What is Baroque Art? – Definition, Concept and Characteristics

The Baroque art  began as a continuation of the Renaissance. However, scholars of the time began to see the drastic differences between the two styles, and also how the Renaissance style gave way to Baroque art.. Likewise, both baroque architecture, sculpture and painting have a dramatic character. Thus, they were powerful tools in the hands of the religious and secular absolutism that flourished in the service of the Catholic Church and Catholic monarchies. Hence, Baroque artists focused particularly on shapes, spaces, colors and natural lights. As well as, in the relationship between the observer and the literary subject or portrait to produce a strong, almost muted emotional experience. We invite you to read and learn more about this important art below.

What is Baroque Art?

Currently, baroque art is considered one of the greatest artistic declarations that encompassed various movements, both political and religious and social. As the vast majority will know, baroque art is a continuation of an artistic movement called Italian mannerism that lasted until the middle of the 16th century.

The baroque as an artistic movement, is recognized as one of the most complex artistic styles that abandons all that classical serenity, which on the other hand characterized mannerism, and begins to manifest in his works the agitation and movement of all the senses. For this reason, baroque art is considered a trend of ostentation and exaggeration.

The Baroque art was created at the time of the Renaissance and neoclassicism before. It began to become popular in Italy and then spread to the rest of Europe. Likewise, the Baroque is a cultural movement, an artistic style developed between the 17th century and the mid-18th century, reaching various disciplines such as architecture, painting, music and literature. Likewise, the characteristic that most defines it is excessive ornamentation.

Keywords: works of the baroque, characteristics of the baroque, characteristics of baroque painting, artists of the baroque

Origin of Baroque art

The Baroque art in architecture the Baroque art emerged as a style promoted mainly by the Catholic Church since the reformist ideas and rationalists tried to put aside religion not only in artistic spaces but also in the daily lives of individuals. To speak of the origin of baroque art we have to distinguish two things: political and religious causes and psychological and social causes.

Political and religious causes : possibly today everyone knows baroque art as an art of counter-reform. The Catholic church to act against Protestantism, ordered the construction of various temples with an excess of sculpture. In addition, not only that, but he demanded that the artists move away from creating works with pagan themes and therefore they had to avoid nudes or rowdy scenes. With what we call Baroque, strict and conservative rules were developed.

The psychological and social causes : in the seventeenth century life was full of pain and death due to the appearance of war. With this new need, the Baroque artist tries to experiment with art until giving rise to movement and color, which is why the works of that century try to transmit a stir and love for life represented in a dramatic way. With this new need to experience baroque art, he begins to be characterized by the use of the “game of shadows” and the magnificent and spectacular decoration.

Definition of Baroque Art

In Fine Arts, the term Baroque is derived from the Portuguese ‘barocco’ which means, pearl or irregular stone and describes a rather complex language, originating in Rome, which flourished during the period between the years 1590 and 1720, which includes painting and sculpture as well as architecture.

After the idealism of the Renaissance (1400-1530) and the nature of mannerism (1530-1600), Baroque art reflects above all the religious tensions of the time. In particular, the desire of the Catholic Church in Rome (already announced in the Council of Trent, 1545-63), to reaffirm itself at the root of the Protestant reform. Therefore it is almost synonymous with the Catholic art of the Counter Reformation of the time.

Many Catholic Emperors and Kings in Europe had a major stake in the success of the Catholic Church, therefore a large number of architectural designs, paintings, and sculptures were commissioned by the royal courts of Spain, France, and elsewhere, in parallel with the Global campaign of Catholic Christian art, pursued by the Vatican, in order to glorify its own divine greatness, in the process of strengthening its political position. By comparison, Baroque art in Protestant areas like Holland had much less religious content and instead, was designed essentially to appeal to the rising aspirations of merchants and the middle classes.

