Art Timeline  
  1 c. 15000 - 5000 BC Prehistoric Art
  2 5000 BC - 5ОО BC The Art of the Ancient Kingdoms of Egypt - Aegean Art
  3-4 5ОО вс - 12th century The Art of the Greeks
  5-6 5ОО вс - 12th century Italic Art
  7-8-9 12th century (1100-1199) The Early Christians  Art - Byzantine Art
  10-11 13th century (1200-1299) Gothic Art
  12 14th century (1300-1399) Gothic Art - International Style
  13 15th century (1400-1499) The Early Renaissance
  14 16th century (1500-1599) The High Renaissance
  15-16 16th century (1500-1599) Mannerism
  17-18-19-20 17th century (1600-1699) Baroque
  21-22 18th century (1700-1799) Rococo
  23-24-25-26-27-28-29 19th century(1800–1899) Neoclassical - Romanticism
    19th century (1863-1899) Impressionism Timeline
    19th century (1860-1899) Simbolism
    20th century(1900-1999) ART OF THE 20TH CENTURY
17th century (1600-1699)

Baroque & Rococo
Michelangelo da Caravaggio
Jusepe de Ribera
Orazio Gentileschi
Artemisia Gentileschi
Agostino Carracci
Annibale Carracci
Giovanni Lanfranco

Guido Reni

Pietro da Cortona

Luca Giordano
Sanchez Cotan
Salvator Rosa
Diego Velazquez
Francisco de Zurbaran
Bartolome Esteban Murillo

Carlo Maderno
Gianlorenzo Bernini

Francesco Borromini
Guarino Guarini
Alessandro Algardi
Massimiliano Soldani-Benzi
Filippo Juvarra
Niccolo Salvi

Baldassare Longhena

Pieter Brueghel the Younger
Peter Paul Rubens

Anthony Van Dyck
Jacob Jordaens
Jan Brueghel the Elder
Frans Snyders
Adriaen Brouwer
Gerard Terborch
Pieter de Hooch
Frans Hals
Rembrandt van Rijn
Jan van Goyen
Willem Kalf
David Teniers the Younger
Aelbert Cuyp
Jacob van Ruisdael


Jan Davids de Heem
Jan Steen
Jan Vermeer

Nicolaes Maes
Willem van de Velde the Younger
Jacob van Campen
Pieter Post

Meindert Hobbema
Gabriel Metsu
De La Tour

Louis Le Nain
Jacques Callot
Nicolas Poussin
Philippe de Champaigne
Claude Lorrain
Simon Vouet

Peter Lely
Charles Le Brun

Francois Mansart
Claude Perrault
Louis Le Vau
Jules Hardouin-Mansart
Antoine Coysevox
Pierre Puget
Francois Girardon
Inigo Jones
Christopher Wren
John Vanbrugh
Thomas Archer
Domenico Trezzini
Bartolomeo Rastrelli

Jacques Lemercier
Lucas von Hildebrandt

Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer
Georg Rafael Donner
James Gibbs
Nicholas Hawksmoor
Jean-Antoine Watteau
Nicolas Lancret
Francois Boucher
Jean-Honore Fragonard
Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin
Marie-Louise-Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun
William Hogarth
Allan Ramsay
Thomas Gainsborough
Joshua Reynolds
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
Corrado Giaquinto
Bernardo Bellotto (Canaletto)
Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Pompeo Batoni
Francesco Guardi
Christophe-Gabriel Allegrain

Jean Baptiste Greuze
Allan Ramsay
George Stubbs
Nicolas Pineau
Clodion (Claude Michel)
Jean-Baptiste Pigalle

Ange-Jacques Gabriel
Germain Boffrand
Jacques-Germain Soufflot
Etienne-Maurice Falconet
Louis Francois Roubiliac
John Wood the Elder
Johann Fischer von Erlach
Jakob Prandtauer
Balthasar Neumann
Dominikus Zimmermann
Johann Michael Fischer
Georg Rafael Donner
Franz Xavier Messerschmidt
Luigi Vanvitelli
Carlo Fontana
Giacomo Serpotta
Francesco Maria Schiaffino
Jean-Baptiste Oudry

William Kent

Michelangelo da Caravaggio.
The Calling of Saint Matthew
Oil on canvas, 322 x 340 cm
Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome
Baroque and Rococo
Era in the history of the Western arts roughly coinciding with the 17th century. Its earliest manifestations, which occurred in Italy, date from the latter decades of the 16th century, while in some regions, notably Germany and colonial South America, certain of its culminating achievements did not occur until the 18th century. The work that distinguishes the Baroque period is stylistically complex, even contradictory. In general, however, the desire to evoke emotional states by appealing to the senses, often in dramatic ways, underlies its manifestations. Some of the qualities most frequently associated with the Baroque are grandeur, sensuous richness, drama, vitality, movement, tension, emotional exuberance, and a tendency to blur distinctions between the various arts.

The term Baroque probably ultimately derived from the Italian word barocco, which was a term used by philosophers during the Middle Ages to describe an obstacle in schematic logic. Subsequently the word came to denote any contorted idea or involuted process of thought. Another possible source is the Portuguese word barroco (Spanish barrueco), used to describe an irregular or imperfectly shaped pearl, and this usage still survives in the jeweler's term baroque pearl. In art criticism the word Baroque came to be used to describe anything irregular, bizarre, or otherwise departing from established rules and proportions. This biased Neoclassical view of 17th-century art styles was held with few modifications by critics from Johann Winckelmann to John Ruskin and Jacob Burckhardt, and until the late 19th century the term always carried the implication of odd, grotesque, exaggerated, and over decorated. It was only with Heinrich Wölfflin's pioneer study Renaissance und Barock (1888) that Baroque was used as a stylistic designation rather than as a term of thinly veiled abuse, and a systematic formulation of the characteristics of Baroque style was achieved.

Because the arts present such diversity within the Baroque period, their unifying characteristics must be sought in relation to the era's broader cultural and intellectual tendencies, of which three are most important for their effecton the arts. The first of these was the emergence of the Counter-Reformation and the expansion of its domain, both territorially and intellectually. By the last decades of the 16th century the refined, courtly style known as Mannerism had ceased to be an effective means of expression, and its inadequacy for religious art was being increasingly felt in artistic circles. To counter the inroads made by the Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church after the Council of Trent (1545–63) adopted a propagandistic stance in which art was to serve as a means of extending and stimulating the public's faith in the church. To this end the church adopted a conscious artistic program whose art products would make an overtly emotional and sensory appeal to the faithful. The Baroque style that evolved from this program was paradoxically both sensuous and spiritual; while a naturalistic treatment rendered the religious image more accessible to the average churchgoer, dramatic and illusory effects were used to stimulate his piety and devotion and convey to him an impression of the splendour of the divine. Baroque church ceilings thus dissolved in painted scenes that presented vivid views of the infinite to the observer and directed him through his senses toward heavenly concerns.

The second tendency was the consolidation of absolute monarchies, accompanied by a simultaneous crystallization of a prominent and powerful middle class, which now came to play a role in art patronage. Baroque palaces were built on an expanded and monumental scale in order to display the power and grandeur of the centralized state, a phenomenon best displayed in the royal palace and gardens at Versailles. Yet at the same time the development of a picture market for the middle class and its taste for realism may be seen in the works of the brothers Le Nain and Georges de La Tour in France and in the varied schools of 17th-century Dutch painting.

The third tendency was a new interest in nature and a general broadening of mankind's intellectual horizons, spurred by developments in science and by explorations of the globe. These simultaneously brought to man a new sense both of his own insignificance (particularly abetted by the Copernican displacement of the Earth from the centre of the universe) and of the unsuspected complexity and infinitude of the natural world. The development of 17th-century landscape painting, in which man is frequently portrayed as a minute figure in a vast natural setting, is indicative of this changing awareness of the human condition.

The arts present an unusual diversity in the Baroque period, chiefly because currents of naturalism and classicism coexisted and intermingled with the typical Baroque style. Indeed, Annibale Carracci and Caravaggio, the two Italian painters who decisively broke with Mannerism in the 1690s and thus helped usher in the Baroque style, painted, respectively, in classicistic and realist modes. A specifically Baroque style of painting arose in Rome in the 1620s and culminated in the monumental painted ceilings and other church decorations of Pietro da Cortona, Guido Reni, Il Guercino, Domenichino, and countless lesser artists. The greatest of the Baroque sculptor-architects was Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who designed both the baldachin with spiral columns above the altar of St. Peter's in Rome and the vast colonnade fronting that church. Baroque architecture as developed by Bernini, Carlo Maderno, Francesco Borromini, and Guarino Guarini emphasized massiveness and monumentality, movement, dramatic spatial and lighting sequences, and a rich interior decoration using contrasting surface textures, vivid colours, and luxurious materials to heighten the structure's physical immediacy and evoke sensual delight.

Pronounced classicizing tendencies subdued the Baroque impulse in France, as is evident in the serious, logical, orderly paintings of Nicolas Poussin and the somewhat more sumptuous works of Charles Le Brun and the portraitists Hyacinthe Rigaud and Nicolas de Largilliere. French architecture is even less recognizably Baroque in its pronounced qualities of subtlety, elegance, and restraint. Baroque tenets were enthusiastically adopted in staunchly Roman Catholic Spain, however, particularly in architecture. The greatest of the Spanish builders, José Benito Churriguera, shows most fully the Spanish interest in surface textures and lush, albeit meaningless, detail. He attracted many followers, and their adaptations of his style, labeled Churrigueresque, spread throughout Spain's colonies in the Americas and elsewhere. Diego Velázquez and other 17th-century Spanish painters used a sombre but powerful naturalistic approach that bore little direct relation to the mainstream of Baroque painting.

The Baroque made only limited inroads into northern Europe, notably in what is now Belgium. That Spanish-ruled, largely Roman Catholic region's greatest master was the painter Peter Paul Rubens, whose tempestuous diagonal compositions and ample, full-blooded figures are the epitome of Baroque painting. The elegant portraits of Anthony Van Dyck and the robust figurative works of Jacob Jordaens emulated Rubens's example. Art in Holland was conditioned by the realist tastes of its dominant middle-class patrons, and thus both the innumerable genre and landscape painters of that country and such towering masters as Rembrandt and Frans Hals remained independent of the Baroque style in important respects. The Baroque did have a notable impact in England, however, particularly in the churches and palaces designed, respectively, by Sir Christopher Wren and Sir John Vanbrugh.

