Gallery Design Regions during the Baroque Period

Gallery Design Regions during the Baroque Period

GalleryDesign: Regions during the Baroque Period

GalleryDesign: Regions during the Baroque Period

TheBaroque is thought to be a period during which an artistic style wasused as an exaggeration of motion. The motion was clear andinterpreted easily to detail to create drama, exuberance, tension,and grandeur in painting, sculpture, literature, and architecture.The period began in Rome, Italy during the 1600s and spread acrossEurope. The Baroque style became popular and successful to a pointthat the aristocrats saw Baroque’s dramatic style and art as a wayof expressing triumph to visitors, control, and power. The Baroqueentrances to its palaces were built on grand staircases, courts, andthe reception rooms, which inevitably increased opulence. However,according to Kleiner (2014), the Baroque has application andresonance that extended beyond simplicity in reduction to either itsstyle or period.

TheBaroque art, according to Haynes (2007), appeared almost at the sametime in almost each of the European capitals. Artists from severalnationalities in the early 1600s that worked in different countriescame up with artistic work of great originality. The paper therefore,aims at looking into the three regions that defined the Baroqueperiod. The paper will achieve this through the questions asked andwords used by the art historians. Additionally, the paper will alsogive important similarities and differences between these three inregard to the media, methods, and the subjects.

TheBaroque Period

Thebaroque period began at the beginning of the 1600s and lasted until1750s. During the period, different regions viewed and embraced thebaroque art, which included painting, architecture, and sculpture.The baroque period was also divided into three sections the earlybaroque (1590-1625), the high baroque (1625-16660), and the latebaroque (1660-1725). The baroque art manifested itself withsimilarities and differences in Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain,which owed to their unique cultural and political climates.

Thebaroque in Italy emanated from the very first painter, MichelangeloMerisi da Caravaggio. Known in the entire Rome, his baroque artrevolved around paintings on large canvasses, which mostly depictedreligious subjects found on the New Testament. In terms of subjects,the baroque in Italy were inspired by the Catholic, which accordingto International Congress of the History of Art (2003), were intendedto be public art’s large-scale works. Using the historians’words, the art would be referred to as monumental wall-paintingcoupled with huge frescoes that were meant to be placed on the vaultsand ceilings of the churches and palaces. Looking at the subjects inItaly, the baroque art in Rome and the entire region of Italy usedthe art materials as an illustration of important elements of whatthe Catholic dogma had, either directly in what Biblical worksdemanded or indirectly in allegorical or mythological compositions.

Inregard to the methods used in Rome, Italy, and along with what theart historians would term as monumental, the methods used included ahigh-minded approach with high sense of movement on the artists’part. The methods include the use of upward diagonals and swirlingspirals, and powerful sumptuous coloring schemes in the paintings.The baroque painting in Rome, Italy, used a new technique of what theart historians would call “chiaroscuro” and “tenebrism”(Kleiner, 2014). This was developed to complement the atmospherearound the painting. The baroque art in this region includedpaintings that used materials, for example brushwork, which was broadand creamy, often resulting in what Fitzpatrick (2006), referred itas thick “impasto”.

Similarly,the Netherlands’ baroque art draws a lot of comparison to that ofItaly. Considering the Netherlands assumed the origin of modern art,which mostly involved paintings and architecture, the new paintingand architectural work was that of bourgeois economy. However, thedifferences to that of Italy was that whereas the pope and the upperclass were at the time the major patrons in the region, Holland’sdevelopment of free art access resulted in a major change todifferences in art that was produced at the time (Haynes, 2007).Similarity to Italian subjects was that the Netherland subjects, whoincluded renowned artists, were also interested majorly on drama thatcame with baroque art, putting emphasis on the moment, while alsofocusing on the diagonal and light lines.

Thedifferences to that of Italy was also because of the media(materials) used. The art historian, for example the Flemish artist,Paul Rubens (1576-1640) employed an entrepreneurial spirit to whatcharacterized the Netherlands baroque art. In terms of the materials,the Netherlands baroque art was partly similar to that of Italy, butmajority of the paintings was made to cover a wider range ofsubjects. The patronage that characterized the region’s baroqueperiod was the subject matter, which included art works in thechurch, the Flanders, and private citizens. The baroque art wasmostly found in workshop with a lot of apprentices.

Thedifference between Italy’s and the Netherland’s subjects was,according to Haynes (2007), as a result of the media, which focusedmore on the patron to baroque art at the time. Another subject, whowas another of Holland’s master of the baroque period, was known asRembrandt wan Rijn. The subject in question was often asked about bythe art historians, and the answer given revolved around a member ofthe reformed church patronage, and strong ties were held. As part ofthe baroque art in the Netherlands, the theatrical lights as part ofthe materials used during the period were different to that used inthe Italian region (Kleiner, 2014). The Netherlands subject exhibitedspecific interest on the art’s use of the material. The lights wereused to control the element used in the composition during theperiod, unlike in the Italy’s region, was used to illuminateshadows that were created.

