The Baroque was a cultural movement that developed in Europe during the 17th century and the first decades of the 18th century . This encompassed all artistic and cultural expressions, and its manifestation reflects the sensitivity of a dynamic and crisis era.
The name “baroque”, as a synonym for exaggeration and extravagance , began to be used at the end of the 18th century by the thinkers of the Enlightenment , to refer especially to literature and painting that they saw confused and artificial , as opposed to clear and artificial forms. ordered neoclassicism , in force at that time.
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The main characteristics of the baroque as a cultural movement were the following:
- The Baroque era was marked by strong intellectual and spiritual contradictions that manifested themselves in material productions. In cultural production, spirituality coexists with material ostentation, naturalism with the artificial, and the real with the illusory.
- In the field of ideas, two lines also coexisted: one rational and intellectual, and another that exalted spirituality and appealed to imagination and sensoriality.
- A taste for the theatrical , the scenic display and the artificiality of the situations developed.
- The baroque took different forms in different European spaces:
- In Rome, where it arose, it was related to the image of the Church triumphant over heresy and paganism, beginning with the Counter-Reformation . It was characterized by the sensoriality and expressiveness of its manifestations.
- In the courts of the absolutist kings , the Baroque was used by the monarchies as a visual vehicle to exalt the figure of the king. In France it took solemn, orderly, and classicist forms.
- In the Netherlands and Flanders it developed linked to the rich commercial bourgeoisie . Everyday themes and domestic intimacy predominated.
- Its cultural manifestations, both musical, visual and literary, were intended to impact the senses , provoke emotions in the viewer and generate effects of disbelief and surprise .
- He began planning as a discipline, with a conception of the city as a unit and theatrical stage. The city began to be conceived as an exhibition space for royal or religious greatness.
- There was a tendency to lose boundaries between the arts. For example, painting and sculpture were fused with architecture in works in which it is difficult to determine the limits of each.
- Opera emerged , a genre that combines music, text, dance, theatrical staging, painting and sculpture (in scenography and decorations).
- Interest in topics related to deception of the senses, the ephemerality of life, life as a dream and representation, death and experiences of intense spirituality intensified.
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Literature in the baroque
Baroque literature took different forms, but in general it tried to impact the reader through resources such as expressive exaggerations , complexities in form, and word games , among other resources.
New themes appeared and others were adapted to give rise to the prominence of popular, critical and satirical figures in society.
The theater had a great development, with authors such as Shakespeare , Lope de Vega and Calderón de la Barca .
Painting in the baroque
In baroque painting different lines coexisted. Some of its general characteristics are the following:
- Naturalism : search to represent reality as it is, without idealization or embellishment of the elements.
- Use of light as a leading element to accentuate the elements, give theatricality to the scenes and direct the viewer’s gaze. Strong chiaroscuro were also used to generate dramatic effects.
- The dynamism of the compositions through diagonal lines and curves, as well as the use of color.
- The quest to represent movement and the climax of action .
- The intention of deceiving the viewer’s senses, of blurring the difference between reality and fiction.
- Some new genres emerged and others became popular, such as still lifes and still lifes, glory breaks, and vanitas.
Sculpture in the baroque
The sculptures are characterized by their expressiveness with open forms that advance towards the viewer. The artists put emphasis on obtaining a diversity of textures through different techniques of working with materials.
Baroque architecture was conceived in relation to the space where the buildings are located. In Italy, constructions with curved lines and dynamic and whimsical shapes predominated.
In France, the architecture was oriented to the construction of palaces for the monarchy and the aristocracy. The predominant style was more solemn and formal, with the predominance of classical forms and straight lines.
Music in the baroque
During the Baroque, new musical instruments appeared such as the violin, the transverse flute, the oboe and the bassoon; and others, such as the viola d’amore or the theorbo, which are no longer used today. As a consequence, the musical composition was greatly enriched.
At the same time, new musical forms were created for instruments such as the sonata, suite and concert, as well as vocal forms.
Baroque music is considered the initiator of modern music .
The outstanding artists of the baroque movement are:
- In literature:
- Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616) : Spanish novelist, poet and playwright. Author of The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha .
- Luis de Góngora (1561-1627) : Spanish poet and playwright.
- Juana Inés de Asbaje Ramírez de Santillana (Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz) (1648-1695) : Mexican poet.
- In paint:
- Michelangelo Merisi (Caravaggio) (1573-1610) : Italian painter.
- Pedro Pablo Rubens (1577-1640) : Flemish painter.
- Rembrandt Van Rijn (1606-1669) : Dutch painter.
- Diego Velázquez (1599-1660) : Spanish painter.
- In sculpture:
- Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) : Italian architect and sculptor.
- In architecture:
- In music:
- Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643): Italian musician.
- Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) : German composer.
- Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (1678-1741) : Italian composer.