According to Gardner’s Art Through The Ages 13th Edition, Baroque Art is a problematic term because it “encompasses a broad range of styles and genres” during the 17th – century. The term itself is said to come from the Portuguese word “barroco”, meaning an irregular shaped pearl. The term was used to describe its irregularity in comparison with art from the Italian Renaissance.
The Catholic Church, as a propaganda tool, used Baroque Art to lure in members. The work was elaborate and added even more detail to its detailed ministries of heaven and hell, as well as the saints and their trials, tribulations and triumphs.
Early styles of Baroque Art from Spain and Italy can also be defined by the term “tenebrism” which describes its shadowy look and the strong contrast of lights, darks, and dramatic details. To get a better understanding one would have to observe the works of Artist like Bernini and his “Ecstasy of Saint Teresa”, Cornaro Chapel, Rome, Italy. And in contrast, artists like Clara Peeters, “Still Life with Flowers, Goblet, Dried Fruit, and Pretzels”, 1611, which displays a different style of Baroque Art; though through detail, lights and darks and symbolism – we can still identify some similarities.
It’s important to know that Baroque Art can be identified in the 16 – 1700s in paintings, sculptures and architecture. New Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London, England, is an example of architectural Baroque Art and the elaborate mixture of Ancient Greco-Roman – Column - Dome style structure. We can say this represents a Baroque style because of the amount of detail through the ages it displays.
Though earlier styles were widely religious in nature, not all Baroque Art is religious, but at times symbolically represented life, death and the after life through carefully painted symbols in still life paintings. Baroque Art covers a wide spectrum of art throughout the 16 and 1700s – but with a careful eye and close attention to detail, we can see that it is an art within it’s own genre.
I see Baroque Art as still drama. Sometimes dramatic in details showing the skills of the artist. At times in details, showing the theatrical events of the times. I see it as an elaborate approach to detail and symbolism, which clearly defines its uniqueness.