Mannerism & Baroque
The Absence of Stylistic Unity
From Mannerism to Baroque
The Passions of the Soul
The Allegorical Tradition

(Chapter 2 from John Rupert Martin)

    "The whole art of the Baroque expresses an acceptance of the material world, through the realistic representation of man and nature, through the affirmation of the senses and the emotions and through a new perception of space and inifinity" (Martin, 39)
Forms of Naturalism

"The naturalism of Caravaggio, which was to have momentous consequences for the whole of European painting, was the first great liberating force in Baroque art." (Martin, 41)

(image source Carol Gerten)

Caravaggio, Death of the Virgin, 1605-06

"The peasant pictures of Louis Le Nain are among the most remarkable documents of Baroque naturlaism in that they combine unidealized observation of simple humanity with an almost classical gravity and calm." (Martin, 53)

(image source Mark Harden)

Louis Le Nain, The Peasants' Meal, 1642

(image source Carol Gerten)

Velázquez, The Drinkers (or The Triumph of Bacchus), 1628-29

(image source Carol Gerten)

Annibale Carracci, Man with a Monkey, 1590-91

(image source Mark Harden)

Caravaggio, The Calling of St. Matthew, 1597-1601

(image source Carol Gerten)

Jan Vermeer, The Milkmaid, 1658-60

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ART AND THEORY IN BAROQUE EUROPE is produced by Christopher L. C. E. Witcombe, Professor of Art History, Sweet Briar College in Virginia, 24595 USA (phone: 804-381-6194 / fax: 804-381-6494). For more information, please email him at

© Chris Witcombe