To fulfill its role as a propagandist, Catholic-inspired Baroque art used to be from great public works of art, such as monumental wall paintings and huge frescoes on the ceilings and vaults of churches and palaces. Thus, baroque painting illustrates the fundamental elements of Catholic dogma, either directly in biblical works, or indirectly in mythological or allegorical compositions. Along with this monumental, magnanimous approach, painters typically portray a strong sense of movement, using spiraling eddies and upward diagonals and strong sumptuous colors, to dazzle and amaze.

Likewise, new techniques of tenebrism and chiaroscuro were developed to improve the environment. The broad, creamy brushstroke often results in thick fillings. However, the theatricality and melodrama of Baroque painting was not well received by later critics, such as the influential John Ruskin (1819-1900), who considered them false. In Baroque sculpture, the size was typically larger, characterized by a similar feeling of dynamic movement, coupled with an active use of space.

Characteristics of Baroque Art

-Representation of feelings and emotions rather than the mere imitation of the reality that surrounded the artists of the time.

-The works in baroque art   include religious themes that had been neglected by the Renaissance and seek to represent them in a highly expressive way.

-They have a strong sense of movement, energy and tension.

-Strong contrasts of light and shadow enhance the scenographic effects of many paintings, sculptures and architectural works.

-An intense spirituality that appears frequently in scenes of ecstasy, martyrdom and miraculous apparitions.

-The suggestion of huge spaces is frequent in Baroque painting and sculpture; In both the Renaissance and the Baroque, painters always sought in their works the correct representation of space and perspective.

-Naturalism is another essential characteristic of baroque art; the figures are not represented in the paintings as simple stereotypes but individually, with their own personality.

-The artists sought the representation of inner feelings, passions and temperaments, magnificently reflected in the faces of their characters.

-The intensity and immediacy, individualism and detail of Baroque art made it one of the most deeply-rooted styles of Western art.

-The buildings used to be built with poor materials but highlighting the majesty and monumentality of the work.

The Baroque Sculpture

In baroque art the themes tend to be more profane, mythological, where the nude acquires particular importance, sculpture becomes urban, they appear in the streets, squares and fountains, integrated with architecture.

Sculpture in the Baroque period takes on great decorative importance, that importance is due to the great dynamism and movement it suffers. The works of art represent slow, violent and exalted passions, with these representations great importance is given to heroic themes and also new themes such as moral and religious themes are introduced. It is characterized by its strength and its monumentality, its compositional movement, its dynamism, projected outwards, in its diagonal compositions, its expressiveness and its treatment of clothing. Likewise, the main material for the sculpture will be polychrome wood and it is also characterized by great realism, although the artists’ main clients would be the Churches and that is why religious themes predominate.

In this sense, baroque sculpture also stands out for its complicated structure and dramatic liveliness. Likewise, the main characteristic of Baroque sculpture is its great movement. Likewise, the images show the violent, slow and exalted passions. Therefore, in the baroque sculpture, the valorization of the heroic of the Renaissance culture is evident as a result of the counter-reform, the painting of El Greco and Caravaggio, which introduced new religious and moral contents. Which contributed to a radical renewal of figurative expression. 

Below you will find a brief description of its most notable representatives. 

-Miguel Ángel : He was a great sculptor of the high renaissance. His most outstanding work is composed by David and even earlier by the battles of Goliath. Michelangelo was part of the height of the Italian Renaissance. So, in the Renaissance, perfection was defended, the harmony of proportions, reason. Likewise, it was an art based on science, logic and the contemplation of sculpture, from which Baroque Art is created.  

-Gian Lorenzo Bernini: It was a remarkable Baroque sculptor, who also produced a Baroque David surprised in the act of throwing a stone, highlighting in this magnificent sculpture the expression of David’s face. Baroque Art is evidenced in this sculpture, which was meant to evoke emotion and passion instead of the calm and rationality that had been appreciated during the Renaissance. Bernini was one of the greatest representatives of Baroque production in Italy. So in his works, the Baroque is manifested that prevailed by the excesses, the distortions, the emotions, the free artistic creation and the interaction of the spectator with the work. Thus, Bernini’s David, which is only 1 meter and 70 centimeters tall (it is a life-size sculpture), was produced to occupy the room of a mansion, and he has his muscles (mainly the facial ones) fully contracted to accompany his movement of throwing the stone. Its body twists into an unthinkable spiral for classic patterns (which always opted for the frontality of the image).

