Sinonimi: churrigueresque | churrigueresco
ETYM French; cf. Italian barocco.
Pertaining to the artistic, literary, or musical style associated with the Baroque period in Europe (from the late 16th through the 17th centuries), characterized by dramatic excess and detailed ornamentation.
Having elaborate symmetrical ornamentation; SYN. churrigueresque, churrigueresco.
Grotesque; extravagant; elaborate symmetrical ornamentation; SYN. baroqueness.
In the visual arts, architecture, and music, a style flourishing in Europe 1600–1750, broadly characterized as expressive, flamboyant, and dynamic. Playing a central role in the crusading work of the Catholic Counter-Reformation, the Baroque used elaborate effects to appeal directly to the emotions. In some of its most characteristic works—such as Giovanni Bernini’s Cornaro Chapel (Sta Maria della Vittoria, Rome), containing his sculpture The Ecstasy of St Theresa 1645–52— painting, sculpture, decoration, and architecture were designed to create a single, dramatic effect. Many masterpieces of the Baroque emerged in churches and palaces in Rome, but the style soon spread throughout Europe, changing in character as it did so.
In architecture, the Baroque style emerged as a revolt against the rigid conventions of Italian Renaissance classicism—straight lines gave way to curved and broken lines; decoration became more important and elaborate; and spaces became more complex, their impact highlighted by the dramatic use of light and shade. Designs were often large-scale, as in Bernini's piazza for St Peter's in Rome. Outstanding Baroque architects included Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini, Francesco Borromini, Pietro da Cortona, Baldassare Longhena, and Giovanni Guarini in Italy; Louis Le Vau and Jules Hardouin-Mansart in France; and Christopher Wren, Nicholas Hawksmoor, and John Vanbrugh in Britain.
In painting, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, with his bold use of light and forceful compositions, was an early exponent, but the Carracci family and Guido Reni were more typical of the early Baroque style, producing grandiose visions in ceiling paintings that deployed illusionistic displays of florid architectural decoration. The works of Pietro da Cortona and Il Guercino exemplify the mature or “High” Baroque style. In Catholic Flanders the Baroque is represented by Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck, and in Spain by Diego Velázquez and José Ribera. In Protestant Holland, where patronage had moved from the church to the middle classes, it is represented by Harmensz van Rijn Rembrandt, Jan Vermeer, and Frans Hals.
In sculpture, the master of Baroque was Bernini, whose Ecstasy of St Theresa is a fine example of overt emotionalism. Other Baroque sculptors are Pierre Puget and Antoine Coysevox, both French.
In music, the Baroque can be traced to the Camerata, a society of poets and musicians who revived elements of Greek drama and developed the opera form in Florence; Claudio Monteverdi and Giovanni Gabrieli were important figures in early Baroque music, introducing exclamatory and polychoral effects. The sonata, suite, and concerto grosso emerged during the period; the vocal forms of opera, oratorio, and cantata were also developed. Baroque composers include Girolamo Frescobaldi and Antonio Vivaldi in Italy, Johann Pachelbel and Johann Sebastian Bach in Germany, and George Handel in England.
The 19th-century Swiss art historian Jacob Burckhardt was the first to use the term “baroque”; he applied it derogatively, meaning “bizarre”, “irregular”, but the word was absorbed into the language of art history.
Baroque decorations were applied to building exteriors and interiors including furnishings.