The last flowering of the Baroque was in largely Roman Catholic southern Germany and Austria, where the native architects broke away from Italian building models in the 1720s. In ornate churches, monasteries, and palaces designed by J.B. Fischer von Erlach, J.L. von Hildebrandt, the Asam brothers, Balthasar Neumann, and Dominikus Zimmermann, an extraordinarily rich but delicate style of stucco decoration was used in combination with painted surfaces to evoke subtle illusionistic effects.

One of the most dramatic turning points in the history of music occurred at the beginning of the 17th century, with Italy again leading the way. While the stile antico, the universal polyphonic style of the 16th century, continued, it was henceforth reserved for sacred music, while the stile moderno, or nuove musiche—with its emphasis on solo voice, polarity of the melody and the bass line, and interest in expressive harmony—developed for secular usage. The expanded vocabulary allowed for a clearer distinction between sacred and secular music as well as between vocal and instrumental idioms, and national differences became more pronounced. The Baroque period in music, as in other arts, therefore, was one of stylistic diversity. The opera, oratorio, and cantata were the most important new vocal forms, while the sonata, concerto, and overture were created for instrumental music. Claudio Monteverdi was the first great composer of the “new music.” He was followed in Italy by Alessandro Scarlatti and Giovanni Pergolesi. The instrumental tradition in Italy found its great Baroque composers in Arcangelo Corelli, Antonio Vivaldi, and Giuseppe Tartini. Jean-Baptiste Lully, a major composer of opera, and Jean Philippe Rameau were the masters of Baroque music in France. In England the total theatrical experience of the Stuart masques was followed by the achievements in vocal music of the German-born, Italian-trained George Frideric Handel, while his countryman Johann Sebastian Bach developed Baroque sacred music in Germany. Other notable German Baroque composers include Heinrich Schütz, Dietrich Buxtehude, and Georg Philipp Telemann.

The literature that may specifically be called Baroque may be seen most characteristically in the writings of Giambattista Marino in Italy, Luis de Gongora in Spain, and Martin Opitz in Germany. English Metaphysical poetry, most notably much of John Donne's, is allied with Baroque literature. The Baroque period ended in the 18th century with a transition of its characteristic style into the lighter, less dramatic, more overtly decorative Rococo style.

Encyclopaedia Britannica


Francisco de Zurbaran.
The Vision of St Peter of Nolasco
Oil on canvas, 179 x 223 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid

Baroque and Rococo

Baroque is a term loosely applied to European art from the end of the 16th century to the early 18th century, with the latter part of this period falling under the alternative stylistic designation of Late Baroque. The painting of the Baroque period is so varied that no single set of stylistic criteria can be applied to it. This is partly because the painting of Roman Catholic countries such as Italy or Spain differed both in its intent and in its sources of patronage from that of Protestant countries such as Holland or Britain, and it is partly because currents of classicism and naturalism coexisted with and sometimes even predominated over what is more narrowly defined as the High Baroque style.

The Baroque style in Italy and Spain had its origins in the lastdecades of the 16th century when the refined, courtly, and idiosyncratic style of Mannerist painting had ceased to be an effective means of artistic expression. Indeed, Mannerism's inadequacy as a vehicle for religious art was being increasingly felt in artistic circles as early as the middle of that century. To counter the inroads made by the Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church after the Council of Trent (1545–63) adopted an overtly propagandistic stance in which painting and the other arts were intended to serve as a means of extending and stimulating the public's faith in the church and its doctrines. The church thus adopted a conscious artistic program, the products of which would make an overtly emotional and sensory appeal to the faithful. The Baroque style of painting that evolved from this program was paradoxically both sensuous and spiritual; while naturalistic treatment rendered the painted religious image more readily comprehensible to the average churchgoer, dramatic and illusory effects were used to stimulate piety and devotion. This appeal to the senses manifested itself in a style that above all emphasized movement and emotion. The stable, pyramidal compositionsand the clear, well-defined pictorial space that were characteristic of Renaissance paintings gave way in the Baroque to complex compositions surging along diagonal lines. The Baroque vision of the world is basically dynamic and dramatic; throngs of figures possessing a superabundant vitality energize the painted scene by meansof their expressive gestures and movements. These figures are depicted with the utmost vividness and richness through the use of rich colours, dramatic effects of light and shade, and lavish use of highlights. The ceilings of Baroque churches thus dissolved in painted scenes that presented convincing views of the saints and angels to the observer and directed him through his senses to heavenly concerns.

Early and High Baroque in Italy

By the last decades of the 16th century the Mannerist style had ceased to be an effective means of expression. Indeed, in Florence a conscious reassessment of High Renaissance painting had taken place as early as mid-century. This tendency gathered momentum in the last decades of the century, particularly with the Bolognese painters Lodovico Carracci and his cousin Annibale. The Roman Catholic Church's reaction to the Reformation, known as the Counter-Reformation, reaffirmed the old medieval concept of art as the servant of the church, adding specific demands for simplicity, intelligibility, realism, and an emotional stimulus to piety. For the zealots of the Counter-Reformation, works of art had value only as propaganda material, the subject matter being all important;and in Rome there was as a result a sharp decline in artistic quality. Under austere Counter-Reformation popes such as Paul IV and Pius V, most official patronage favoured the dry and prosaic; this late 16th-century style is best called Counter-Reformation Realist. A similar process took place in Florence, where a strong movement away from Mannerist conventions is seen in the paintings of Ludovico Cigoli, and in Milan, where the dominant artistic personalities were the painters Giovanni Crespi (known as Il Cerano) and Pier Francesco Mazzucchelli, known as Il Morazzone.

In contrast, late 16th-century Venetian painting was as little influenced by the Counter-Reformation as it had been by Mannerism; and the workshops of Tintoretto, Paolo Veronese, and Palma Giovane remained active until the plague of 1629–30.

Michelangelo Merisi, better known by the name of his birthplace, Caravaggio, a small town near Milan, was active in Romeby about 1595. His earliest paintings are conspicuous for the almost enamel-like brilliance of the colours, the strong chiaroscuro called Tenebrism, and the extraordinary virtuosity with which all the details are rendered. But this harsh realism was replaced by a much more powerful mature style in his paintings for San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome, begun in 1597, and Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome, executed about 1601. His selection of plebeian models for the most important characters in his religious pictures caused great controversy, but the utter sincerity of the figures and the intensity of dramatic feeling are characteristic of the Baroque (see photograph). Although Caravaggio had no direct pupils, “Caravaggism” was the dominant new force in Rome during the first decade of the 17th century and subsequently had enormous influence outside Italy.

Parallel with Caravaggio's was the activity of Annibale Carracci in Rome. During Annibale's years in Bologna, his brother and cousin had joined with him in pioneering a synthesis of the traditionally opposed Renaissance conceptsof disegno (“drawing”) and colore (“colour”). In 1595 Annibale took to Rome his mature style, in which the plasticity of the central Italian tradition is wedded to the Venetian colour tradition. The decoration of the vault of the gallery in the Palazzo Farnese, Rome (1597–1604), marks notonly the high point in Annibale's career but also the beginning of the long series of Baroque ceiling decorations. The third important painter active in Rome during the first decade of the 17th century was the Low Countries' painter Peter Paul Rubens, who became court painter to the duke of Mantua in 1600. He came under the influence of Raphael andTitian, as well as that of Caravaggio, during a journey to Spain in 1603. The rich colours and strong dramatic chiaroscuro of his altarpieces for Santa Maria in Vallicella (New Church), Rome (1606–07), show how much he contributed to the evolution of Italian Baroque painting.

Just as the first decade tended to be dominated by the “Caravaggist” painters, the second decade in Rome was the heyday of the Bolognese classicist painters headed by Guido Reni, Domenichino, and Francesco Albani, all of whom had been pupils of the Carracci. The crucial developments that brought the High Baroque into being took place in the third decade.

The little church of Santa Bibiana in Rome harbours three of the key works that ushered in the High Baroque, all executedin 1624–26: Gian Lorenzo Bernini's facade and the marble figure of Santa Bibiana herself, over the altar, and Pietro da Cortona's series of frescoes of Bibiana's life, painted on the side wall of the nave. The rich exuberance of the compositions is a prelude to the gigantic “Allegory of Divine Providence and Barberini Power,” which Pietro was to paint on the vault of the Great Hall of the Palazzo Barberini, Rome (1633–39). Pietro continued with this style of monumental painting for the remainder of his career, and it became the model for the international grand decorative style, which by the close of the 17th century was to be found in Madrid, Paris,Vienna, and even London.

Despite the continued triumph of High Baroque illusionism and theatricality in the hands of Bernini and Pietro da Cortona from the 1630s, the forces of classicism, now headed by the painter Andrea Sacchi and the Flemish-born sculptor François Duquesnoy, gained the upper hand in the 1640s after the death of Pope Urban VIII; and for the remainder of the century the Baroque-versus-classicism controversy raged in the Academy in Rome. Sacchi and the classicists, including the Frenchman Nicolas Poussin, held that a scene must be depicted with a bare minimum of figures, each with its own clearly defined role, and compared the composition to that of a tragedy in literature. But Pietro and the Baroque camp held that the right parallel was the epic poem in which subsidiary episodes were added to give richness and variety to the whole, and hence the decorative richness and profusion of their great fresco cycles. The lyrical landscapes of the French painter Claude Lorrain are among the finest expressions of High Baroque classicism; and they exerted a continual influence throughout the 18th century, particularly in Britain. Even in Rome itself, however, a number of painters of importance succeeded in remaining more or less independent of the two main camps. Sassoferrato (1609–85), for example, painted in a deliberately archaizing manner, carefully reproducing Raphaelesque formulas. The cryptically romantic movement,centred on Pier Francesco Mola, Pietro Testa, and Salvator Rosa, was more important and, together with the landscapes of Gaspard Dughet, was to have considerable repercussions in the 18th century. Claude Lorrain also adopted an independent stand, despite the highly developed classicism of his poetic landscapes and seascapes, both of which, but especially the latter, featured much splendid architecture.

