Art Baroque

The Baroque flourished at the end of the Renaissance. It makes reference to the convoluted and irregular, to the ornate and exuberant, contrasted with the harmony, balance, and symmetry typical of the Renaissance.

From Rome, it rapidly spread across Italy and Europe, reaching the territories of America. 

In religious art, grandiosity is sought so that man feels diminished before the divine, 

while in civil art, absolute monarchies use it to express the power of the state through urbanism, with grand palaces, squares, and gardens.

In baroque architecture, the superhuman scale is used as an expression of absolute power.

The floors of the buildings adopt elliptical and mixtilinear forms. They employ Solomonic columns, ornate shafts and pilasters. 

It is made up of concave and convex facades with small porticos and large doorways. In the domes, arches crisscross and corbel arches were built.

The adornment is even more intense.

The materials used in the interiors are luxurious. 

Light plays an important role in bringing attention to the central part of the work.

He was a realist and naturalist artist who sought the theatricality of the ensemble, with a predominance of the curvilinear and the undulating, transmitting emotion and sentiment.

Due to the economic crisis that swept Spain in the 17th century, poor materials were used, such as stone, originating from the Mudéjar tradition, and corbelled timber domes covered in plaster were erected.

We can identify three stages in Spanish baroque architecture.

The first stage presents a Herreran style, austere and modest, like that exhibited by the urbanist centre of Lerma in Burgos or the Plaza Mayor and the Casa de la Villa (city hall), Madrid.

Also from this stage are the Casón del Buen Retiro and the Collegiate Church of San Isidro.

The second stage has a more decorative architecture with better movement. It has its centre of influence in Andalusia, where the works of Alonso Cano in Granada and Leonardo de Figueroa in Seville stand out.

In the third stage, characterised by the lavish adornment of buildings, strong regional connotations are presented. 

In the Castilian baroque the works of the Churriguera family stand out in Salamanca and Madrid. And those of Pedro Rivera also in Madrid.

In Toledo, Narciso Tomé erected El Transparente in the cathedral, where he combines architecture, sculpture, and painting.

In the Galician baroque the Facade of the Obradoiro of the Santiago Cathedral stands out. 

In the eastern Spanish baroque, we find the facades of Valencia Cathedral and the Palace of the Marquis of Dos Aguas, now Rococo, and the facade of Murcia Cathedral. 

With the reign of Phillip V, the Royal Palace of Madrid and the Palace of La Granja of San Ildefonso in Segovia were constructed.

The Spanish baroque sculpture uses religious imagery as a point of reference.

In this area, we can also speak of a Castilian baroque with Gregorio Fernandez and his work, the Cristo Yacente (Dead Christ) of El Pardo, where his hands and his face express pure realism and drama.

Juan Martínez de Montañés, Alonso Cano, Juan de Mesa, Pedro de Mena, and sculptor Luisa Roldán, la Roldana, represent the Andalusian school, with images that highlight beauty and delight with bright and vivid colours.

And Francisco Salzillo, as a representative of the Murcian school, with clear Neapolitan influence, which marks the transition to the Rococo.

In baroque painting, much like in other arts, interest is demonstrated via chiaroscuro.

There are two distinguished currents. The Tenebrism corresponds to the origins of baroque, its main figures being Caravaggio and Jose de Ribera, the Españoleto (The Little Spaniard). 

The classicism is most centred on the design and placement of the figures in the centre of the composition, without contrasts or exaggerated behaviours.

The great master of baroque painting is Velázquez, with other great figures such as Zurbarán, Murillo, Valdés Leal, and many others.

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