The Legacy of the Baroque Art Style by Amina Radoncic
Amongst the many well-known and revolutionary art styles that have been seen across various time periods, the creations of the Baroque era are undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and influential. The Baroque period can be characterized as a time in which a collection of arts, including painting, sculpture, and music, flourished in 17th and 18th-century Europe, birthing some of the most notable creative minds known today. Ranging from Antonio Vivaldi and his concerto composition of the Four Seasons to the grand Ecstasy of Saint Teresa sculpted by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the impact of the Baroque style is one that lives on even after the passing of countless years.
(Orazio Gentileschi/National Gallery of Art)
The Baroque period gave rise to many famous musical forms that are still listened to and played today, including the concerto, sonata, opera, and oratorio. During this time, people such as Johann Sebastian Bach, George Friderick Handel, and Antonio Vivaldi became prominent figures of the period as a whole, producing incredibly memorable and great works. The music of this time encompassed new stylistic features, in particular an emphasis on dynamics and ornamentation. To further elaborate, the harpsichord was replaced with the pianoforte, which “struck strings with felted hammers, whereas the harpsichord plucked the strings” (Masterclass). This allowed for the harpsichord, alongside instruments such as the valve trumpet and the violin, to express far more emotion in the music with softer and heavier sounds. Additionally, the style of music during the Baroque period embraced flair through additional details, some examples being passing tones, appoggiaturas, trills, mordents, and grace notes. The true masters behind the evolution of this musical style were able to compose some of the world’s most notable pieces. Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto are certainly among the best.
The beauty of the Baroque period extended far beyond music, with its influence certainly being exhibited through the paintings and sculptures created at the time. Similarly to the music, dramatics played a considerable role - this is revealed through the use of intense shadows and colors. Intricate details and realism were meant to elicit strong emotions and emphasize beauty. In fact, this specific art style can be described by many as displaying “grandeur, sensuous richness, vitality, movement, tension, emotional exuberance, and a tendency to blur distinctions between the various arts” (“Baroque art and architecture”). The greatest artists and sculptors that especially are most commonly associated with the Baroque period include Johannes Vermeer, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Artemisia Gentileschi, and Rembrandt van Rijn.
From Gentileschi to Bach, there is no doubt that the Baroque time period holds the special ability to exude emotion through its complex and nuanced features and characteristics, greatly contributing to the reasoning behind the impact it has had on the art world today.
"Baroque Era Music Guide: A Brief History of Baroque Music." Masterclass, 7 June 2021, www.masterclass.com/articles/baroque-era-music-guide. Accessed 28 Jan. 2023.
Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Baroque art and architecture". Encyclopedia Britannica, 6 Oct. 2022, https://www.britannica.com/art/Baroque-art-and-architecture. Accessed 28 January 2023.
"The Lute Player." National Gallery of Art, www.nga.gov/collection/
art-object-page.46434.html. Accessed 28 Jan. 2023.
Amina Radoncic (she/her) is a sixteen-year-old writer from Long Island, New York. She is a lover of classic literature, her favorite reads include To Kill A Mockingbird and Little Women. While she chooses to spend most of her time reading or writing, you can also find her watching history documentaries, listening to music ranging from Taylor Swift to Vivaldi, and spending time with her dog.