The first two-thirds of the 17th century in Italy were dominated by the Roman Baroque, and few painters elsewhere provided serious competition. Reni, who returned to Bologna from Rome in 1614 and remained there until his death in 1642, remained the strongest artistic personality in that northern city but steadily abandoned the strong plasticity of the Carracci for a much looser style with a pale tonality. When Guercino, in turn, left Rome in 1623, he returned to his native Cento, just north of Bologna, and not until the death of Reni did he decide to settle in Bologna. Guercino's early, fiery style slowly gave way to a much more calm and classical outlook. Venetian painting took a new direction with the rich colours and free brushwork of Domenico Fetti, who had worked in Mantua before moving to Venice. In the hands of Johann Liss (or Jan Lys) the groundwork was laid for the flowering of the Venetian school of the 18th century. Venetian painting was also enriched by the pale colours and flickering brushwork of Francesco Maffei from Vicenza, whereas Bernardo Strozzi in 1630 carried to Venice the saturated colours and vigorous painterly qualities of the Genoese school. Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione also began his career in Genoa and, after a period in Rome, worked from 1648 as court painter in Mantua, where his brilliant free etchings and brush drawings anticipated the Rococo. Naples, under its Spanish viceroys, remained strongly influenced by the “Caravaggesque” tradition, particularly in its best-known painter, a Spaniard, José de Ribera, who settled there in 1616; the two most important native painters of the period, Massimo Stanzione and Bernardo Cavallino, both died in the disastrous plague of1654.

The most conspicuous aspect of the last phase of the High Baroque in Italy is provided by the series of great fresco cycles, which were executed in Rome during the last decades of the 17th century. Pietro da Cortona's decoration of Santa Maria in Vallicella (1647–55) is the link with the earlier phase of the Baroque, and his decoration of the gallery of the Palazzo Pamphili in Rome (1651–54) points theway to the decorations of Giovanni Coli and Filippo Gherardi in the Palazzo Colonna (1675–78) and to those of the vault ofthe gallery of the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi in Florence by Luca Giordano (1682). Bernini's dynamic and theatrical schemes of decoration reached their climax in the nave vault of the Gesù, Rome, painted in 1674–79 by Giovanni Battista Gaulli (Baciccia) under the direct tutelage of Bernini.The fresco bursts out of its frame and creates an overwhelming dramatic effect, with painted figures flooding over the gilt stucco architectural decoration of the ceiling into the space of the church. After this, the “Allegory of the Missionary Work of the Jesuits,” painted by Andrea Pozzo on the nave vault of San Ignazio, Rome (1691–94), seems almost an anticlimax, despite its gigantic size and hypertrophic illusionism. Concurrently, the Baroque-versus-classicism controversy took on a new lease on life, with Gaulli heading the Baroque party in opposition to Sacchi's pupil Carlo Maratta. By the last decades of the century the Baroque was triumphant, and Maratta's Baroque classicism appears almost to be a compromise between Pietro da Cortona and Sacchi. Maratta's style, however, was to provide one of the most important sources for the grand manner of the 18th century.

The essential characteristics of Late Baroque painting can be identified first in the frescoes (1661) of Mattia Preti at the Palazzo Pamphili, Valmontone (southeast of Rome); but the transition between the High Baroque and the Late Baroque was a continuous process and occurred at different dates with different artists. At Valmontone the sense of dynamic structure characteristic of the High Baroque frescoes of Pietro da Cortona yields to a more decorative scheme in which the figures are scattered across the ceiling, giving the painting an overall unity without identifying any specific area as the focal point. Francesco Cozza used this scheme in the Pamphili Library, Rome (1667–73), but among the finest Late Baroque decorations of this type are ceilings painted in Genoa by Gregorio de' Ferrari and Domenico Piola, while Giordano took the style to Spain. The breakdown of any sense of direction in the composition is paralleled by a loosening in the design of individual figures; once again the unity is decorative rather than structural.

Late Baroque and Rococo

Symptomatic of the changing status of the papacy during the 17th century was the fact that the Thirty Years' War was ended by the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 without papal representation in the negotiations. Concurrently, the influence of Spain also declined. The commencement of the personal rule of Louis XIV in 1661 marked the beginning of a new era in French political power and artistic influence, and the French Academy in Rome (founded 1666) rapidly became a major factor in the evolution of Roman art. Late Baroque classicism, as represented in Rome by Maratta, wasslowly transformed into a sweet and elegant 18th-century style by his pupil Benedetto Luti, while Francesco Trevisani abandoned the dramatic lighting of his early paintings in favour of a glossy Rococo classicism. In the early 18th century, Neapolitan painting under Francesco Solimena developed from the brilliant synthesis of Pietro da Cortona's grand manner and Venetian colour that Giordano had evolved in the late 17th century. The impact, also, of Preti is revealed by his predilection for brownish shadows; but, compared to the pupils and followers of Maratta in Rome, Solimena's style has a greater strength and vitality despite the characteristic Late Baroque fragmentation of the composition. He himself supplied large paintings to patrons all over Europe, and his pupils occupied key positions in the mid-18th century. Francesco de Mura took the style to Turin, where he was court painter; Corrado Giaquinto, as court painter in Madrid, turned increasingly toward the Rococo, and Sebastiano Conca worked in Rome, falling increasingly victim to the academic classicism dominant there. Anton Domenico Gabbiani practiced a particularly frigid classicism in Florence, and it was mainly in Bologna and Venice that real attempts were made to break away from the confines of Late Baroque classicism.

Giuseppe Maria Crespi (called Lo Spagnolo, “The Spaniard”) turned instead toward the early paintings of Guercino and evolved a deeply sincere style, remarkable for its immediacyand sensibility. In Bologna he had no real successors, but in Venice his work provided one of the bases for the brilliant flowering of Venetian painting in this period. While Giovanni Battista Piazzetta looked toward Crespi for the basis of his expressive Tenebrist style, Sebastiano Ricci took his cue from Giordano. The brilliant lightness and vivacity of his frescoes in the Palazzo Marucelli-Fenzi, Florence, mark the beginning of a great tradition of Venetian decorative painting, a tradition that was to be carried all over Europe by Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini, Giambattista Pittoni, and, aboveall, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. The vast majority of the finest decorations (e.g., frescoes) carried out by the Venetian 18th-century painters were executed outside the Veneto (the region of which Venice is the principal city), but the opposite is true of the flourishing Venetian school of landscape, vedute (“views”), and genre painters. Giovanni Antonio Canal, called Canaletto, developed the views of Venice painted by Luca Carlevaris into an industry almost entirely dependent upon foreign tourists; and his nephew Bernardo Bellotto spent most of his career painting views in central Europe. Francesco Guardi avoided the cool precision of the vedute of Canaletto and Bellotto and instead evolved a much lighter and more lyrical Rococo style with a strong sense of the picturesque and, occasionally, the bizarre. In Rome a similar contrast existed between the brilliant, precise vedute of Giovanni Paolo Pannini and the strange, almost Romantic vedute in the form of etchings by Giovanni Battista Piranesi.

Spain and Portugal

Two fundamental and ostensibly opposed streams permeate Spanish painting and separate it from that of the rest of Europe—ecstatic mysticism and sober rationalism. These qualities are essentially Gothic in spirit, and the Iberian Peninsula is remarkable for the tenacity with which Gothic ideas were retained and for the relatively small influence of Renaissance humanist ideas. The early 17th-century still lifes of Sánchez Cotán, with their strong realism and harsh, mysterious lighting, illustrate these contrasts admirably, whereas Luis Tristán abandoned the Mannerist style of his master El Greco for a much more careful realism. Francisco Pacheco, the teacher and father-in-law of Velázquez, was a more important writer than painter, and his writings laid down a theoretical basis for the Spanish approach to spirituality through naturalism. The early works of José de Ribera show a synthesis of Spanish realism and ideas drawn from both Annibale Carracci and Caravaggio; the fierce darkness of these paintings formed the basis of the Tenebrist style that dominated Neapolitan painting during the first half of the 17th century. Ribera himself, however, developed away from this style in his later paintings and moved toward a softer and more even handling of light. Francisco de Zurbarán was active mainly in Seville until his removal to Madrid in 1658, and unlike Ribera he painted throughout his life in the stark Spanish realist style. The massive solemnity of his figures and simple, clear-cut compositions are wholly in sympathy with the demands of the Counter-Reformation, and only in Madrid did he come under substantial Italian influence.

Diego Velázquez was almost the exact contemporary of Zurbarán, but, unlike Zurbarán, who spent almost all his life in the company of monks in the provinces, Velázquez' time from 1623 was spent in the Spanish court in Madrid. His earlybodegones (scenes of daily life with strong elements of still life in the composition) were painted in Seville and belong to the Spanish realist tradition, but at court he saw the Titians collected by Philip II and also Rubens' paintings. After he visited Italy in 1629–31, there was greater freedom in the way he handled paint, more interest in colour, and increased depth to his analyses of character.

The early works of the Seville painter Bartolomé Esteban Murillo again follow the Spanish realist tradition in their cool detachment, but in his late works his style softened and sweetened into a sentimentality that proved immensely popular. Alonso Cano formed his early painting style in Seville on the simple monumentality of Zurbarán, but after he moved to Madrid in 1638 his paintings took on a new elegance and gracefulness. (Cano was also active as a sculptor and architect in Granada [1652–57]). Antonio del Castillo and Juan de Valdés Leal were the most important painters active in Andalusia after Murillo, and the works of both reveal that liveliness of handling, with accents of strong local colour, which replaced the sober realism popularin the first half of the century.

Portugal was ruled by Spain until 1640, when John IV was proclaimed king. But economic conditions hampered serious patronage of the arts until the reign of John V, when the most distinguished painter was Francisco Vieira de Matos. Unfortunately, the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 destroyed much of the best art collected in the Portuguese capital at that time.


Gianlorenzo Bernini.
The Ecstasy of Saint Therese
Marble, height 350 cm
Cappella Cornaro, Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome
Low Countries

The Spanish Netherlands

The year 1566 saw the Netherlands in open revolt against Philip II of Spain, and, inasmuch as this revolt had a Protestant as well as a nationalist aspect, a wave of iconoclasm swept across the area. By 1600 the area had become divided into the Spanish-dominated, Catholic, southern provinces—broadly modern Belgium—and the independent, predominantly Calvinist United Provinces of the north—broadly the modern Netherlands, or colloquially Holland; the boundary between the two remained fluid, however. In the southern provinces throughout the 16th to 18th centuries Brussels, headed by viceroys, remained the centre of court patronage, while Antwerp, with its great patrician families, was the commercial centre.