Baroque painting

The artists of the Baroque shape reality as it sees it with its imprecise limits, its forms that go in and out, inconsequential foreground objects, foreshortenings and violent postures, diagonal compositions that give the work great dynamism. The most used themes were religious, scenes of saints, mythological, the portrait, both individual and group, and still life arises as a new theme. Therefore, in baroque art there are two different aesthetics: tenebrism and eclecticism.

In tenebrism , there is a phenomenon that consists of the violent clash of light against the shadow, leaving the background in darkness, while the scene is in the foreground.

Eclecticism differs because it is about saving the classic taste within the new norm, being a dramatic and dramatic decorative aesthetic.

Characteristics of Baroque Painting

Baroque painting will be characterized by great expressiveness in terms of the figures shown and by the intense chiaroscuro difference. He will resort to the intensity of colors and the use of shadows and lights that generates a powerful distinction in spaces, to complex and even chaotic figures, to the intense expression of looks. The painting played an important and homogeneous role that gradually moved to different countries and with this extension, two contrary ideas were manifested. With these contrary ideas we find the courtly, theatrical, luxurious and Catholic baroque and the second idea would be the bourgeois baroque that in his works would manifest a normal and real life.

Outstanding artists in Baroque Painting

José de Ribera : born in 1591. His favorite subjects are the scenes of martyrdom and penitents with a very dramatic dark style with great realism. His works take great realism with a mastery of drawing and extraordinary color, as an example we have Piety. Later it will have an illuminist style, as an example we have the Immaculate. See José de Ribera’s biography 

-Diego Velázquez : was born in 1599. His first stage was tenebrist and he made still lifes of great realism such as the Old woman frying egg, El aguador. Felipe IV appointed him a camera painter and dedicated himself to painting portraits, mythological subjects, historical pictures and landscapes. He has a masterful command of aerial perspective, light, drawing and bright color with loose brush strokes. As an example we have Los borrachos, La Venus del Espejo, Las hilanderías, but his masterpiece was Las Meninas. You can see the biography of Velázquez

-Francisco de Zurbarán : born in 1598. His style is tenebrist and he painted religious themes with a simple and static composition, he uses a firm drawing with a great study of volume and rich colors. He also paints ascetic still lifes, mystics and portraits of the divine of saints, as an example we have the Santa Casilda and Santa Margarita. You can see here the biography of Francisco de Zurbarán

-Bartolomé E. Murillo : was born in 1617. He had a gloomy youthful first phase, with a luminous style. He has great success as a painter of religious subjects full of grace, delicate and sweet, richly colored, loose and vaporous. We have outstanding works such as his Immaculates, Los Niños de la Concha, Niños eating fruit. You can see Murillo’s biography here. 

-Michelangelo Merisi Caravaggio : Considered one of the best and greatest painters of the Baroque, of Italian origin. This painter made works in Rome, Sicily, Naples and Malta between 1592 and 1610. The remarkable thing about his paintings is that they are a combination of a realistic observation of the human state, both emotional and physical.

– Peter Paul Rubens . This painter was very prolific and possibly the most famous, of the art of baroque painting. His style reflects his great influence and relationship with Caravaggio and his works represent religious figures. What made Rubens’ art the most different was the expression of extreme emotion, but in the smallest detail. However, his penchant for painting the curvy female figure must be recognized.

Rembrandt Harmenszoon Van Rijn . It is believed that this baroque painter had a great rivalry with the famous Rubens and is considered the main artist of the Netherlands. He was a keen painter of drawing, oil painting, and engraving. Thus, Rembrandt’s Baroque paintings depict Biblical scenes, history, and self-portraits. He also painted landscapes and life stories of his contemporaries.