Spainis another region that played a role during the Baroque period. Aspart of the Golden Age experience during the 1600s, the art just likeit was in literature was characterized in simplicity and humblereality that emerged almost immediately after the start of thecentury. In Madrid and Seville for example, the sculptors andpainters created works, which was so lifelike that at some point, washard to tell the real difference between the art and what wasconsidered to be real. In respect to methods and media (materials)used in Spain, most of them draws similarities to the Italian baroqueart. Considering it originated from Italy, the baroque art, whichincluded architecture and paintings were adopted by the Spanishartists (Haynes, 2007). The Materials whose canvasses depictedopulence and haughty formality, held a Spanish feel of royalhousehold.

Consideringthe baroque style of art played a role on the rest of Europe, theDutch with slight art similarities to Italy than to Spain, perfectedits characteristic style that resulted in direct of commercial andpolitical accomplishments. These accomplishments were a result ofemphasis that was placed on the beauty that nature had on the locals.Similarities to the media used by the Spanish to that of the Dutchhad a sober, warmly soft, and detailed to the use of colors,especially their paintings (International Congress of the History ofArt, 2003). The yellow and brown colors were mostly preferred sincealmost every town in Spain and Netherlands, for instance Madrid andAmsterdam used the methods of rubbing “shadows” on the paintings.

TheSpanish painting for instance, had similarities with that ofCaravaggio’s in that it was evident in the use of bold butlight-bathed naturalism of the materials used. However, thedifference between the Spanish baroque and that of the Dutch andItaly was that the architectural methods used illustrated a humanfigure that was involved in dramatic sense of physical action. TheItalian Flemish artist for instance that choose different methodologyof doing portraits of Queen Anne and Marie de Medicis, choose tavernlounger and fishwives (Kleiner, 2014). The differences betweenSpanish and Italian regions were also notable in the baroquearchitecture. International Congress of the History of Art (2003)observed that the paints were centered in Italy but its importanceand use were found Spain. The design of the colonnades, for example,were done outside the St. Peter’s Basilica, but the baroque styleused Spanish application of curvy lines and vast spaces as opposed tothose in Italy.

Duringthe baroque period, the three regions boasted of unique array oftalented artist and a characteristic extravagant, triumphant, andmelodramatic style that was religious grandeur. The religious feel inthese regions were mostly felt in Italy where the use of differentmedia (materials) commissioned by the monarchs and the Catholicreformation exemplified visionary sculptures that were Bernini’sarchitecture (Haynes, 2007). Differences in the natural style appliedin the three regions brought about figurative composition to itssubjects. Caravaggio for instance, made a huge difference infigurative paintings, while the Dutch, Nicolas Poussin, applied histalents on sentimental pictures to illustrate the intended meaning.

Reasonsfor the Differences

Butwhy would these differences between the three regions exist? Thediversity during the baroque period in these three regions was as aresult of several factors. First, it was about the geographicalpositioning of the regions. As much as the three regions are found inEurope, the renaissance of baroque art appeared almost at the sametime, but was partly influence by geography. Geography played a rolein what the artists saw it as earthy realism, with most of themsharing preferences in terms of style and subject matter that was thebaroque art (International Congress of the History of Art, 2003).Additionally, geography ensured that the regions influenced a uniquestyle of sculptures, paintings, and how architectural designs matchedthe demands of the regions’ culture.

Secondly,religious beliefs and practices had a huge impact on the manner inwhich the regions influenced the artists’ choice of arts. Haynes(2007) observed that the reformation of the mid-1600s divided thesethree regions into what was referred to as the Catholic andProtestant countries. In the Netherlands for example, being a protestregion meant that the art was viewed to be unnecessary luxury, and asa result, was suppressed. Little came out of the region althoughthere were some artists who were unfazed. The few artists in Hollandcame up with an entirely unique form of baroque art. InternationalCongress of the History of Art (2003) observed that the art was basedentirely on the routine of daily life in the region.

InSpain and Italy for example, influenced the differences in the art byensuring the sculptors and painters continued with the biblicalstories as part of their main primary subject. The Italian artist,Caravaggio, who mostly worked in the Italian capital, created arealistic depiction based on the biblical stories, and the paintingsreturned to the design’s initial clarity (Kleiner, 2014). InCarracci’s baroque art, most of them were different in that it wasinfluenced by the religious subject in his home country.

Inconclusion, the Baroque period is presented with three regions withits similarities and differences. The similarities are influenced byfactors whose classical statues, architectural designs, andpaintings, are part of the regions’ approach to art. Thedifferences are also part of the period’s diverse influence on theart, whereby factors such as religion and geographical location playsa role.


Kleiner,F. S. (2014). Gardner’sart through the ages: The western perspective(14th ed., Vol. II). Boston, MA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.WWW.sCHOLASTIC.COM/BROWSE/ARTICLE.JSP?D

Haynes,B. (2007). Theend of early music: A period performer`s history of music for thetwenty-first century.Oxford: Oxford University Press.

InternationalCongress of the History of Art (2003). LatinAmerican art, and the baroque period in Europe.Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press.