Painting in the southern provinces before 1610 was intensely conservative; the Mannerist conventions were never accepted as fully as in the north. Instead, Italianate ideas were joined with the late Gothic tradition.

Peter Paul Rubens arrived back in Antwerp from Italy late in 1608. In the following year he was appointed court painter to the archduke Albert and the archduchess Isabella, with special permission to reside in Antwerp, to help repair damage caused by the iconoclasm of 1566. The necessary ingredients were present for a brilliant flowering of the Baroque art that Rubens had evolved in Italy, and his studio became an artistic centre not only for the Netherlands but for England, Spain, and central Europe as well. The monumentality of Rubens' forms, with their impulsive drawing, restless movement, and dramatic lighting, provided the touchstone for the High Baroque in the Catholic areas of northern Europe. By Rubens' death, Philip IV of Spain had acquired more than 130 paintings by him. A diplomatic visit to England (where he found so much favour with Charles I that the latter knighted him) in 1630 had resulted in the commission to decorate the ceiling of the Banqueting Hall in Whitehall, one of the most monumental commissions of Rubens' last period.

Anthony Van Dyck, a pupil and assistant of Rubens, was a much less forceful personality than his master; and this is reflected in the quieter, more introspective note characteristic of his paintings. His greater sympathy for the sitter made him the most successful portrait painter of his time. Between 1625/26 and 1632 he was active, mainly as a portrait painter, in the entourage of Rubens, but the last years of his life (1632–41) were spent in England as court painter to Charles I, from whom he, too, received a knighthood. The elegant, relaxed, aristocratic portrait style he introduced was outstandingly successful and rendered obsolete the stiff portraits of Daniel Mytens and the straightforward, unpretentious portraits of Cornelius Johnson, two other painters of Low Countries origin active in England at this time. Van Dyck's death coincided with the outbreak of the Civil War in England; and the portraitists William Dobson and Robert Walker, in the troubled years 1641–60 the only painters of note active in England, reveal a considerable debt to him. Jacob Jordaens also worked as an assistant in Rubens' workshop in Antwerp and took it over after his death. His handling of the Rubensian idiom moved increasingly away from the control of Rubens himself towarda much more boisterous and vulgar style with an emphasis on large genre scenes populated with rough plebeian types.

The remaining members of Rubens' studio, such as Cornelis de Vos and Caspar de Crayer, were much weaker artistic personalities, and one of the few painters of genius relatively independent of Rubens was Adriaen Brouwer, who painted in the tradition of Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Best known for his low-life pictures, Brouwer also painted very expressive landscapes; his work is characterized by the sensitive use of a heavily loaded brush. In comparison, David Teniers the Younger was a minor master, and with him the influence of Dutch painting became increasingly strong. The impact of Rubens' landscape style is felt in the paintingsof Jan Wildens and Lucas van Uden, while in contrast Jan Brueghel the Younger turned the making of copies and pastiches of his father's works into something approaching an industry. Still-life and animal painting reached new heights in the works of Frans Snyders as a result of the influence of Rubens, and in a much quieter vein Snyders' pupil Jan Fyt continued the tradition, which was to last into the 18th century. Jan Davidsz de Heem was also active in Holland, but he is important as one of the creators of the elaborate, fully developed Baroque still life, and as such he had a host of followers and imitators.

The United Provinces

Dutch painting of the 17th century shares roots with that of the Spanish Netherlands. Holland, however, was independent, rapidly prospering, and almost entirely Protestant. In the last decades of the 16th century the great port of Haarlem was the most active artistic centre, and the remarkable flowering of Mannerist painting there, as exemplified by Cornelis van Haarlem and Hendrik Goltzius, is without a parallel south of the border. In the later pictures of Abraham Bloemaert, Mannerism gave way to the much more straightforward realist style characteristic of the earliest phase of Dutch 17th-century painting. The influence of the figure paintings of Adam Elsheimer on this generation of artists was considerable; his particularly Italianate style, with sharply delineated forms painted in rich, deep colours and with a pronounced element of fantasy, is reflected by the early paintings of Leonard Bramer and, even more importantly, Pieter Lastman, the master of Rembrandt. Elsheimer's poetic little landscapes were also extremely important for the group of Dutch artists active in Rome about1620. This group was headed by Cornelis van Poelenburgh and Bartolomeus Breenbergh, and back home it provided an additional source of Italian influence. The most striking influence of Italy was provided, however, by the Dutch followers of Caravaggio, who had seized eagerly upon the harsh dramatic lighting and coarse plebeian types they had seen in his paintings during their stays in Italy and brought the style to the north to form the so-called Utrecht school. Gerrit van Honthorst, Hendrik Terbrugghen, and Dirck van Baburen were leading champions of this style, but after 1628Honthorst turned away in the direction of Van Dyck.

Frans Hals was born in Antwerp, but almost all of his life was spent in Haarlem, where he evolved his characteristic bravura style of portraiture. The stiff solemnity of earlier Dutch portraits gave way to the capture of fleeting changes of expression and superb textural effects, though Hals neversucceeded in attaining the degree of psychological penetration characteristic of the portraits painted by Rembrandt.

The early works of Rembrandt van Rijn, painted in Leiden (1625–31), show a progressive lessening of the influence of Lastman, and Rembrandt, together with his associate Jan Lievens, evolved an increasingly Baroque style, with strong contrasts of light and shade derived from the “Caravaggists.” After he moved to Amsterdam in 1631, thesetendencies developed to an opulent and highly Baroque climax in the late 1630s. Following the death of his first wife, Saskia, in 1642, difficult times and the changing tastes of art collectors culminated in his bankruptcy in 1656. In his later works the dramatic Baroque panache gives way to a deep introspection and sympathy for his subjects, and his series ofabout 60 self-portraits reveals this process in intimate detail. Parallel to his development as a painter is that of his style as an etcher; Rembrandt is considered by many to be the greatest etcher of all time (see printmaking: Printmaking in the 17th century: European etching: The Netherlands). During the years of his financial success, Rembrandt had thelargest and most successful painting and printmaking studio in Holland.

The increasing use at this time of portable easel paintings asdomestic ornaments, many of them made for sale by dealers rather than on commission by the consumer, is related to theextraordinary range of subjects in which Dutch painters specialized. Nevertheless, certain basic changes in style andtaste occurred during the course of the 17th century, and, although many painters long persisted in outdated styles, the same fundamental changes can be traced in the various specialities. The earliest phase of simple realism held sway until the early 1620s; and the characteristic bright local colours, lack of spatial unity, sudden transition between different planes, and tendency toward high viewpoints are tobe found in the genre paintings of Willem Buytewech, flower pieces of Jacob II de Gheyn and Roelant Savery, and marine paintings of Hendrick Cronelisz Vroom and Adam Willaerts. This gave way to a much more limited palette in the early 1620s when, by reducing the strength and range of the colours, an atmospheric unity was obtained. In landscapes and marine paintings the horizon tended to drop, and a continuous and coherent recession into depth was attained, particularly in the paintings of Esaias van de Velde, Jan van Goyen, Hercules Seghers, and Jan Porcellis. The same change is seen in still lifes by Pieter Claesz and Willem Claesz Heda, in which the colours are almost monochrome. Atmospheric unity having been mastered, the change to the heroic classical phase of the middle of the 17th century was gradual, but there was a tendency toward ever-increasingly dramatic Baroque contrasts, be they the leaden skies or great oaks of Jacob van Ruisdael, the vast panoramas of Philips de Koninck, the luminous pastures of Aelbert Cuyp, or the heavy gray seas of Simon de Vlieger. The monumentalityof these scenes is paralleled by the rich splendour of the stilllifes of Jan Davidsz de Heem, Abraham van Beyeren, and Willem Kalff and the classical calm and simplicity of the scenes by Johannes Vermeer and Pieter de Hooch painted in Delft. In the landscapes of Meindert Hobbema, Claes Berchem, and Adam Pijnacker the majesty of Jacob van Ruisdael's landscapes gives way to a much lighter, more picturesque style. Similarly, the vigorous social realism of Adriaen van Ostade yields to a much lighter and more frivolous treatment in the paintings of his younger brother Isack and Jan Steen and the elegant hunting scenes of PhilipsWouwerman.

With the French invasion of 1672 and the subsequent Dutch economic collapse, the demand for paintings dropped heavily, and in the last decades of the 17th century many Dutch painters either stopped painting or, like the van de Veldes Willem I and Willem II, left the country to work in England or Germany. Late 17th- and 18th-century taste tended toward the almost enamel-like brilliancy and intricatedetail of the still lifes by Rachel Ruysch and Jan van Huysum;the same slightly dated flavour is characteristic of the marine paintings of Ludolf Backhuysen and of the hard figuresubjects of Willem van Mieris and Adriaan van der Werff.


French-speaking painters continued the Mannerist conventions even later than did those at Haarlem, and at Nancy (capital of the independent duchy of Lorraine before 1633 and again from 1697 to 1766) a group of artists around Jacques Bellange and Jacques Callot was responsible for the last great flowering of the Mannerist style in Europe. By comparison, painting in Paris during the first decades of the 17th century was relatively insignificant, with the exception of that of Claude Vignon, who exchanged his Mannerist training for a style based on Elsheimer and to a lesser extent Lastman, and who in the 1620s revealed a remarkable knowledge of the earliest paintings of Rembrandt. The returnof Simon Vouet to Paris, however, marked the arrival of the Baroque in France. The earliest paintings from his stay in Rome are strikingly vigorous essays in the “Caravaggesque” style, but by 1620 he was painting in an eclectic, classicizing style based on the early Baroque painters active there, including Giovanni Lanfranco and Guido Reni. This style he brought back to France, enjoying until his death an immense success in Paris as a decorator and painter of large-scale altarpieces; even the return of Nicolas Poussin failed to shake his position. Poussin's activity in Paris is of relatively little importance compared with the remainder of his career in Rome, but the large number of works commissioned by French patrons then and subsequently was an important factor in the formation of theFrench predilection for classicism.

