Baroque Art

The musicians (1600) Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New YorkThe Nightwatch (1642) Harmenszoon van Rijn Rembrandt, Rijksmuseum, AmsterdamThe Hurdy-Gurdy Player (1620-30) Georges De la Tour, Musée des Beaux-Arts, NantesA child plays the bass viol (1649) Laurent de La Hire
The Baroque
In Baroque art, there is a tendency to emphasise light and colour, and painting becomes more and more complex. The "academic" school tended to beautify the picture and remove anything ugly. Beautification is out of decision, and that is the difference between baroque art and classic art, for which this was its unconscious nature. The "naturalist" school, however, tended to show nature more reliably, and to paint scenes as they appeared in reality, despite their ugly or unaesthetic look. Rubens, one of the famous Flemish painters, painted colour pictures (instead of colouring sketches drawn in advance), and incorporated scenes from his surroundings in his sacred paintings, rather than from his own imagination. Velasquez brought the art of painting towards the implied, rather than the detailed (which will gain him admiration among the impressionists - see this school below, later in history). Rembrandt also supported the so-called "naturalism", as did the Dutch painters who specialised in landscape painting, an area that benefited from a growing demand. Dutch painting, effected by the Protestant prohibition against many themes, found beauty and innovation in landscapes.
Baroque architecture focused on diversification and surprise, whereas the Catholic Church's main demand is to draw believers inside, and therefore architecture (as well as church painting and sculpture) tried to glorify appearance. Italian painters were also mobilised for the cause, and drew giant frescos on church walls and ceilings, and large halls. Baroque construction is impressive in size, variety and magnificence. Baroque musicians such as Bach and Händel were asked to do the same, and therefore composed music built splendidly down to the very last detail, in volume and quality whose purpose is to magnify impression and intensify belief.
The Protestant church and the Church of England objected to this trend and turned, as part of the ideological conflict, to greater simplicity and modesty, maintaining classic beauty and avoiding staggering external glorification. Support for artists was much smaller, and Protestant painting concentrated on portraits of known figures.
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