Comparison of Baroque and Rococo Styles

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HUM – 121
March 5, 2012

Comparison of Baroque and Rococo styles

Introduction
Premises and characteristics of Baroque
Caravaggio's Amor Victorious
Emergence of Rococo
Boucher's Nude on a Sofa
Comparison of Baroque and Rococo styles
Bibliography

There have been different artistic peaks throughout the history of humanity influenced by specific social, political or religious situations of the time. Those peaks shaped by certain styles had an important impact on art as we know it today. One of the most recognized styles of art of seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in Europe were Baroque and Rococo styles. Although these styles have a lot in common and sometimes it isn't easy to tell where one of them begins and the other ends, they have also differentiate one from another. It is important to take a closer look at time atmosphere that each of those styles coming from to be able to compare and contrast the Baroque and Rococo styles. Baroque style emerges between late sixteenth and early seventeenth century in Italy as an attempt to replace the complex and formal Mannerism style of art. At that time the Counter-Reformation was formed as an answer to devastation that Reformation was causing among the Roman Catholic religion. Rome was then a strong influential force and the most important center of patronage in Italy. One of the strongest tools of Counter-Reformation in church's hands was art. Realizing the beauty, and dynamics of Baroque and its power, religious leaders encouraged and patronized this emerging new style. The idea of changing art and making it as realistic as possible was welcomed. Church patrons required that sculpture and paintings which were created for religious institutions would be easily understood by the uneducated common people. That change should have served an purpose of drawing people back to Church. Many of the changes were designed to make the Church more engaging to the common people not only on a psychological level but also in a visual way as well. In other words they wanted to make the Churches a place where people would want to visit and feel connected with their faith while they were there. The name “Baroque”, that will be given to this style of art many years later, originally comes from Portuguese language and translates as an ‘irregular shaped pearl’. The Baroque style didn't seam to fit the measure of the classical Renaissance therefore was compared to irregular shaped pearl or in another words as being different and unique but still beautiful. The Baroque was also the age where the oval shape replaced the circle as the center of a composition. That could be another reason why it was called ‘irregular shaped pearl’. Baroque style compositions became more symmetrical and colorful and painterly effects become prominent. The Baroque artist's with their technical brilliance brought together the arts of painting, sculpture, and architecture in remarkable harmony. These artists created new spatial relationships, both real and illusionary with amazing visual effects. Colors were rich and vibrant, foliage was larger, dense, and profuse, scrolls were based on circles and would cross over one another. The total look was rich, complex and very ornate. This art style is characterized by great drama, intense deep color, and dynamic light and dark shadows. The style was also identified with great sense of energy and movement of forms. Baroque art was meant to engage the viewer, physically and emotionally. Artists as never before became concern with the dramatic use of light. Landscape paintings became also very popular. In an effort to show the beauty of life, many artists painted traditional compositions such as seascapes and countrysides.

One of the greatest artists of that time that have influenced the Baroque school of painting was Michelangelo Merisi da...
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