The influence of the highly Baroque paintings depicting the life of Marie de Médicis that Rubens had executed for the Luxembourg Palace in Paris was small. But Philippe de Campaigne evolved a grave and sober Baroque style that had its roots in the paintings of Rubens and Van Dyck rather than in Italy. Clear lighting and cool colours with an austere naturalism provided an alternative to the intellectual and archaeological classicism of Poussin. Georges de La Tour, a painter who had affinities with the Dutch “Caravaggists” of Utrecht, was active in Lorraine; but although he exploited the Caravaggist system of lighting, his figures became increasingly detached and simplified, leading to an uncomfortable hardness. The paintings of the Le Nain brothers—Antoine, Louis, and Mathieu—again look to Dutch painting for their inspiration. Eustache Le Sueur began painting under the influence of Vouet, but after Poussin's brief return to Paris (1640–42) he turned to a much more rigorous classical style influenced by Raphael's tapestry designs, whereas Sébastien Bourdon was capable of paintingin almost any current style on request.

In the reorganization of the Academy of Painting and Sculpture in 1648, Charles Le Brun was appointed director and given the position of virtual dictator of the arts in France. An imaginative painter and designer, Le Brun was also a brilliant organizer, and the creation of the Louis XIV style, as exemplified by the Palace of Versailles, was above all due to him. The particular Baroque style that emerged was based on the Roman High Baroque but was purged of all theatricality and illusionism and modified to conform to the classical canons of French taste; this compromise solution struck the keynote for the frescoes of Le Brun and Pierre Mignard. The more full-blooded Baroque style of Pierre Pugetreceived little official recognition, and his attempts to obtainmajor commissions at Versailles were thwarted, probably because of his difficult nature. During the last decades of thecentury, the full Baroque style took on a new lease on life, and the decorative paintings of Charles de La Fosse and Antoine Coypel clearly reveal the influence of Rubens. Even more Baroque are formal portraits by Hyacinthe Rigaud and Nicolas de Largillière, in which the strong contrapposto (twisting of the figure so that one half is in opposition to the other), rich settings, and floating masses of drapery reflect the pomp and swagger of this era—which, significantly, cameto be known as the Grande Époque.

The great formal portraits of Largillière and Rigaud are entirely Baroque in their approach, but in the late informal portraits of these masters a new atmosphere prevails. This atmosphere goes by the name of Rococo. The turn of the century marks the victory of Rubens' influence over the severe classicism of Poussin. The evolution of the Rococo style of decoration has been traced from its emergence at the beginning of the 18th century, and it must be emphasized that the Rococo is fundamentally a decorative style. It made relatively little impact on religious painting in France, and painters such as Pierre Subleyras continued to work in a Baroque idiom until the arrival of Neoclassicism in the second half of the century. It took the genius of Antoine Watteau to put together all the ideas current in Paris and to create the new style of painting. Rubens (in particular his oil sketches), the brush drawings and etchings of Castiglione, the naturalism of the Dutch painters, and the fantasy of the French artist Claude Gillot all provided important source material for early Rococo painting. The delicate sketchlike technique and elegant figures of Watteau's wistful fantasies, called fetes galantes , provided the models for the paintings of Jean-Baptiste Pater and Nicolas Lancret, both of whom conveyed a delicately veiled eroticism. Eroticism was more explicit in the sensuous nudes, both mythological and pastoral, of François Boucher. Another painter with whom amorous dalliance is a hallmark was Jean-Honoré Fragonard, in whose soft landscapes flirtation and even seduction are conducted with gallantry. Such paintings formed an intimate part of the decoration of Rococo interiors, and more than any earlier secular paintings they were intended as a kind of two-dimensional furniture.

The furniture role also applies to the paintings of dead game and live dogs by François Desportes and Jean-Baptiste Oudry. But in thestill lifes and tranquil scenes of domestic life painted by Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin there is a sobriety of colour and composition (although great richness in the handling), an often relatively homely subject matter, and a concern to order the mind rather than dazzle the eye (see photograph). Some of Chardin's subjects—the labours of the servant class, the care of children—were shared by Jean-Baptiste Greuze, who was, however, more interested in narrative and sentiment. Unlike Dutch painters of lower-class life, Greuze endowed his peasants with the sensibility of their social superiors. The edifying moral sympathy he intended to inculcate was, however, often subverted by a sly erotic interest he could not resist giving expression to.

Despite his great success, Greuze was judged to have failed in his attempt at painting heroic narrative from ancient history. But then it is true that the “higher” class of painting was generally less successfully practiced in France than were the “lower” genres in the 18th century. The mythologies and altarpieces of the Coypel family, Jean-François de Troy, or Jean-Marc Nattier may have been underestimated, but their names are not as familiar as thoseof still-life and genre painters such as Watteau or Chardin or even those of such accomplished painters of capricious ruin pieces or of landscapes and seascapes as Hubert Robert and Claude-Joseph Vernet.

The middle decades of the 18th century saw more accomplished portrait painters flourishing in France than perhaps ever before in any country. Yet it is the informal, the convivial, and the intimate that are associated with the portraiture of Jacques-André-Joseph Aved, François-Hubert Drouais, Louis Tocqué, Louis-Michel Van Loo, or Étienne Aubry. The heroic was seldom attempted and never achieved.

The 17th century

English painting during the 17th century had been dominated by a series of foreign-born practitioners, mostly portraitists (e.g., Rubens and Van Dyck), even before the Civil War. Sir Peter Lely and Sir Godfrey Kneller continued this trend after the Restoration. The vast majority of the painting executed by native artists remained thoroughly provincial. Lely beganhis activity in England during the Civil War, probably in 1641,but his portraits of the members of the court of Charles II set the pattern for English portraiture of the second half of the 17th century. British patrons in the 18th century sometimes collected paintings on religious or mythical themes by foreign artists, but at home they rarely commissioned anything other than portraits, landscapes, and marine paintings, although there was in the early 18th century a vogue for grand allegorical decorations in aristocratic houses. The Protestant church, however, did little to encourage painting. In fact, the preponderance of portraits isthe most distinctive characteristic of old British collections. Gerard Soest, Jacob Huysmans, and Willem Wissing were also active in England as portrait painters close in style to Lely, whereas Jan Siberechts and Robert Streeter painted “portraits” of English country houses. The most distinguished painters to settle in England during this period were the van de Veldes, from whom the tradition of British marine painting descends, headed by Peter Monamy and Samuel Scott.

The Glorious Revolution of 1688 was followed by a brief flowering of decorative painting under Sir James Thornhill, which was the closest that Britain ever approached to the developed Baroque style of the Continent. This process was in part due to the influx, following the end of the War of the Spanish Succession, of Italian painters, including the Venetians Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini and Jacopo Amigoni, and French ones, such as Charles de La Fosse. The German-born Kneller succeeded Lely as court portrait painter, but, although his portraits often have a certain liveliness, his rather heavy use of studio assistants resulted in a tendency to monotony.

The 18th century

Thornhill's son-in-law William Hogarth was, despite his chauvinism and virulently anti-French sentiments, heavily influenced by the continental Rococo style. Early in his career he succeeded in breaking away from the straitjacket of portraiture, and his moralizing paintings are superb evocations of life in the England of George I and George II. His rich, creamy paint handling and brilliant characterizationof textures have a freshness and vitality unequaled in the work of any of his contemporaries. He invented a new form of secular narrative painting that imparts a moral. These paintings were often tragicomedies, although dependent upon no texts, and Hogarth's series of such works were always intended to be engraved for a large public as well as seen in a private picture gallery (just as plays were intended to be performed as well as read).

Despite Hogarth's considerable knowledge of and borrowings from continental old masters, he remained in the last analysis English through and through. This, however, was not the case with all the next generation of painters; and the Scottish-born Allan Ramsay studied in Rome and Naples in 1736–38 before settling in London in 1739. Until the return of Joshua Reynolds from Italy in 1752, Ramsay held undisputed sway as the most successful portrait painter in London; and to him must be given the credit for the initial marriage of the Italian “grand style” to English portraiture. Ramsay visited Italy again in 1755–57, and on his return his portraits took on a new delicacy and elegance and a silvery tonality. Reynolds possessed great ambitions and a more profound acquaintance with the old masters than any of his contemporaries. His colouring and handling can be compared with Rembrandt, Rubens, and Veronese, and his poses are indebted to the sculpture of antiquity and to Michelangelo. The Discourses that he delivered to the Royal Academy (founded in 1768 with Reynolds as its first president) are the most impressive statement in English of the central ideas of European art theory from the time of Leon Battista Alberti's treatise. Reynolds' own painting gained a genuine heroic power and elevated grace from his frustrated ambition to be a history painter, although for that very reason he occasionally tumbled into bathos.

The third major British painter of the period to study in Italy was a Welshman, Richard Wilson, who worked there from 1750 to about 1757 before settling in London. His landscape style was formed on Claude, Gaspard Dughet, and Cuyp; but the clear golden lighting of his Italian landscapes carries the conviction of an artist saturated with the Mediterranean tradition. A cooler clarity and classical simplicity pervade his northern landscapes; and, despite the uneven quality of his work, Wilson was the first British painter to lift the pure landscape above mere decorative painting and topography.

Thomas Gainsborough was in every way the antithesis to Reynolds. Trained entirely in England, he had no wish to visit Italy. Instead of the “grand style,” his tastes in portraiture lay in the delicate flickering brushwork and evanescent qualities of the Rococo. He preferred landscape painting to portraiture, and the strong Dutch influence in his earliest works later gave way to spontaneous landscapes composed from models.

In the 1760s Francis Cotes was the most important fashionable London portrait painter after Reynolds and Gainsborough, a position succeeded to by George Romney, who, on returning to London from Italy in 1775, took over Cotes's studio. Romney's portraits deteriorated sadly in quality during the 1780s when the young Sir Thomas Lawrence began to make his mark.

Throughout the 18th century, portraiture remained the most important genre of British painting, despite the efforts of Reynolds and Gainsborough in their “fancy pictures.” Even the taste for large-scale scenes illustrating Shakespeare and other themes—which were commissioned toward the end of the century from James Barry, James Northcote, and Edward Penny, among others—never spread far beyond a few patrons. Sporting and animal painting, however, took on an entirely new dimension in the work of George Stubbs. Joseph Wright of Derby was active outside London and, apart from his romantic portraits, is important for his series of paintings of scientific and industrial subjects with strong light effects. Johann Zoffany was born in Germany but moved to Britain about 1761 and became a founder-member of the Royal Academy, specializing in elaborate group portraits and theatrical scenes.

