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Baroque Art in Europe and North America

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Baroque Art in Europe and North America

Throughout this research paper the topic is going to be along the lines of the Baroque Art in Europe and North America, which comes from chapter nineteen of our Art History book. The main purpose is to review major ideas and principles in this chapter by writing an analysis of certain points that were highlighted. For example, certain techniques that were used to define the Baroque Art, major sculptures, architectures, and paintings, and also just some general background information about this time period. I decided to write on this subject because when reading the chapters, the Baroque period seemed to catch my attention the most due to the amazing architecture that was built during this time.

The Baroque period is understood to be around the time frame of the 1600 to about 1750's and was greatly supported by the Catholic Church and also by the Popes during this time. According to the History and Appreciation of Art, "The term Baroque is from the Portuguese barroco, which means a Ð''misshapen pearl' and the Baroque was the final phase of the Renaissance or an era distinct from both the Renaissance and the modern era"(History and Appreciation of Art). Baroque is a word that is considered to be a style that emerged in Europe in the late sixteenth century and that last approximately into the eighteenth century. "Baroque, as a formal style, is characterized by open compositions in which elements are placed or seem to move diagonally in space" (Stokstad pg. 721). Baroque art and for that matter seventeenth century art was known to be more of naturalistic form and used very strong movements of lighting in their paintings, sculptures, and architectures. For instance, "... Baroque is dynamic with tension between naturalism and classicism. Baroque has very dramatic lighting with strong artificial light and dark. Strong movement exists in the paintings and architecture, both real and unreal" (History and Appreciation of Art). According to our book in regards to the Baroque period taking a naturalistic form,

"The desire for realism was inspired in part by the growing interest in the natural sciences: Biological sciences added to the artists' knowledge of human and animal anatomy and botany; physics and astronomy changed their concept of space and light" (Stokstad pg.722).

During this time frame of the Baroque period in the seventeenth century, the types of techniques that were used were very important aspects of the artists' paintings. First of all, the major types and techniques in this time era were genre, glazes, impastos', etching and dry point, which is a technique where images are done on metal plates, and tenebrism or also known as chiaroscuro. The paintings and sculptures of the Baroque period had some diversity them such as large religious or historical paintings. Also, portraits of people, still life or shots and then finally genre, which is just basically scenes that are taken or painted of everyday life. According to a definition in the Art History book, "genre painting is a term that is used loosely to categorize paintings depicting scenes of everyday life, including domestic interiors, parties, inn scenes, and street scenes"(Stokstad Glossary pg. 5). Next skill was glazing and impasto and this was one of the more simple tasks performed during the Baroque period. Glazing is just when the artist puts a layer of liquid onto a piece of art and this gives it a waterproof and decorative surface. Then impasto is just simply the application of thick layers of pigment to a painting to give it a clear texture.

Also according to our book in Art History, "Etching process, a metal plate is coated on both sides with an acid-resistant varnish... then the artist draws through the varnish with a sharp needle to expose the metal" (Stokstad pg. 772). In this process the artist can easily control the amount of acid that stays on the metal and in fact can determine how thick or thin the lines will be. The next technique that is important in the Baroque art era is that of dry point. In this procedure the artist uses a tool that will be used to pencil in lines into the metal. The Art History text describes the etching tool well,

"The engraving tool, or burin, is held straight and throws up equal amounts of metal, called burr, on both sides of the line, but the dry point needle is held at a slight slant and throws up most of the burr on one side" (Stokstad pg. 772).

The last major technique of this time frame is that of tenebrism (chiaroscuro). According to Marilyn Stokstad in Art History, "forms emerge from a dark background into a strong light that often falls from a single source outside the painting; the effect of that is a modern spotlight" (pg. 736). This is one of the major reasons that this time era of Baroque was so appealing to me was because of the many different techniques that were used to develop amazing pieces of artwork. Through out the chapter tenebrism is discussed quit a bit due to the amount of art work that utilized this technique. Caravaggio was one artist who did use this technique such as in The Calling of Saint Matthew. According to Baroque and Rococo Art, "Caravaggio's sharply rendered light, although it emphasized the modeling of his figures, was always in a sense abstract" (Andersen pg. 36). Caravaggio



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