Baroque Architecture

In baroque art, architecture is frequently linked to urban planning. There are different very prominent buildings such as the palace, a typical urban housing building for powerful families; the hotel, which was a type of free and bourgeois single-family house, surrounded by gardens; the temple that was a place of the sermon and the eucharist.

Baroque art develops a clearly ornate and detailed style, greatly opposed to the simplicity of the Renaissance style. The main characteristic of the architecture of this period are the curved lines that create an effect of expressiveness and dynamism, seeking the use of all the available space with elements such as the curve and the counter-curve, in addition to the incredible sculptural decorations that left no space Unfilled. With this new feature at this stage the facades take the main role in the architecture and with it numerous columns and cornices appear. So at this stage architecture could be considered a style of architectural decoration. For this reason, in this period the architecture stands out for its undulating surfaces, its interrupted connections and its oval floors.

Baroque Architecture in Latin America

The mixture of the Renaissance forms with the indigenous culture, gave rise to the first constructions in America that included hybrid Spanish and indigenous forms and that gave rise to an architecture characteristic of the place.

The baroque style had an important reception in Spanish-American architecture. Since, during this time, the pacific acceptance of the Spaniards in the less warlike indigenous towns, produces the ultra-baroque, due to the exaggeration of the forms and the very sui generis way of making the decorations. Likewise, the use of color is an important element of the colonial baroque, evidenced by the stone, the white plastered brick, the red oxide tone tincture of the brick, the polychrome plaster and the tiles. As a characteristic example is the facade of the church of San Francisco de Ecatepec, where the interior is clearly seen with reddish bricks alternated with tiles.

In Peru, from the architectural point of view, Baroque art is reflected in the smaller facades as well as in the framed towers. However, the vault is little used. Similarly, the Solomonic columns are widely used, including on the facades. Among the most outstanding constructions are the convents with two-story cloisters, noting that on the highest floor, the number of arches doubles. Being one of the most outstanding works, the church of San Francisco de Quito, where it is a matter of repeating the exuberance of its interior abroad, as well as the convents of La Merced, Santo Domingo, in Lima, that of San Agustín or San Francisco and the church of San Ignacio, in Quito.

In colonial dwellings in Latin America, the trends and influences of Baroque art stand out even today, for their facades, which have large barred windows on cantilevered shelves, with very long and simple walls, and between the windows there are pillars, they are for decoration only.

The doors attract attention for the decorative detail, in different shapes, including the family crest of those who inhabit the house, surrounded by plant elements, pillars and decorative capitals. Similarly, in the windows there are also bars that stand out on shelves topped by a dust remover with a wooden shutter, blinds and lattices. The bars can be made of wood or iron. In two-story houses, the balconies represent decorative elements of great importance, standing out on the facades.

Baroque Literature

Baroque literature is a genre of prose from the 17th century that has several distinctive features compared to literary styles from previous centuries. The Baroque era is characterized by the use of dramatic elements in all forms of art, and works of Baroque literature are generally no exception.

Thus, the writers of this period of time expanded and perfected the use of allegories with multiple layers of meaning. Smaller metaphors are also frequent marks of this genre, and many works of Baroque literature focus on humanity’s struggle to find the deep meaning of existence.

Many stories designated under the focus of Baroque literature are known for being richly detailed descriptions of characters and values ​​that reflect realistic life rather than fantasy worlds. Tales and novels of the Baroque period therefore fall into the category of realism. Metaphors also became more prominent in the Baroque, written under the inspiration of imaginative and speculative thought in the minds of readers. Various works of baroque literature were directed to various religious ideas because some baroque writers worked under the patronage of the church as other types of artists did.