During the second half of the 18th century the evolution of British oil painting was to a great extent paralleled by the extraordinary flowering in watercolours. The early topographical drawings of Paul Sandby gave way to the delicate linear drawings of Francis Towne, with their patches of colour resembling maps, and, at the close of the century, to the atmospheric unity of the landscapes of John Robert Cozens.

Colonial Americas
North America

Painting in the Dutch and English colonies of North America reflected generally the portrait styles of the mother countries, though with a note of provinciality. In the late 17thand early 18th centuries the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam(New York) had painters whose names today are forgotten. Their work lives on, however, and is signified by names such as the Master of the De Peyster Boy. Gustavus Hesselius, Swedish born, was painting in Maryland, and Jeremiah Theus, a Swiss, was at work in South Carolina. Peter Pelham and John Smibert arrived from England and in the second quarter of the 18th century were painting portraits in Boston, Mass. These two self-taught itinerant artists were succeeded by John Wollaston and Joseph Blackburn. Robert Feke, a native American painter, realized his forms more solidly and with greater originality than his predecessors had. Another native American, John Singleton Copley, worked in Boston until 1774, when he went to live permanently in England, and was responsible for the finest painting produced in the American colonies. Benjamin West, another important native figure in the history of American painting, was born in Pennsylvania but settled in London in 1763, where he became the second president of the Royal Academy. Although domiciled in London, he helped to mold the styles of two generations of American painters.

Colonial Americas
Central and South America

Baroque painting in Central and South America is basically an extension of that of Spain and Portugal, and even the bestrarely rises to the general standard of the European schools. Important paintings and sculptures tended to be imported from Europe, and Zurbarán was particularly active in producing works for export, while local productions were more or less heavily influenced by the Indian traditions.

Central Europe

In central Europe the Mannerist tradition remained dominant until the Thirty Years' War (1618–48), particularly in Bohemiaand Bavaria, where Italian influence was perhaps strongest.

The Rubensian Baroque became dominant after mid-century, and here the lead was taken by Silesia and Bohemia. MichaelWillmann, originally from Königsberg (modern Kaliningrad) on the southeastern Baltic coast, developed a highly charged, emotional Baroque style, based on Rubens, at Lubiąż (modern Dorf Leubus, northwest of Wrocław) from 1661 to 1700 and at Prague after 1700. In Karel Škréta Šotnovoský, Bohemia possessed a painter of European stature; his sombre portraits and religious scenes are filled with a deeply serious mystical fervour. The frescoes by Johann Michael Rottmayr in the castle of Vranov in Moravia (1695) and in Breslau (now Wrocław; 1704–06) constitute a prelude to the great development of Baroque painting in the Habsburg domains. There the vigorous and extremely colourful frescoes are closely integrated with the

architecture. The vast majority of the best central European Baroque painting outside portraiture is monumental in scale, and the concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk (“total work of art”)—where painting, sculpture, and architecture are combined together into a single, unified, and harmonious ensemble—is of overwhelming importance.

Painting in Austria flourished, and Franz Anton Maulbertsch is arguably the greatest painter of the 18th century in central Europe. The vast majority of his brilliant fresco cycles are located in relatively inaccessible areas of Bohemia, Moravia,and northern Hungary. But the mystical intensity of his religious scenes and the joyous abandon of his secular subjects form a triumphant closing chapter to 18th-century central European painting. Maulbertsch's last frescoes at Strahov, Prague (1794), reveal, nevertheless, the impact of the Neoclassicism that descended in the last decades on all Austrian painters, including Troger's pupil Martin Knoller. But Austrian monumental painting remained fully Baroque in the hands of Daniel Gran, Paul Troger, and Bartholomäus Altomonte; and it was not until the latter part of the century that the Rococo made its impact.

During the first four decades of the 18th century, Bohemian Baroque painting developed almost independently of Vienna, where the Habsburg rulers of Bohemia had their capital. The impetuous work of Jan Petr Brandl and the powerful realism of the portraitist Jan Kupecký, who worked in Rome, Venice, Vienna, and Nürnberg, always remained Bohemian in spirit. The frescoes of Wenzel Lorenz Reiner, however, show more Italian influence. One of the few important Baroque frescoes of the second half of the centuryis that by Jan Lucaš Kracker in St. Nicholas, Malá Strana (“Lesser Quarter”), Prague. The influence of Bohemian Baroque painting is frequently underestimated. Apart from Vienna and the surrounding area, it was dominant in Silesia and strong later in the century in Franconia.

After the death of Cosmas Damian Asam in 1739, Johann Baptist Zimmermann became the most important fresco painter in the Munich area; his lyrical handling of pale colours is typical of the Rococo period. Christian Wink continued to paint in the same style until the close of the century. In Georg Desmarées the court at Munich gained a painter in whose Rococo portraits there is more than a hint of decadence.

The centre of south German painting had by the late 1730s shifted from Munich to Augsburg in Swabia, where Johann Georg Bermüller became the director of the Academy in 1730; but his frescoes, as well as those of Franz Joseph Spiegler and Gottfried Bernhard Goetz, are perhaps more representative of the Late Baroque than the Rococo. The frescoes of Matthäus Günther, who became director of the Augsburg Academy in 1762, show a steady evolution from his early Baroque compositions, through the much lighter asymmetrical Rococo compositions, to the strongly sculptural quality of his late works, which reveal the onset of Neoclassicism.

In Franconia and the middle Rhineland the most important painters were Johann Zick and Carlo Carlone. Zick's frescoes at Würzburg (1749) had not been entirely successful, and in 1750 he was supplanted by Tiepolo; but at Bruchsal he produced one of the most brilliant series of Rococo frescoes in Germany (now destroyed). His son Januarius began painting in the Rococo style but under the influence of Anton Raphael Mengs produced some late frescoes that were strongly classical.

The French tastes of Frederick I of Prussia at Berlin led him in 1710 to summon Antoine Pesne to court, where Pesne continued for the remainder of his life to paint in an entirely French Rococo style. The homely intimacy of the paintings ofDaniel Chodowiecki, however, have a sensitivity and refinement more comparable to Chardin's.

Saxony under Augustus III produced few painters of real importance except Mengs, who rapidly turned from the Rococo to the Neoclassicism propounded by the influential art historian and classical archaeologist Johann Winckelmann.


King Władysław IV Vasa (reigned 1632–48) assembled an important collection of Italian and Flemish Baroque paintings, but these promising developments were cut short by the destruction of the Swedish Wars in the middle of the 17th century. Under John III Sobieski (reigned 1674–96), a cultivated man, there was a considerable revival, and, although two of the painters active in Poland—Claude Callot and Michelangelo Palloni—were foreign-born and foreign-trained, native talent flowered with the work of Jerzy Eleuter Szymonowicz-Siemiginowski and Jan Tretko. In 1697 the crowns of Poland and Saxony were united under Augustus II, and he and his son Augustus III ruled over Polanduntil 1763. During this period, Polish painting formed part of the Saxon tradition, but during the reign of the last king of Poland, Stanisław II August Poniatowski (reigned 1764–95), Warsaw quickly became a centre of European importance. Although inclined to Neoclassicism in architecture, Stanisław's taste in painting was more conservative. Accordingly it is the late Rococo portraits of Marcello Bacciarelli that are particularly important. A nephew and pupil of Canaletto, Bernardo Bellotto, settled in Warsaw in 1767 and executed for Stanisław the great series of 26 viewsof the city that were intended to hang in the Royal Castle.

Peter Cannon-Brookes


The Baroque in Russia was imported from western Europe and outside court circles made little impact. Indeed the traditional production of icons for the Orthodox church by artists of the Novgorod and Moscow schools continued throughout the Baroque period. Nevertheless the foundation of St. Petersburg (1703) by Peter I the Great marked the beginning of the substitution of Western influence for Byzantine, an important change. During Peter's reign foreign painters began to go to Russia in increasing numbers; conversely, groups of young Russians were sent to Italy, France, Holland, and England to study painting. Western influence determined the character of Russian painting for more than two centuries.

The art of Peter's age shows almost no trace of Byzantine influence. Only in iconography did the old style persist for some time. Early in the 18th century, religious painting began to give way to secular painting, and the church prohibition of sculpture became ineffective. Dmitry Levitsky stands out as the only important Russian painter of the 18th century to work in the Western style.

Further westernizing occurred under the empress Elizabeth (reigned 1741–62), who had French tastes. A great number of vast and luxurious Rococo-style palaces were built, and painting was primarily concerned with their interior decoration—ceilings and walls. The work was carried on chiefly by Italians and Frenchmen.

In 1757 the Academy of Fine Arts was founded in St. Petersburg, and foreign artists—mostly French—were invited to direct the new school. These trained some remarkable native portraitists, such as Ivan Argunov, Anton Losenko, and Fyodor Rokotov. Their works reflected the ceremonial character of Elizabeth's tastes and showed little evidence of native Russian sensibility.

Arthur Voyce


In the 17th century, Scandinavian painting derived from traditions of the Low Countries and northern Germany. The works of art carried off as loot from Prague by Swedish soldiers during the Thirty Years' War might conceivably havebroadened the outlook of Swedes at home, but the best of them were taken to Rome by Queen Christina when she abdicated in 1654. A generation later, under the influence of the fashionable Venetian woman pastelist Rosalba Carriera, a school of Rococo portraitists flourished in Scandinavia. One such portraitist was Carl Gustav Pilo, who, though trained in Stockholm, executed many frankly Venetian portraits during his years as court painter in Copenhagen. Another was Lorentz Pasch the Younger, who trained under Pilo in Copenhagen, although he subsequently worked mainly in Sweden. Other painters of Swedish origin were Alexander Roslin, who worked throughout Europe, and Georg Desmarées, who settled in Bavaria. The Scandinavian Rococo has a distinctive flavour that is also detectable in the work of two important miniaturists of the period, Niclas Lafrensen and Cornelius Höyer. At the close of the century the paintings of Jens Juel in Denmark bridge the transition from Rococo to Neoclassicism.

Baroque Architecture
With its roots in Italy, in the late 16th and early 17th century, a style evolved out of Mannerism that expressed new ideas about the world, nature, and human relationships. New concepts of the role of an in relation to civil and ecclesiastical power emerged, as well as a changed attitude towards the private individual's enjoyment of beauty.

During the l7th century, the Catholic Church, by now fully recovered from the schism of the Reformation and more confident of its power following the meetings of the Council of Trent (1545-1563), began to exploit art as a means of disseminating new doctrines. In much the same way, the great European monarchies entrusted artists with the task of creating suitably magnificent and persuasive images of their grandeur.

