palace in Paris (now at the Louvre), in which a Catholic painter satisfied a Catholic patron: Baroque-era conceptions of monarchy, iconography, handling of paint, and compositions as well as the depiction of space and movement. Another frequently cited work of Baroque art is Bernini's "Saint Theresa in ecstasy" for the Cornaro chapel in S. Maria della Vittoria, which brings together multiple arts, including opera.