Italy Baroque Arts


The emergence of baroque art in Rome around 1600 is due to the conscious recourse to the classical tradition of the High Renaissance. Although standing in opposition to mannerism, she uses its means to increase expression and dynamic movement.

Architecture: The major urban planning in Rome around 1600 gave impetus to relate squares, streets, buildings, fountains and stairs to one another in a new way. In his work, C. Maderno took up the architectural ideas of Michelangelo and Vignola (Sant’Andrea della Valle, 1608-25; facade by C. Rainaldi around 1665) and set the trend for the sculptural design of the church facade in the 17th century. For more articles about Italy and Europe, please follow Politicsezine.

Roman baroque architecture found its full development into a dynamically moving spatial style of monumental pathos from the second quarter of the 17th century. Pietro da Cortona’s vigorously modeled facades connect with their surroundings in their forwards and backwards swing (Santi Luca e Martina, 1634–50; Santa Maria della Pace, 1656–57). G. L. Bernini, having all the means of baroque art such as sham perspectives, modeled volumes, sequences of movements, designed St. Peter’s Square in 1656 ff. With the colonnades on a transversely oval shape. He activated the tension in this at the same time on a small scale in Sant’Andrea al Quirinale (1658–70). F. Borromini increased the dynamization of the architecture from the ground plan, the swinging curvatures of which capture the three-dimensional walls, so that all the details come together in one large overall movement (San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, 1634–41; facade 1665–67). Starting from Borromini, G. Guarini in Northern Italy arrived at an architecture of complex interpenetrating spaces (Turin, San Lorenzo, around 1668–80) using mathematical calculations. In contrast, the following buildings by F. Juvarra in Turin are more classically oriented (La Superga Church, 1717 ff.). Venice has its most important baroque architect in B. Longhena (Santa Maria della Salute, 1631–87).

Plastic: The outstanding personality was Bernini. He mastered all forms of expression from the representation of transitory motifs (e.g. the “Metamorphosis of Daphne”) to the portrait to the rhetorical pathos of his papal tombs in Saint Peter in Rome. In his fountains, the sculptural skills interpenetrate with those of the square designer and town planner. Bernini’s rival A. Algardi, on the other hand, represented the classical component of the Roman Baroque more strongly.

Painting: Rome became the international center of painting around 1600. Epochal effect went v. a. starting with the Lombard Caravaggio, who, with his direct view of reality, radically reinterpreted biblical themes without idealization. Its tight lighting underlines in its light-dark contrast the force of the model-like earthly compositions and focuses attention on the central message. His direct successors in Italy include B. Manfredi, C. Saraceni, O. Gentileschi and his daughter Artemisia. The members of the Bolognese Carracci family (Annibale , Agostino and Ludovico Carracci) gave early baroque painting a more academic direction by reviving the classical tradition of the high renaissance in connection with a new study of nature, which v. a. by Domenichino, G. Reni, Il Guercino, but also by the French N. Poussin and C. Lorrain, who worked in Rome. In the baroque era, wall and ceiling painting played a dominant role, illusionistically expanding the real space; the ceiling fresco by Pietro da Cortona in Palazzo Barberini (1632–39) or the dome frescoes by G. Lanfranco represent the Roman high baroque period. A. Pozzo was one of the frescoes working in Rome at the end of the century. In the 18th century, Venice once again took the lead in Italian painting with G. B. Piazzetta and G. B. Tiepolo. The result was a light and colorful, specifically Venetian ceiling painting. Canaletto, B. Bellotto and F. Guardi brought the genre of the vedute to its peak. In addition to drawing, printmaking also gained increasing importance as an independent art genre in the Baroque period; their best-known representatives were G. D. Tiepolo and G. B. Piranesi.

Classicism and 19th century

Although Rome continued to attract artists from all over the world, Italian art of this era lost its dominant role.

Architecture: Classicism was represented in the second half of the 18th century and in the early 19th century by L. Vanvitelli (Palazzo Reale, Caserta near Naples, from 1751), G. Piermarini , who worked in Lombardy, and Giuseppe Valadier in Rome. Their tasks were representative public (banks, galleries, train stations) as well as private buildings and the systematization of urban planning (Milan, Turin, Genoa); Old towns were restored, supplemented or modernized (Florence, Turin, Rome). In general, an eclecticism prevailed, which proceeded from the most varied of models. Seldom were, such as by Alessandro Antonelli (* 1798, † 1888) in Turin and Novara and from Giuseppe Mengoni (* 1829, † 1877) in Milan (Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, from 1863), used the possibilities of new building materials and construction techniques (e.g. iron architecture).

Sculpture: The outstanding personality that had a lasting effect on the following generation was A. Canova, who, after training with late Baroque masters, turned to antiquity, without, however, giving up the lively swing and the grand gesture of the baroque tradition. In his successor z. B. the Sienese G. Dupré classicist with realistic tendencies.

Painting: The turn from late baroque to classicism, which was already announced in the series of copper engravings by G. B. Piranesi, was carried out by the German A. R. Mengs in 1760/61 with his “Parnassus” (Villa Albani, Rome). Centers of academic painting were Rome (P. Batoni; Vincenzo Camuccini, * 1771, † 1844), Florence (P. Benvenuti; Luigi Sabatelli, * 1772, † 1850) and Lombardy (A. Appiani). A group devoted to realism was created in Naples (including D. Morelli), the Impressionists are related to the group of Macchiaioli with G. Fattori and Giovanni Costa (* 1826, † 1903) in Florence. Representatives of European symbolism are Gaetano Previati (* 1852, † 1920) and G. Segantini; G. De Nittis was very successful in Paris with his painting, which was influenced by the Impressionists.

Italy Baroque Arts