The Baroque was a highly theatrical style that relied on illusion, rhetoric, and extravagance for its effects. Over the years, these characteristics have provoked differing reactions: they were rejected during the Neoclassical era. but have been praised in modern times. The basic elements of the style remained fairly consistent during the course of the 17th century and the first half of the 18th century. Though much altered, they were still utilized in a way that can be termed Late Baroque. The essential characteristics of the Baroque architectural style were the transformation of natural shapes; the alteration of classical proportions; methods of shrinking or expanding space; and illusionism. These combined to increase the emotional charge of works of art and create effects of surprise and wonder that were far beyond common experience. Artists strove for an unbroken continuity between internal and external spaces, between painted and architectural space, as well as between artifice and nature. This sometimes led to the use of natural elements, such as water and light, as well as the combination of techniques and effects from different types of art, making the onlooker play the dual role of spectator and actor.

Gianlorenzo Bernini, detail of the Fountain of the Four Rivers, Piazza Navona, Rome, 1648-51.

The four rivers - the Danube, Nile, Ganges, and Rio de la Plata - represented the then-known world and hinted a! the Church's global influence.



Built to the express wishes of Pope Innocent X Pamphili, the Piazza Navona in Rome is typical of the Baroque idea of urban space. It transformed the area in front of the Pamphili family palace and the church of Sant'Agnese in Agone into a suitable setting for public entertainment. Indeed, the large open space is contained within the outlines of the ancient Roman racetrack, the Hippodrome of Domitian. The central focus was the Fountain of the Four Rivers (1648-51) by Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598— 1680), which probably echoes the temporary structure erected as part of the celebrations of Innocent's election. It exemplifies the synthesis of nature and art, with water gushing from a hollow rock, on which sit personifications of the four continents and the greatest rivers then known. From this base soars the obelisk, symbol of man's aspiration towards the infinite, surmounted by the emblem of the Pamphili family. Two smaller fountains in the piazza, also by Bernini, and the facade of the church of Sant' Agnese (1653—57) by Francesco Borromini (1599-1677) provide a balance to the central fountain. The church's high dome and twin bell towers, along with the vertical axis of Bernini's fountain, contrast with the piazza's horizontal planes.

Piazza Navona, Rome. The Fountain of Neptune can be seen in the foreground.



The Place Royale (now the Place des Vosges) was laid out in 1604 in the then aristocratic quarter of Paris on land owned by the Crown. Its understated elegance is a product of both its proportions — it is a true square — and the uniformity of the facades that conceal the individual houses. Variety is provided by materials: white stone for the architectural framework, red brick for the walls, and grey slate for the roofs. Only the roofs and chimneys demarcate the individual buildings, which have shops at ground level, family residences above, and attics for servants. In the centre of the north and south sides, the Pavilion du Roi and the Pavilion de la Reine face each other, providing the square with a central axis: in the middle stands a statue of Louis XIII.

Place des Vosges. detail of one of the houses.

Daumont, Place Royale, Paris (now the Place des Vosges), 18th-century print.


Bernini's project for St Peter's Square was submitted in its definitive form in 1657 and was vigorously supported by Pope Alexander VII Chigi. The colonnaded piazza, linked to the basilica's facade by a small square, is enhanced by the obelisk erected by Domenico Fontana for Sixtus V, as well as two fountains sited at the focal points of the oval space. Bernini's proposal made the most of the grandeur of the great colonnaded semicircles, which are four columns deep, underlining the symbolic power of the square - they are
stretched out towards the city and the world beyond like the arms of the Church. The variety of visual effects and perspectives balances the relationship between the horizontal space of the piazza and Michelangelo's dome on the basilica itself. A planned third section of colonnade was to have closed the square, but this was never built. Instead, the opening of the great boulevard leading from the church in the 1940s has compromised the sense of enclosure that Bernini sought.

Plan of St Peter's basilica and piazzas, Vatican City.

View of St Peter's Square, Vatican City.


Francesco Castelli, known as Borromini (1599-1677), learned his craft working at Milan Cathedral as a pupil of Francesco Maria Richino (1584-1658), the greatest Milanese exponent of Baroque. From at least 1619 onwards, Borromini worked for Maderno and Bernini in Rome, until he received commissions for the convent and church of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane (1635-41) and the Falconieri and Spada palaces there. The most memorable of his many buildings in Rome include the Chiesa nuova and Oratory for the Congregation of San Filippo Neri and the churches of Sant'Agnese and Sant'lvo alla Sapienza. Borromini, who eventually took his own life, was one of the most original and inventive exponents of Baroque architecture, which he imbued with soaring upward movement and powerful chiaroscuro effects. He was also one of the finest of a succession of artists, architects, and sculptors, who, from the Middle Ages well into the 18th century, moved from the valleys and foothills of the Lombard Alps into the mainstream of Italian and European art.


The Urban Space

The consolidation of great nation states in which power was centralized, the emergence of capital cities as seats of government and symbols of power, and a growth in population and traffic (both pedestrian and wheeled) all contributed to an urgent need to redefine the city. Baroque planning imposed an ordered structure based on a web of wide, straight thoroughfares, which linked a series of focal points, such as gateways, churches, and palaces. To give the townscape a more orderly appearance, continuous streets were created and the facades of important buildings were integrated wherever possible to form a harmonious urban fabric. Rome led in this process of urban transformation, and Sixtus V, pope from 1585 to 1590, entrusted the task to the architect Domenico Fontana (1543-1607). The project entailed the construction of straight roads directly linking the seven main basilicas of Rome, several of which were situated in the outskirts of the city. Its practical purpose was to revive depopulated districts outside Rome's historic nucleus, and to enliven the holiest of cities. During the course of the century, other building works contributed to the creation of the modern image of Rome: Pope Innocent X (1644-55) commissioned Gianlorenzo Bernini anci Francesco Borromini, to design the Piazza Navona, and Alexander VII (1655—67) commissioned St Peter's Square by Bernini, the Piazza di Santa Maria della Pace by Pietro da Cortona (1596-1669), and the Piazza del Popolo by Carlo Rainaldi (1611-91). As the century progressed, Paris also assumed a more symmetrical appearance. The French capital began to change into a modern city during the reign of Henry IV (1589-1610), who built the Place Royale. This was innovative in its regular geometric shape formed by residential buildings of uniform appearance - such squares were conceived as a setting for a centrally placed statue of the sovereign. Built between 1604 and 1612 in the Marais district of Paris, the Place des Vosges, as it is now called, was the first example of this new urban feature, and was followed by the Place Dauphine on the He de la Cite. Under the Regent Marie de Medicis (1610-17), the interest of the French Court shifted to the construction of imposing buildings, such as the Palais du Luxembourg. Following the accession of Louis XIII (1617-43), work was resumed on altering and enlarging the Palais du Louvre, but it was only under Louis XIV (1661— 1715), when the monarchy felt fully secure, that Paris was transformed into a great capital city. Louis XIV made his chief minister Colbert directly responsible for urban planning, and he oversaw such projects as the creation of the circular Place des Victoires, designed by Jules Hardouin-Mansart (1646-1708), and the polygonal Place Vendome. The old city walls were demolished and replaced by concentric rings of boulevards, with avenues and streets radiating out towards the surrounding countryside. Andre Le Notre (1613-1700) laid out the Tuileries gardens and the Avenue des Champs-Elysees, and created the landscape and gardens of the great Palace at Versailles. The Italian city of Turin, capital to the dukes of Savoy from 1563 onwards, underwent similar changes in urban planning; it was transformed by architects such as Ascanio Vitozzi (1539-1615), who created the Piazza Castello and the Via Nuova, and Carlo di Castellamonte (1560-1641), who expanded the city following the grid system used in the original Roman castrum. In 1638, he planned the Piazza Reale, now Piazza San Carlo, which was inspired by the Place Royale in Paris, though here closed by two churches with facades by the later Baroque architect Filippo Juvarra (1678-1736).

Blaeu, Piazza Reale, Turin, engraving. Library of the Royal Palace, Turin.
The great square is notable for the symmetry of the palaces and Juvarra's churches.

Aerial view of St Peters, Vatican City. The Vatican buiidings, parts of which were altered after Bernini's time,
typify Roman Baroque architecture and urban planning.

Frencesco Borromini
San Carlo Alle Quattro Fontane
Rome, Italy

Schematic plan (based on that by the modern scholar Giedion) for the prospective reorganization of Rome under Pope Sixtus V (1585-90). The aim was to create wide, straight thoroughfares which linked the most important churches. In this drawing, a solid line denotes work actually carried out.

Aerial view of the Piazza del Popoio, Rome.
On the far side of the square are the churches of Santa Maria di Montesanto (1662-75) and Santa Maria dei Miracoli (1675-81), by Rainaldi, Bernini, and Carlo Fontana. In the foreground is the Porta del Popoio;
the facade facing the square was designed by Bernini (c. 1665).


Francois Mansart (1598-1666) was appointed architect to Louis XIII of France in 1636. He was one of the creators of the style classique, which developed from the cultural renaissance in 16th-century France and replaced the Mannerist style with a more purely classical and distinctively French version of the European Baroque. His great-nephew and pupil Jules Hardouin-Mansart became royal architect in 1675 and built the Palace of Versailles around an earlier building by Louis Le Vau, as well as the dome of the Invalides in Paris (1680-1707). His designs for city squares made him an influential town planner in his day. The Mansarts gave their name to the high, steeply pitched "mansard" roof.

Perelle, Place Dauphine, engraving.
The sguare was planned during the reign of Henry IV as part of a scheme to rationalize Paris.

The Church

By the mid-16th century, enthusiasm for the centralized plan as the ideal form for liturgical buildings was waning. After the Council of Trent, Counter-Reformation tendencies within the Catholic Church began to advocate a return to the basilica type. The Gesu (1568-71), the mother-church of the Roman Jesuits, designed by Jacopo Vignola (1507-73), combined both longitudinal and centralized schemes, while its monumental dome served both as a visual climax and as an allusion to the symbolic journey of the soul towards God, which begins below in the nave. Elsewhere, Vignola varied the centralized type, providing the church of Sant'Anna dei Palafrenieri (c.1570) with an oval rather than circular ground plan, a device that remained popular through the 17th century. Baroque church architecture tends to stress either the longitudinal axis, formed by the pathway from the entrance to the altar, or the vertical axis formed by the altar and the dome, with increasingly daring effects. This was the case at St Peter's when, in 1607, Carlo Maderno (1556-1629) added a nave and aisles to Michelangelo's centrally planned church.

