Baroque and Beyond C. 1600–1850

Baroque Italy and France

Is “baroque” a bad word?

The word baroque comes from the Portuguese word, barocco, which means “imperfect pearl.” The suggestion is that while baroque art is as lovely as a pearl, it lacks the perfection and balance characterized by the Renaissance art that preceded it. Baroque art initially was used to describe a style of art that was more dramatic and intense than art from the Renaissance, but the term is sometimes used to refer generally to the seventeenth century in Europe. The term baroque can also refer to architecture, music, dance, and literature. Some of the most famous baroque artists include Caravaggio, Bernini, Rubens, Poussin, Rembrandt, and Velazquez. As with many art historical categories, the definition of “baroque” can be relatively flexible.


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