In this sense, the Baroque period was the first period of time in which different artists were recognized as virtuous and several writers were included in this category. Scholars who studied Baroque literature often realized that they addressed readers’ beliefs and assumptions more directly than other genres of earlier times.

Many stories from the Baroque era focused on the individual, rather than a collective group, a feature that reflects changing attitudes during this time period. Therefore, Baroque literature published in languages ​​other than Latin was also common, reflecting the importance of cultural identity, as well as increased literacy rates among people who did not belong to the higher social and economic classes. .

How did Baroque Literature develop?

The main characteristics of the literary style known as baroque are a great emphasis on originality and an overabundance of stylistic resources, especially metaphors, hyperbole and antithesis. The purpose of a literary work in Baroque literature was for the reader to evoke strong emotions in it. The Baroque worldview combines the religiosity of the Middle Ages with the ideas of the Renaissance (interest in nature, history and the individual).

In the 17th century (the period known as the late Baroque), the number and refinement of stylistic resources increases. Hence, the Baroque is in particular mostly from religious works created in the period that outnumbered secular works. The latter consisted in part of verse poetry, epos, tales, and historical chronicles, while preaching, dramas, and treatises remained almost exclusively religious.

This was due to the fact that the writers of the time were mainly members of the clergy and laity, as the patrons were few, since there was no lay school of higher education and the circles of readers turned Latin literature to the end. to polish your literary needs. These conditions led to an emphasis on religious works among Greek and Orthodox Catholics. The literary language of the time lacked any set of norms, since there was no authorized intellectual center to analyze and improve it.

The language of non-religious works absorbed some foreign elements, mainly Polish. Each author determines which elements of the vernacular or foreign languages ​​he would use. But there were secular works written in Church Slavonic and religious works written in Polish (Havrylo Dometsky). In the eighteenth century various elements of Russian entered the literary language. Baroque literature had a great influence on Russian literature from the 17th century until the mid-18th century. Thus, the Russian language of the church changed the influence of the Ukrainian Church Slav in ecclesial discourse.

Spanish Baroque Literature

The era of literature known as the Baroque in Spain occurred during a particularly difficult period in the country’s history. Most of the works during this period, the 17th century, coincide with the human being’s struggle and the reality of the miserable conditions that for many were enduring.

At the time, Spain was dealing with many issues related to its economy and political system, such as the loss of control over land and territory ownership, as well as the poor leadership of the country’s rulers. It was not, however, a dark period for the writers of Spain, that some of the works are among the most prolific ever.

Characteristics of the Spanish Baroque Literary Style 

The Spanish Baroque literary style occurs in the 17th century and was known for its strong dose of realism, with a focus on real, everyday life in ordinary people. Therefore, in the works of the authors of the Spanish Baroque period these characteristics were observed:

-The themes were disappointment, disappointment and pessimism (usually a negative feeling).

-Writing focused on topics that reflect the lack of confidence and belief that people had in the current political landscape.

-The use of dramatic elements.

-The focus on the daily struggles of humanity.

-The use of satire, humor and exaggeration to draw attention to the social problems of the time.

-A greater use of metaphors and figures of language to compare two different things

-The use of conceptism, the art of using fast, ingenious, direct vocabulary.

-The use in Culteranismo works, that is, the art of using an elaborate vocabulary (the opposite of Conceptismo)

-Very descriptive details of the characters in the play

-A focus on the individual, rather than a group of people.

-It is so, with these characteristics in mind, some authors will be found, with examples of their work and projects.

What is the importance of Baroque Literature?

The popularity and success of “Baroque” was encouraged by the Catholic Church which had decided at the time of the Council of Trent that art should communicate religious themes in direct and emotional involvement. However, German art historian Erwin Panofsky summarizes the Baroque movement as complex, commenting on the downsides to the intricate style of the time. The aristocracy saw the dramatic style of Baroque architecture and art as a means to impress visitors and as an expression of control and triumphant power.