Borromini was later to create dramatic tensions in his interior spaces by drastic variations of scale, while the Turinese engineer and architect Guarino Guarini (1624-83) rejected the idea of a dome as an enclosing bubble by accentuating certain sections left open to reveal a complicated play of light.
Domes also became important features in the urban landscape. In designing the church of Santa Maria della Salute (1631-48) in Venice, Baldassare Longhena (1598-1682) recognized the group of domes of St Mark's as a model for developing a new emphasis on exterior spaces. At the Roman church of Sant'Ivo alia Sapienza (1642-62), Borromini gave an overall unity to the scheme by mirroring the ground plan in the outline of the base of the cupola; as the dome rises, it transforms into a perfect circle, while the decorative motifs suggest a continual acceleration of the upward movement of its structure.

Guarino Guarini, San Lorenzo Turin, cupola on octagonal base, 1668.

Francesco Borromini, San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, Rome,
view of the interior 1638-67.

Guarino Guarini, San Lorenzo, Turin, interior of dome.
Guarini also designed the dome of the Chapel of the Holy Shroud in St John's Cathedral, Turin.

Gianlorenzo Bernini,
facade of Sant'Andrea ai Quirinale,
Rome, 1658-71.


In Baroque architecture in general and in ecclesiastical buildings in particular, the facade was extremely important, acting as the element of mediation between internal and external spaces.
In Rome, this idea can be traced back to the late 16th-century church of the Gesu. the facade of which was designed by Giacomo della Porta (1533-1602). It is bi-partite. with a strong central axis, emphasized by the double tympanum and portal. During the 17th century, church facades became increasingly important in urban areas. Pietro da Cortona's Santa Maria delta Pace (1656-57) has an emphatically projecting portico, while the movement in the convex upper section is countered by the flanking walls that curve back to form a fan-shaped space. Bernini reinterpreted Cortona's ideas in Sant'Andrea al Quirinale (1658-61), where the interior and exterior are linked by the exetlra, or colonnade, while the convex pronaos, or projecting porch, invites the passer-by in. These features are repeated inside the church, marking the boundary between the oval space for the congregation and the main altar. Alternating concave and convex walls were also used by Francesco Borromini for San Carlino alle Quattro Fontane (1667). His facade is like a theatre curtain revealing playful, illusionistic scenery, and provides a taste of what was to come in the 18th century. The many churches built after the Sack of Rome in 1527 and through the High Baroque period lend harmony to Rome's townscape.

Giacomo della Porta, facade of the Gesu. Rome, 1568-71.


Gianlorenzo Bernini
(b Naples, 7 Dec 1598; d Rome, 28 Nov 1680).

Sculptor, architect, draughtsman and painter, son of Pietro Bernini. He is considered the most outstanding sculptor of the 17th century and a formative influence on the development of the Italian Baroque style. His astonishing abilities as a marble carver were combined with an inventive genius of the highest order. From the mid-1620s the support of successive popes made his the controlling influence on most aspects of artistic production in Rome. Although his independent works of sculpture, both statues and portrait busts, are among the most brilliant manifestations of their kind in Western art, his genius found its highest expression in projects in which he combined sculpture, painting and architecture with scenographic daring and deep religious conviction to express more fervently than any other artist the spiritual vision of the Catholic Counter-Reformation Church.

The Palazzo

Gianlorenzo Bernini, design for the new facade of the Louvre, first proposal, 1664-65. Musee du Louvre, Paris.

The most important aristocratic residence to be built in Rome during the first half of the 17th century was the Palazzo Barberini, designed during the reign of Pope Urban VIII. In 1626, the project was entrusted to Carlo Maderno and it was completed after his death by Bernini, assisted by Borromini (1630-32). Its H-plan was inspired by the traditional layout of country villas; the courtyard, flanked by two short projecting wings, introduces the central block, which has an open loggia and entranceway placed on an axis with an oval space that leads out to the garden. Despite being innovative, the design "was not imitated for some time in Rome. On the contrary, great emphasis was laid on the facades of city buildings, as occurs at the Palazzo di Montecitorio, designed by Bernini for the Pamphili family (1650-55). Its long facade is in five sections, with a projecting central portion and slanting lateral wings; the pilaster bases and window cornices look as if they have been hewn out of rock. The entablature of the portal was originally supported by pairs of telamonic figures (later removed by Carlo Fontana), a motif that was to be widely used in High Baroque architecture in Austria and Central Europe, especially by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach (1656-1723). An even more influential design was Bernini's facade for the Palazzo Chigi in the Piazza Santi Apostoli. The central projecting section of the front elevation has pilasters on high bases and is framed by two lateral wings; it is emphasized by a large projecting cornice and balustrade. This design is echoed in Vienna in the Liechtenstein Palace, on which Domenico Martinelli (1650-1718) started work in 1692; the city palace of Prince Eugene of Savoy, 1696; and the Schonborn-Batthyany Palace, both by Fischer von Erlach. The plan of the Barberini palace was exported to France when Bernini was summoned to Paris in 1665 to submit designs for the enlargement of the Louvre.
His first proposal comprised two grand salons, one above the other, giving their shape to the central oval from which, on the exterior, two concave wings project. This scheme, derived in spirit from Borromini, was not approved. In his next design, Bernini envisaged a massive block with slightly protruding corner-stones set on a base hewn to resemble a reef emerging from the sea, in complete contrast to the austere lines of the building itself. Work began on this project in 1665, immediately after Bernini's return to Rome, but soon came to a stop. A commission formed by Charles Le Brun (1619-90), Louis Le Vau (1612-70), and Claude Perrault (1613-1688) successfully argued for the adoption of classicism as the canonical French artistic style, in preference to copying Italian taste. As a result, a colonnade was added to the eastern facade of the palace in homage to the architecture of classical antiquity. Unlike the Italian palazzo, the French hotel particulier was connected to the street by a half-open courtyard, or cour d'honneur. The living quarters, or corps de logis, were set further back. As the century progressed, the hotel generally became a U-shape around the courtyard, cut off from its urban environment as in Jean Androuet Du Cerceau's Hotel de Sully (1624-29) in the Marais district of Paris. The courtyard of the Hotel Lambert (1640-44), built by Louis Le Vau on the He Saint-Louis for Nicolas Lambert, was surrounded by a continuous Doric entablature, giving a sense of continuity to the space, reinforced by the gently curved concave corners at both ''ends" of the facade.

Plan of the Palazzo Barberlnl, Rome.

Louis Le Vau, Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte, 1657-61.
The chateau, with its garden by Le Notre,
was built for Nicolas Fouquet, Louis XIV's chief minister.


Carlo Maderno (1556-1629) was a transitional artist who bridged the styles of Mannerism and Baroque in Rome. A nephew and pupil of Domenico Fontana, he designed the facade of Santa Susanna (1595-1603). He was appointed by Pope Paul V as architect to St Peter's and designed its facade and nave, adopting a basilical plan contrary to Michelangelo's intentions.

Gianlorenzo Bernini, facade of Palazzo di Montecitorio. Rome, 1650-55.

Jutes Hardouin-Mansart and Charles Le Brun,
Hall of Mirrors, Palace of Versailles, 1678-84.

The immensely long mirrored gallery was intended to rival the Louvre gallery In size and magnificence, which entailed
changing Le Vau's earlier plan.


Versailles is the key expression of 17th-century absolutism and epitomizes the ethos and taste of Louis XIV's reign. It was adopted as a model by other monarchs throughout Continental Europe until the end of the 18th century. Work began at Versailles in 1661, building around the nucleus of a hunting lodge constructed by Louis XIII in 1624. Louis Le Vau was responsible for the project and designed the central section of the new palace, the two wings forming the courtyard, and the garden facade. When the king decided to move the royal court and government to Versailles in 1677, Jules Hardouin-Mansart was commissioned to enlarge the palace, adding the vast entrance courtyard and two immense wings north and south of the central block. From the outset, the palace was envisaged as the fulcrum of an urban system set in a landscape that appeared to stretch to infinity. Andre Le Notre, in charge of the king's parks and gardens after 1662 and the inventor of the "French garden", drew on the Italian tradition of symmetry for his network of axial pathways. Designed to appear endless, they are punctuated by unexpected pavilions, clipped trees, and open spaces. In this way, Le Notre increased the sense of space and scale, emphasized by steps, terraces, large expanses of reflecting water, and spectacular fountains. The palaces interior decoration, under the charge of Charles Le Brun, represents the peak of virtuosity in French Baroque art, especially Hardouin-Mansart's Hall of Mirrors (1678-84).

Louis Le Vau, Palace of Versailles, garden facade, 1661-90.
Le Vau designed many of the buildings at Versailles, which Louis XIV visualized as a symbol of his reign,
almost more of a king s city than Paris itself.


Jules Hardouin-Mansart was commissioned by Louis XIV to build a new chapel (1680-1706) among the existing buildings of the Hotel des Invalides military hospital and home for war veterans (1670-76). It is constructed on the main axis of Les Invalides, with an oval sanctuary added to a central plan. It is topped by a dome inspired by Michelangelo's cupola of St Peter's in Rome, although this French version is considerably taller. The windows of the lower drum, separated by pairs of columns, illuminate the interior, while also supporting the first masonry ceiling. The windows of the second drum light the space between the first dome and a second one. visible through the wide central aperture of the spheroidal vault beneath it. A third, lead-covered dome forms the outer shell and is topped by a lantern ending in a pinnacle inspired by the Gothic tradition. Mansart's plans also included two quarter-circle wings, adapted from Bernini's designs for St Peter's Square, but these were never built. Construction of Les Invalides coincided with almost the entire period of Louis XIV's military campaigns (1667—1714) through which he sought to dominate Europe.

Hotel des Invalides, Paris, plan of the whole complex, 1670-1706.
Created as a home for war veterans, the building had to express the ideas of grandeur and sovereignty that inspired Louis XIV's military campaigns.

Jules Hardouin-Mansart, Church of the Invalides, Paris, 1680-1706.
The French architect interpreted the themes of the Baroque church with
a majestic classicism.