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The History Of Baroque

Parun Pereira Feb 28, 2019
The word Baroque is a relatively broad term which finds its roots in the early 17th century. The origins of Baroque can be traced to Rome, Italy. The term incorporates various forms of art such as painting, literature, music, and sculpture.
In the early days, the Baroque tradition expressed itself in a grand manner. The word "baroque", according to the Oxford English dictionary comes from the Portuguese word "barroco" meaning "imperfect pearl".
This movement gained popularity in different forms, and the artists experimented with various styles. Orchestral differences in art were visible in different regions.


The various forms of Baroque lie embedded in its historical content. The 17th century marked the beginning of the modern age. Awareness and perceptions were constantly changing. Religion played a huge role too. Sculpture and painting employed qualities that were dramatic and expressive.
Political movements influenced art during colonization of European nations. The "Rococo" style was implemented in France in 1720. It was a style that was considered mainly for decorative arts and interiors.
Baroque, in the form of paintings, had a unique characterization in terms of feel, color, intensity, and shadow. Baroque paintings depicted images to evoke emotion. The portrait style of painting used light shadows to convey meaning and passion. Artists chose to capture dramatic events that occurred over a period of time.
The Baroque movement in architecture brought about a change in the world of interiors. Throne rooms and chamber rooms used pale colors to highlight shape and structure. Baroque architecture took shape in Italy, introducing theatrical expression using color.
The freedom of expression using allegory was commonly seen in literature. Virtuosity was a term that was associated with artists. Research led to the word "virtuoso" being collectively used in any form of art.
A significant part of this tradition revolved around music. The skill of composition in this era was astounding. The intricate improvisation used in this period is a testimony to the fact that, musicians and composers were way ahead of their times. Western classical music today owes a lot to music from this particular period.
Operas came into existence using dramatic vocal range accompanied by music. Some of the early operas were staged for private audiences. Later on they were commercially open to the public. Opera houses in Italy drew large crowds. Melodic content in the backdrop of chordal accompaniment marked a new age in music.
Instrumental music gave rise to soloists. The strings section formed an integral part of concerto. The dynamic contrast in various sections of a concerto were backed by unexpected tempo changes which gave compositions a whole new meaning.
Human forms and figures constituted a major part of the Baroque culture. The demand for stone sculptures grew steadily during this era. Carving stone to give shape in the form of life like human figures involved a great deal of patience and virtuosity. Marble sculptures were extensively used in chapels.
The positioning of statues, interspersed with the use of sunlight and moonlight, were theatrically used in chapels. Marble carvings depicted human emotions on the faces of statues. Bust portraits were another form of sculpture which gained momentum during these times.
The Baroque period helped artists of various disciplines flourish in their chosen profession. The freedom of expression through different forms of art, involved a wide array of human emotions. This nurtured the epitome of various disciplines. Even today, this era acts as an important referral point for professionals involved with various disciplines in art.