The Baroque Period of Art

Baroque period refers to a time when artists introduced new techniques into their works. The period officially started in 1600, which means that the new trends had already been rolled out earlier. The changes in art styles were initially present in Italy, but as time moved on the trends were spread to the other parts of Europe, probably by people who had been in Italy previously.

Francesco Barromini was one of the most famous architects in this period. His career started from a very humble beginning because initially he had worked as a stone mason (All-art 1). Perhaps he worked in masonry as one way of following the foot steps of his father who was also a stone mason.

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Masonry provided the stepping stone for Barromini to start a career in architecture. When he later migrated to Rome, he met Michelangelo – the patron who gave him lessons in architecture. Michelangelo was a renaissance artist who had skills in many fields ranging from painting to architecture.

Although Barromini was taught using renaissance concepts, he decided to use the new concepts, and just like other baroque painters, he was barred from displaying his works in the workshops and therefore, baroque architecture took a long time to be accepted (89). Barromini was given assignments by the Roman Catholic Church and he used such opportunities to exhibit the new trends in architecture.

In essence, the church played a major role in spreading baroque architecture because it was used as the vessel for conveying the emerging trends to the public. Most churches in Rome integrated baroque architecture into their design. Legendary artists such as Michelangelo were very conservative because even when they used new styles they still incorporated their previous styles.

The break through for Barromini came when he was asked to design the San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, which was a catholic church in Rome. This church was perceived to be one of the pieces that fully reflected baroque architecture. The church was constructed on a relatively small place that is between two intersecting roads.

The lack of adequate space meant that the orientation of the structure had to be in portrait so that it could only be adjusted upwards. On the other hand, renaissance structures were broad and thus needed more space to accommodate them. Perhaps this idea was ripe for implementation because the population in urban centers was already swollen and hence buildings had to utilize the available space.

Barromini employed multiple colonnades on the walls of the San Carlo building. The colonnades were used to make the walls look ornamental which was thought to be quite appealing. The colonnades were complimented with lots of arcs which were greatly emphasized by the new styles.

The development of these styles was advocated by the public because they felt that they needed something unique to spice up their taste. Barromini incorporated sculpturing on to the walls of San Carlo and the former straight lines were replaced with curves. The buildings that were built using baroque styles commanded a lot of respect because they represented authority owing to the fact that they cost the owners more money than ordinary structures (Wellek 90).

Similarly, Thomas Hobbes was a renowned English philosopher who wrote many books during the baroque period. He played a major role in enhancing the spread of baroque period by shedding light on the importance of liberation. This is because the new styles in art were initially rejected by conservatives and government agents.

The new styles were developed through creativity, which was strongly opposed by conservatives because they wanted artists to retain old techniques. He fought hard for people to be allowed to do anything they wished as long as they did not break the law. His campaign in support of creativity led to the acceptance of new styles of art.

In conclusion, baroque architecture was very costly and that is why it was applied in public structures because only the wealthy could afford it. Artists like Borromini used the church as a tool for creating awareness about baroque architecture and it was in deed successful because later on most public buildings in Europe incorporated baroque styles in their design.

The public played a significant role because even when the authorities were receptive towards the new style they induced the artists to come up with new designs. If the public had not demanded for changes in art the baroque styles would not have been invented.

Works Cited

All-art. “History of Art: Baroque and Rococo.” Web. 5 May 2011.

Wellek, Rene. “The Concept of the Baroque in Literary Scholarship.” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 5 (1946): 77–109.


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