Western Painting – Baroque Painting – The Meticulous Artistry

Baroque Painting – The History
Baroque was a form of Western Painting that lasted for over a century, beginning around year 1600. It was a successor of Renaissance Art Movement. Baroque was influenced by the socio-political upheaval of the period. This phase witnessed the resurrection of church and strict religious order, limited to the traditional school of thought. It pervaded afar, and found its followers even among the Protestants. Although, some of the themes Baroque painters covered were similar to the earlier styles, they differed in their treatments.

The Intricacies
Baroque Painting was more dramatic in representation than its precursor, with a strong focus on religious, mythological, and historical themes. An important attribute of the Baroque painters was that they consciously left out the climax of an allegory. They exaggerated the emotional force of their work by capturing the juncture before the performance of the ‘main’ act. The color palette of Baroque painting was dominated by deep and rich colors, such as red (for sanctity, valor, and gore), blue (for royalty and station), brown (for earthy elements and outfits of the downtrodden), black-grey (for night, gloom, and mourning), and other nature colors like green, sky-blue, and white. Light played a very significant role in this sect of art, where portrayals were mostly ‘dark’ throughout the frames, and light emphasized the focal points.

Baroque Artists
Leading Baroque painters hailed from all across Europe, including Netherlands (Dutch), Flemish Region, France, Spain, Italy, and Portugal. Among the noted painters of this era were Rembrandt, Johannes Vermeer, Caravaggio, Anthony van Dyck, Nicholas Poussin, Jan Steen, Paul Rubens, Velázquez, Jan de Beaugrand, and Tiepolo.

Baroque Works
Rembrandt’s ‘The Night Watch’ is one of the most outstanding pieces that truly embody the signature traits of Baroque Painting. This painting was created to glorify the victorious Mayor of Amsterdam, Frans Banning Cocq. This magnificent piece is remarkable for its Symbolism and the use of light. Rembrandt has brilliantly highlighted the protagonist, his lieutenant, and the symbol of victory (the girl in yellow), against a dark backdrop, full of celebrating military personnel. Another distinguishing frame from that genre is ‘Crucifixion of Saint Peter’ by Caravaggio. This dramatic painting emphasized the subject (St. Peter) through a near perfect interplay of illumination and murkiness. The central figure of St. Peter is brightly lit and the faces of his executors are either turned away or poorly lit. Yet another matchless painted work of Baroque origin was Vermeer’s ‘The Girl with the Pearl Earring,’ which is famous for its simple subject (a common girl wearing a black pearl) wrapped in an arresting illustration.

Baroque painting gained momentum due to the talents associated with it, as much as due to its techniques and style. No matter which factor played a greater role, this genre was one of the most influential in the history of Western Art.