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Introduction
Mannerism & Baroque
The Absence of Stylistic Unity
From Mannerism to Baroque
Naturalism
The Passions of the Soul
The Allegorical Tradition
Space
Time
Light
Antiquity




THE QUESTION OF STYLE
THE ABSENCE OF STYLISTIC UNITY

Martin, pp. 26-35

To recognize the broad differences between Mannerist and Baroque is simple enough. But it is quite another matter to define 'Baroque style'. Martin admits from the outset that this is "an impossible task."

Attempts have been made, nonetheless, to define a coherent stylistic vocabulary:

  • Heinrich Wölfflin, Principles of Art History, 1915

    The problem of the Baroque may be somewhat simplified, if not resolved, by viewing the lack of stylistic unity as the result not only of national differences, but of a process of evolution.

    1. The first or 'Early Baroque' phase [1590-1620/30]
      essentially naturalistic
      originated in Italy

    2. The second or 'High Baroque' phase [1620-1640/50]
      sensuous
      coloristic
      luxuriousness
      sensuality
      exuberant
      voluptuous
      opulent
      emotional
      flamboyant

    3. The third or classicistic phase [1630s-1660/70]
      more rigorous order [than 'High Baroque']
      clarity
      composure
      rational
      disciplined
      calmness
      frontality
      stability
      dignity
      solemnity

    4. The fourth or 'Late Baroque' phase [1660s-1700s]
      decorative reworking of the classic vocabulary


      The Problem of Classicism
      [Bolognese classicism]

      • Annibale Carracci

      • Domenichino

      [Baroque classicism: 1630s]

      • Andrea Sacchi

      • Alessandro Algardi

      • Nicolas Poussin

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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 witcombe@sbc.edu

  • © Chris Witcombe