An essay on the affect of the Baroque style on art, literature, philosophy, politics, and religion.

Essay by frogstuCollege, Undergraduate April 2005

download word file, 4 pages 3.0

Renaissance Europe: Baroque'n Traditions

With its contorted shapes, sharp contrast, and brilliant colors, the Baroque style invaded Europe and dominated the better part of the 17th and 18th century. Baroque style can be detected through its boisterous color, exaggerated movement, and distortion of traditional shapes. With a countenance that emphasizes theatricality over conservatism, the Baroque style is a direct result of the Catholic Reformation that originated in Italy. The Roman Catholic Church suffered the loss of many believers to the new Protestant movement that was jettisoned into motion by Martin Luther's thesises. The Roman Catholics, however, did not stand by idly and watch their members slip away. They took a proactive step and launched a Counter-Reformation spearheaded by the Baroque style. Highly evangelical, the Baroque style attempted to excite the passions of all who experienced it. Originally product of the Catholic Revolution, the Baroque style eventually became a movement unto itself with the same influential power as the occurrence that started it.

Baroque style, as well as a vehicle of Catholic evangelism, acted as a protest to the formality and idealism of the High Renaissance (much like its mannerist precursor). Baroque's affect on art is clearly apparent through the major works of the time. To materialize the Counter-Reformation's outreach to its former members, artists utilized bright, inviting colors combined with loud contrast and the unique use of space to invoke passion and reverence in viewers. Such a display of contrasting light and dark is painfully obvious in the masterwork of Caravaggio. Caravaggio's paintings seem as if there is a spotlight on the central focus of the work. This acts to intensify the emotions and engage the viewer's senses. Such a display of this theatricality can be found in "The Crucifixion of Saint Peter." Saint Peter is posed on the crucifix...