Deciphering the Baroque: defining its spatial and temporal limits.- The period of the Baroque is one of the most important in the history of the West since it has served to build the European identity that it yearned for and wished to escape from the clacisism inherited from the Renaissance. in which the rules of art, painting, sculpture and architecture were perfected and represented the aesthetic values of the academy.
To start talking about the Baroque, we must frame it in time and space. Thus, we can say that the historical moment that characterized this school was basically the 17th century, with differences in the different parts of Europe where it had strength: in some places its features began to be seen earlier and in others later within that same century.
Unlike what happened with the Renaissance, the Baroque had more effect in countries like Spain, Portugal, Holland, the Netherlands, Belgium, parts of Italy and Germany. These countries were at that time (especially in the case of Spain) at a time of economic growth and this artistic style characterizes them.
An artistic period of darkness, passion and religiosity
When we seek to characterize the Baroque period we must mark two or three founding elements that serve to clearly understand its significance in the historical context. In the first place, the Baroque is related to the context of religious crisis that had been going on in Europe since 1500 when Luther decided to write his 95 theses against the Catholic Church and to found the Protestant Reformation, Lutheranism and all its consequent variants. .
The Catholic Church then carried out the Counter-Reformation, opposed to the impious wishes of it for destabilization, and ordered a number of European artists to carry out works of all kinds that could beautify religious establishments as well as being clearly available to an illiterate public. the sorrows of Jesus Christ, the beauty of the Catholic religion , the wonders of God and other themes. We can say that in strongly Catholic countries this style had more acceptance and diffusion than in others.
Artistic characteristics of the Baroque and artists
In addition, the works of the Baroque set aside many of the rules founded in the Renaissance such as proportion, linearity, geometric perfection and if we look at paintings by artists of this time we will be able to see much more contoured, chiaroscuro bodies that highlight parts and hide others, suffering or full expressions of pain, more aggressive colors, etc.
The same occurs in sculpture, much more complex and painful than the Renaissance. In architecture we find forms of curves and countercurves that take off from the straight lines typical of the previous period.
Among these artists we must mention Diego Velázquez, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Nicolas Poussin, Anton Van Dyck, Borromini, Bernini and many others. We must also remember that due to its direct links with Catholic religiosity, this artistic style was the one that had the most arrival in America dominated by Spain and Portugal.