Likewise, baroque palaces are built around a sequence of entrances to courts, anterooms, grand staircases, and halls of increasing and sequential magnificence. The magnanimous similar detail, of the art, is glimpsed in the music, architecture and literature that inspired each other in the “Baroque” cultural movement with artists who explored to create repeated and varied patterns.

Who were the main representatives of Baroque Literature?

Baroque writers include John Milton, John Donne, and George Herbert. Although Shakespeare wrote his plays during this period (from 1592 until his death in 1616). This writer typically thought of as a Renaissance writer. Well, although it shares some baroque characteristics such as similes and metaphors, it does not share religious themes.

Representatives of Spanish Baroque Literature

From the baroque poet Luis de Góngora he is well known in the use of Culteranismo, and his own elaborate style of writing, the style of gongorismo. Góngora enjoys using many words and big words, even choosing to invent some while going through the development of his work. Spanish culture still uses some of those words such as the expression ‘made up of’ today, as a teenager (adolescent) and brilliant (brilliant).

Some of Góngora’s most famous works are:

-From a Sick Walker Who Fell in Love Where He Was Hosted

-A Jupiter

-Don Francisco de Quevedo

-Mrs. Doña Puente Segoviana

-The Fable of Polyphemus and Galatea


The last work on the list, Solitudes, was never finished, so he drew praise and criticism. In what became of this work, it stood out for its elaborate language, the use of metaphors and references to mythology. Thus, Góngora intended to write the work in four parts, but was unable to complete his task.

John Milton’s Paradise Lost was a famous Baroque epic, written in blank verse. Satan serves as the protagonist of the book, and the epic deals with the fall of man.

Marino’s “Maraviglia”, for example, is practically made in a pure, simple way. Everything was focused around the individual man, with a direct relationship between the artist, or directly between art and the user, his client.

Here we briefly describe some of the most outstanding Baroque writers.

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616)

He is studied as the greatest writer in the Spanish language, he was born in Alcalá de Henares in 1547. Don Quixote is his most outstanding work, considered the first modern novel. It is a classic of world literature and one of the most important works of fiction ever written. Such is its influence on the Spanish language that it is frequently called “the language of Cervantes”.

Sor Juana Inés de La Cruz (1651-1695)

She is a Mexican self-taught writer and philosopher, who was born in San Miguel Nepantla, an important poet of the Baroque. It is located as a Mexican writer and also as part of the Spanish Golden Age. One of his poems, which is long and philosophical, is called, The Dream, the most studied of his works.

Jan Gawinski (1622-1684)

Polish poet of the Baroque period, of the generation of Sarmatians (the generation of John III Sobieski). He studied at Jagellon University and joined the court of Bishop Charles Ferdinand Vasa. The best known of his works are his Idylls, which glorified life in the Polish towns of Krakow.

Christian Hoffmann von Hoffmann Waldau (1616-1679)

German poet of the Baroque period, he was born and died in Breslau, he became interested in politics in his youth, occupying the position of Bürgermeister. In life, his poems circulated in the form of manuscripts. He was one of the most influential poets of the period, due to his gallant style of poetry with abundant use of extravagant metaphors as well as skillful use in rhetoric and eroticism.

Tobia Lionelli (1647-1714)

This Italian writer and preacher made a preponderant statement of the Slovenian language from his sermons. He belonged to the order of the Capuchin Friars Minor and served in various monasteries in Slovenian lands, including the monastery of Saint Francis of Assisi and in Croatia. He wrote some 230 sermons, which he published in a series of five books entitled: Sacrum promptuarium or The Sacred Manual.

Faustina Maratti (1679-1745)

This Italian poet and painter of the Baroque period, was born in Italy, in Rome. His education which included music, fine arts, and especially poetry. She married the also poet Giambattista Felice Zappi, and her house was the seat of a recognized literary circle that included, among other poets, Händel, Scarlatti and Crescimbeni. She wrote, in addition to other works, 38 sonnets published in the Rime collection belonging to her husband, in 1723.

