8 junio, 2024

The 15 main representatives of the Baroque

Some of the main representatives of the baroque in literature, music, painting and architecture were Antonio Vivaldi, Caravaggio, Carlo Fontana, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Rembrandt, Diego Velázquez, among others.

The Baroque period had very influential representatives at all levels. This style originated in Western Europe and spanned the 17th and 18th centuries, it reached several Spanish colonies in America and was reflected in different cultural and artistic manifestations of the time.

Literature, painting, sculpture, architecture and music were just some of the areas that were strongly influenced by this style.

Major baroque artists

Literature

Luis de Gongora (1561-1627)

Spanish poet and playwright, representative of culteranismo (also gongorismo), who gave greater weight to the form of the poems than to their content. The poems were rich in rhetorical figures and sometimes were even unintelligible. The most representative works of him were solitudes and Fable of Polyphemus and Galatea.

Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (1648-1695)

Juana Ramírez de Asbaje, better known as Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, was a self-taught Mexican writer born in Mexico (her exact date of birth is not known).

He specialized in poetry, although his writing covers such varied figures that go from sonnets to the so-called Spanish «cloak and sword comedies», plays whose main plot deals with the love relationship between a lady and a gentleman.

His work is characterized by integrating the bombastic forms typical of the Baroque with the importance of going in search of knowledge. His poem «First dream» (1692), is a reflection of his characteristic style.

Francisco de Quevedo (1580-1645)

He was born in Spain, and was the representative of the baroque literary current known as conceptism. He gave the same importance to the poetic form as to the content. He ingeniously expounded philosophical concepts through the word. The most representative works of him were Buscon’s life story, dreams and speeches and The Spanish Parnassus.

Pedro Calderon de la Barca (1600-1681)

Spanish poet and playwright considered the pinnacle of culteranismo. His work reflects the existential anguish of the time, and his most finished work is The life is dream.

Music

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Bach was born in Germany. He was a composer and singer, and also played the violin, viola, organ and harpsichord.

His music is considered an expression of the Baroque period par excellence. His compositions are characterized by having a main melody with accompaniment, and by emphasizing “harmonic color”, a term that refers to the interaction of major and minor tonalities.

He was a very religious man and his compositions wanted to generate joy of spirit and praise God. One of his most representative works is “Toccata y fuga en D minor”, ​​which has even been used in modern audiovisual contexts.

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)

Vivaldi was born in Venice, and is considered the most representative Italian composer of the Baroque period. He was ordained as a priest, but devoted himself entirely to music.

He was a violin virtuoso and concerto composer considered major influences on music. His compositions are characterized by demanding a lot of skill from the performers.

One of his most important works is «The Four Seasons», a concert made up of four sonnets. Vivaldi’s complete works include nearly 500 concertos.

Paint

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669)

The works of Rembrandt, one of the most famous Dutch painters, are characterized by being very realistic, through the use of light and shadow. The subjects of his paintings are primarily biblical, mythological and historical.

He did many portraits and also self-portraits; the latter make up about a tenth of his work. The most important characteristic of him is his ability to reproduce faces and emotions in a realistic and shocking way.

Caravaggio (1571-1610)

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was born in Italy. As a good representative of the Baroque period, he was a painter whose work was characterized by its realism and naturalism.

Caravaggio avoided idealized creations; he preferred to reproduce his subjects as they were and used real models to paint his pictures, a revolutionary practice for the time. He was considered the most important painter in Rome between 1600 and 1606.

Diego Velazquez (1599-1660)

He was one of the most important Baroque painters in Spain, born in Seville. His style was naturalistic, with gloomy lighting influenced by Caravaggio. He has numerous works, but the best known is Las Meninas.

Anton van Dyck (1599-1641)

Flemish painter who specialized above all in portraits. He had an exuberant style that he transformed into great elegance. His works include Carlos I as hunter, Equestrian portrait of Carlos I either the seizure.

Sculpture

Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680)

He was an Italian sculptor and architect, considered the greatest representative of Baroque sculpture and architecture.

Bernini’s sculptures are characterized by expressive gestures and demonstrate simplified but powerful emotions. His works are dynamic and allow the viewer to appreciate them from all angles.

Bernini paid close attention to textural details in his works and always sought to imbue his creations with a sense of movement. Among his most iconic sculptures are The Rape of Proserpine, Ecstasy of Saint Teresa and Apollo and Daphne.

Francois Girardon (1628-1715)

This French artist is the most renowned baroque sculptor in France. He worked on the decoration of the Palace of Versailles during the reign of Louis XIV.

Girardon’s masterpiece was the bronze equestrian statue of Louis XIV erected in the Place Vendôme in Paris. This was destroyed during the French Revolution, but smaller replicas still exist.

His work is influenced by the Baroque school, although his works are considered more conservative and less vigorous than the artistic expressions of this period.

Francois Duquesnoy (1597-1643)

He was a Flemish sculptor who stood out in Rome. He had a more idealistic style, and often his works contrast with Bernini’s emotionality. His sculpture shows a classicist balance, although it also represents a tension of movement reflected in the contrapposto, the harmonic opposition of all parts of the body, as can be seen in his sculptures. Santa Susanna and Saint Andrew.

Architecture

Francesco Borromini (1599-1667)

He was born under the name of Francesco Castellini (in 1627 he changed his name). Borromini’s work is characterized by the curves of its facades and the complexity of its structures.

He was an innovative artist: he dared to experiment with forms and generated a “living” architecture, full of movement and dynamism. His works were based on geometric, modular forms.

Borromini lived celibately, he dedicated himself fully to architecture and with a lot of discipline. One of his most representative works is the church of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, also called «San Carlino» because of its small size.

Carlos Fontana (1638-1714)

He was an architect and engineer. He worked as an assistant to Gian Lorenzo Bernini on various projects and, after Bernini’s death, he became the most influential Roman Baroque architect.

Fontana gave importance to the interaction between the sculptures and the urban environment. One of the most representative structures of him is the façade of the church San Marcello al Corso, in Rome.

Within the Fontana legacy is a large number of manuscripts, housed in the Royal Library at Windsor Castle.

References

Christiansen, K. (2003). Caravaggio (Michelangelo Merisi) (1571–1610) and his Followers of him. Retrieved from metmuseum.org
Rembrandt van Rijn. Recovered from britannica.com

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