Baroque architecture

The Baroque architecture is a style of construction that began hundreds of years ago in Italy . It was seen as a new way of representing and exploring technical aspects of architecture such as light, shadow and intensity. Its proportions were characterized by being large, by having central open spaces, by columns and theatrical effects. It was a movement that was always linked to the Counter-Reformation, making known the wealth and power that the Catholic Church had .

Related topics

Gothic architecture ,  modern architecture , Renaissance architecture , Roman architecture

What is baroque architecture?

Baroque architecture is a type of construction that adopted the Roman style modernizing it with the aim of being able to show the people the great power that the Roman Catholic church had . An architecture that used unfinished elements to show unique characteristics in his works.

  • What does it consist of
  • Baroque architecture features
  • History
  • Elements of baroque architecture
  • Styles
  • materials
  • Building types
  • Baroque religious architecture
  • Baroque architecture by country
  • Representatives
  • Examples of baroque architecture

What does it consist of

Baroque architecture consists of a type of construction full of dynamism and movement where curves, decoration and complexity predominate in its structures. It can be distinguished from other types of architecture mainly by its well-sculpted surfaces to achieve a three-dimensional appearance . It was a building movement that took into account the vision of the Renaissance but that showed it in a more theatrical way, thereby representing the triumph and power of the church .

It was an architectural style that was concerned with displaying the circular shapes in its naves, for giving a greater dramatic use to light and for the use of opulent ornaments . They also used frescoes on the ceilings and a series of paint mixes to further highlight the works.

Baroque architecture features

Among the main characteristics of baroque architecture we can mention the following:

  • Greater importance is given to facades , greater decorative elements and it is seen more as a type of architectural decoration .
  • The use of curved lines instead of straight lines was adopted to inject the works with greater expressiveness.
  • Circular and elliptical plants were used allowing a better adaptation.
  • It was a form of construction that sought to maintain the correct symmetry of Renaissance architecture .
  • The columns were crooked and were not built for stability but simply as a decorative element.
  • The details used for decorations with this style of art were highly detailed.
  • The shapes had a sense of movement and were built with different types of windows.
  • There was a greater integration between architecture and painting .
  • The ceilings were decorated using different frescoes, walls and ceilings.
  • The concepts that existed about volume and symmetry were quickly changed by greater dynamism and theatricality .


During the year 1527 in Europe , the Catholic religion dominated the area and had all the power to inform and direct art in society, it was at that time that a movement against the Protestant Reformation originated . After this, it was necessary to find a way to attract new faithful and one of the best options was through art . The artists of the time also decided to revive the ideals of Renaissance greatness, especially in music , art and architecture, giving greater importance to extravagance and ornamentation .

This style of art was known to the Baroque and was characterized by its details , its high level of visual language and its magnificence in a period that had already been very weak for the artistic world. Little by little it spread throughout Europe and found strong support in the Pope and the Catholic rulers of Italy, France and Spain.

Elements of baroque architecture

There are several elements considered within baroque architecture, among them the following are mentioned:

  • Constant search for instability .
  • Movement through different resources such as elliptical shaped plants, facades full of life and movement, the use of dashed lines instead of straight lines, the use of elliptical, oval and mixed walls and arches .
  • The brackets decorative as the Solomonic column and Stipe.
  • Interior and exterior lights .
  • Vault-shaped covers .
  • Large Renaissance domes .
  • The use of moldings and pediments .
  • Entries and exits that allowed the play of space and volume .
  • Interiors that focused on showing the mysterious and the infinite.
  • The use of materials such as stone , brick and stucco .


  • The main styles of baroque architecture are:
  • Solomonic or helical baroque that gave a greater lightness to the constructions.
  • Baroque stipe where they built inverted high vertices and it was based on four different elements, the base, stipe, the cube and the capital.
  • Purist baroque that had architectural elements such as classical columns, curves and secondary elements.
  • Talavera Baroque that used glazed tiles and clay, coverings on the covers and domes and pictorial textures.
  • Baroque stucco , a more decorative and didactic style.


The construction of Baroque buildings at the time was done using inexpensive materials but capable of highlighting the beauty and majesty of the work. In most constructions the use of stone , brick and stucco predominated . In some buildings it was also customary, on the inside, to use materials such as marble , in order to provide more luxury. The bronze was another of the materials used in baroque architecture.

Building types

There are several types of buildings that used baroque architecture to be built. Probably the most important of them was the church , buildings that focused on displaying the greatness of architecture , luxury, and detail . The palaces also used the Baroque for their opulent constructions, in them the importance of the decoration and the symmetrical centers that were located within the internal part of the construction could be clearly observed, which in turn led to an internal courtyard and vestibule. .

In some occasions this type of architecture was used for the urban planning of the area, mainly in Rome, where it was tried to give more dynamism and openness to the city, seeking the creation of central foci through the domes and obelisks.

Baroque religious architecture

Baroque religious architecture focused on meeting the needs that arose after the Counter-Reformation , among which the longitudinal arrangement , the side chapels and a greater space were important. In the churches, the construction of more centralized plants was sought, mainly oval in shape and great importance was given to decoration .

Baroque architecture by country


Baroque architecture in Spain had three important periods, the first one during the 17th century and it was a time of great sobriety in the structures as well as great decorative elements. The second period corresponds to the second half of the 17th century and it was a period that was more marked by excessive decoration . Finally, the final period was at the beginning of the 18th century and was based on a freer and more fantasy- like type of ornament where more balanced trends predominated in architecture.


It was also known by the name of French classicism and it was an architectural style inspired by the Italian Baroque style . Great importance was given to order, to the use of columns and domes as a symbol of power and greatness . They also introduced the use of wrought iron, the inclusion of formal gardens and the construction of monumental squares. It was a movement that from its beginnings looked for the way to express the power and the majesty of the kings of France.


It was the most important place for this type of architecture and it was where great changes occurred thanks to the ornamental transformations . There was great interest in demonstrating the power of the Catholic Church and curved lines, spirals, concave and convex shapes , more colorful decorations, wider interior spaces , and a large number of paintings and sculptures were used with the aim of creating theatrical art.


Among the main representatives of baroque architecture we can mention:

  • Pietro Berrettini da Cortona
  • Bernini
  • Francesco Borromini
  • Louis Le Vau
  • Jules Hardouin Mansart
  • Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach
  • Bartolomeo Rastrelli

Examples of baroque architecture

Some examples of Baroque architecture are mentioned below:

  • San Carlo Church in Rome
  • St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican
  • Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral in London
  • The Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg
  • The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain


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