Origin of Baroque Art (IV)
Written by Alfonso Elizondo
It is said that the Baroque Art is the art of the Counter-Reformation, since the Catholic Church promoted it to counter Protestantism by building temples with many sculptures. In addition it instructed the artists to move away from the idolatry that had high approval during the Renaissance and to avoid nudes and immoral scenes. Both in the visual arts and in music, the Church’s authority over artists was directed towards creating overexcitement and inspiring devotion through psychological inducements. This ostentatious and complicated art called ‘Baroque’ developed despite the rules of moderation and sobriety at the time.
The seventeenth century was a time of war and violence seldom seen in European history. That is why to the Baroque man the intense, throbbing fieriness of life was inescapable. In this context, one notes the exuberant love for life’s passions, as well as movement and color, as if it were a theatrical performance. In fact, the Baroque in the visual arts tends to replicate the agitation and the showiness of the performing arts. And like them, it is based on a colorful and ephemeral ornamentation which was about being spectacular.
Another feature of the Baroque that manifests itself in its architecture, sculpture and painting is the play of shadows where there are very important contrasts between light and dark. This is seen in ‘tenebrism’ in painting and in the jumble of volumes in architecture, with its deep projections to create interplays of light and shadow, as seen in the Pilar Cathedral in Zaragoza.
The most important representatives of ‘Baroque Art’ worldwide were: Diego Velázquez, Caravaggio, Rubens, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, José de Ribera, Francisco de Zurbarán, Rembrandt and Artemisia Gentileschi, the most outstanding female poet of all.
In the end, Baroque art left a beautiful legacy. Its most magnificent works are still preserved and are still enjoyed for their huge value and beauty. In addition, many branches of art were enriched in this era when art was the focus and means of expression of many people.
Addendum: There is no doubt that Baroque Art will continue to embellish the whole world for many more years and will continue to live in the history of humankind forever.