John Milton (1608-1674)

English poet, faithful servant of the English Commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell. Quite known for his epic poem Paradise Lost, which he wrote between 1658 and 1664 when he was blind. He then wrote the Recovered Paradise, published in 1671 together with the tragedy Samson Agonistes.

Dance and the Baroque Theater

In theater, elaborate concepts, the multiplicity of plot twists, and the variety of situations are characteristic of mannerism (Shakespeare’s tragedies, for example), replaced by opera, which united all the arts into one whole.

The Theater in the Baroque era develops and becomes a multimedia experience, starting with the real architectural space. It is during this time of the baroque that most of the technologies that are currently seen in today’s Broadway or commercial performances, were invented and developed. The setting changes from a romantic garden to a palace interior in seconds. The entire space becomes a selected framed area that only allows users to see a specific action, hiding all machinery and technology, especially ropes and pulleys.

These new skills led to rich performances that feature their particularly elaborate opulence, such as operas, which remained true to the emotionally reversed Baroque movement through heavy symbolism and grandeur to evoke emotion, keeping the narrative and story relatively simple.

Likelihood was the goal, little was going to leave the imagination of the audience. This technology affects the content of the pieces narrated and performed, practicing at its best, the solution of gods and machines. Thus, the gods were finally able to literally come down from heaven and rescue the hero in the most extreme and dangerous, even absurd situation. In the term Theatrum Mundi, the world is also a created scene. The social and political realm in the real world is manipulated in exactly the same way as the actor and machines, limiting what is presented on stage, selectively hiding all the machinery that makes actions happen.

There is a wonderful German documentary called Theatrum Mundi that clearly portrays the political scope of the Baroque and its main representative, Louis XIV.

In this sense, the theater is a rhythmic view of the baroque due to its ability to bring together many of its elements. From the architecture and structures created for the production, the use of statues, paintings and other works of art as part of the productions, to the use of baroque music in operas, all the pieces fit and embody the baroque mindset.

Watching the film of the biography of Vatel (2000), Farinelli (1994) and the wonderful staging of Orfeo de Monteverdi at the Gran Teatro del Liceu in Barcelona, ​​you can see some wonderful recreations of this period of time. The American director William Christie and Les Arts Florissants have done extensive research throughout the French Baroque opera, producing pieces by Marc-Antoine Charpentier and Jean-Baptiste Lully, among others, who are extremely faithful to the original creations of the 17th century.

The Impact of Baroque Music

The term baroque is also used to designate the style of music composed during a period that coincides with baroque art, which encompasses the latter period. JS Bach and GF Handel are considered their highlight figures. It is a question still debated as to what degree of Baroque music shares aesthetic principles with the visual and literary arts of the Baroque period. A fairly clear and shared element is the love of ornamentation, and it is perhaps the significant diminution of the role of ornament in music and architecture that allowed the passage of the Baroque to the classical period.

It should be noted that the application of the term “Baroque” to music is a relatively recent development. The first use of the word “Baroque” in music was only in 1919, by Curt Sachs, and it was not until 1940 that it was used in English (article published by Manfred Bukofzer). Even as late as 1960 there were considerable differences in academic circles as to whether music as diverse as that of Jacopo Peri and François Couperin, Johann Sebastian Bach could be grouped under a single stylistic term.

Many musical styles were born at that time, such as the concert and the symphony. Likewise, styles such as sonata, cantata and oratory flourished. Also, the opera is born from the experimentation of the Camerata Florentina, the creators of the monody, who tried to recreate the theatrical arts of the ancient Greeks. In fact, it is exactly that development that is often used to denote the beginning of the musical baroque, around 1600.

It is generally accepted that the Baroque movement began in the early 17th century and ended in the 18th century, but has been classified as “Baroque” or at least considered a precursor to the movement of this art since the 16th century. Likewise, as with almost all artistic movements, Baroque influences continued beyond the 18th century.


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