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Styles and Movement



(perhaps from Portuguese barroco: a misshapen pearl). A term, at first of abuse, applied to European architecture and painting of the period approximately 1600 to 1750. B. architecture was at its height in Rome under Bernini and Borrommi (c. 1630—80) and in S. Germany (c. 1700—50) under Balthazar Neumann and Fischer von Erlach. The building was planned round a series of geometrically controlled spaces — circles, squares and ellipses, within, imposed upon, adjoining one another, rhythms of convex against concave curves, exterior lines contrasted or harmonized. The actual structure forced to conform to these patterns was heavily decorated with relief and stucco-work and free-standing sculpture, which burst in upon and receded from the interior space. All the arts were enlisted and impinged on each other, painting was highly illusionistic, sculptors such as Bernini made full use of the play of light on surface and contour. The ensemble made a theatrical and emotional assault on the spectator, enmeshing him in a spatial geometry whose lines are never still, leading him from one enclave to the next, involving him in the drama depicted in the picture or relief, confusing the spatial domains of art and reality. B. became more and more heavily ornate and gradually gave way to the lighter and more restful style of Rococo; in Spain it lapsed into the extravagances of churrigueresque, called after the architect Jose de Churnguera. B. art was intimately bound up with the Counter-Reformation and in particular the Jesuit order. The involvement of the spectator in the church fabric itself and the religious narratives portrayed on its walls had an intentionally evangelistic aim. Jesuit missionaries carried the style wherever they went and established it in S. America, particularly, as the dominant style in European architecture: a position it held there until the late 19th c. In music the term is used loosely of the period between Monteverdi (d. 1643) and J. S. Bach (d. 1750).

Aeneas flees burning Troy, Federico Barocci, 1598



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