10,062 artworks, 593 artists
Baroque (from Italian – “bizarre”) is an art movement that originated in Italy and dominated in Europe in the 16—18th centuries. What was the impetus for its development? Thanks to the high-profile scientific discoveries of that period, the concept of personality and the universe has changed in society. Eventually, there arose a need to show the illusion of one’s own permissiveness against the backdrop of financial distress. A person could feel like a creator, a special spirit of rebellion and sensuality burst into the style.

Distinctive features of the paintings of the Baroque era were pomp, solemnity, dynamics. The Baroque art style is characterized by unusual contrasting colour scales, a play of light and shadow, a bizarre combination of fantasy and a fictional world. The Baroque painting embodied the advanced thoughts about greatness and ambiguity of the universe, infinity and diversity of the world, and its continuous transformation.

In the canvases of that period, the man and his position in society were emphasized. No less popular were the works depicting the rulers along with the ancient gods or mythical characters. Still life paintings demonstrating the richness of the natural blessings were also typical of the Baroque style.

Painters of the Baroque style

The main theme of the paintings of that time is mythology and religious subjects. At the same time, mythical and fantastic characters looked quite natural and real in baroque paintings. The portrait genre was very popular; often wealthy merchants and the aristocracy commissioned to the artists large canvases, which depicted their whole family.

The founder of the Baroque style in art was Michelangelo da Caravaggio, he was also considered one of the most influential artists of that era. He was the inventor of a distinctive feature of the Baroque painting – bright lighting of the scene from the dark. In his works, Caravaggio sought to embody reality, no matter how unattractive it was. The main theme of his paintings was religious subjects, often his subjects were common people. Caravaggio’s famous painting “Crucifixion of St. Peter” depicts an important Christian subject, it is based on the play of light and shadow, conveying the unbearable realism.

Particular seriousness, with some fanaticism, was inherent in Spanish painting of the Baroque era. The masters of painting preferred to use dark tones and a “basement” lighting, which gave the necessary atmosphere to the images of saints and real people. The Spaniard El Greco was a famous artist of the Baroque era; his canvases captured all the horrors of the Inquisition. The human figures in El Greco’s works are unnaturally elongated and disproportionate; people are depicted with the emaciated faces. The most famous canvases are “The Burial of the Count of Orgaz”, “Lady in a Fur Wrap”, and “The Penitent Magdalene”.

The brightest Baroque painter was Diego Velázquez. The Spanish artist presented the world with the works that are distinguished by extraordinary realism. He was honoured to paint portraits of the entire royal family and their entourage. His most famous canvases are “Venus at Her Mirror”, “Portrait of Pope Innocent X”.

The Baroque paintings reflected the then advanced methods of interpreting forms in space. Many tragic conflicts in the art of that period became the basis for beautiful creations.