The Baroque is a period of artistic style that started around 1600 in Rome, Italy, and spread throughout the majority of Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries. In informal usage, the word "baroque" describes something that is elaborate and highly detailed.
The Baroque age is roughly divided into three parts: Early Baroque, High Baroque and Late Baroque. The Late baroque is synonymous with the Rococo period, which followed. The Baroque style is characterized be exaggerated motion and clear detail used to create drama, exuberance and grandeur in painting, sculpture, architecture, dance and music. In painting, the chiaroscuro technique is very popular. This technique refers to the interplay between light and dark and is often used in paintings of dimly lit scenes to produce a very high-contrast, dramatic atmosphere. The chiaroscuro technique is best visible in the painting "The Massacre of the Innocents" by Peter Paul Rubens Other famous Baroque painters include Caravaggio and Rembrandt. In the Baroque style of architecture, emphasis was placed on bold spaces, domes, and large masses as seen in the Royal Palace at Versailles, Trevi Fountain in Rome, Salzburg Cathedral and Mirabell Palace in Salzburg. In music, the Baroque style makes up a large part of classical music. Important composers include Johann Sebastian Bach, George Handel, and Antonio Vivaldi.
This style’s popularity was encouraged by the Roman Catholic Church, which had decided at the Council Of Trent that the arts should portray religious themes and direct emotional involvement in response to the Protestant Reformation. The aristocracy, too, appreciated this style as it allowed them to impress their visitors and express power, triumph and control. Baroque palaces were built on a monumental scale to display their wealth and grandeur. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word baroque is derived from the Portuguese word "barroco", Spanish "barroco", or French "baroque",...
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