Essay, Research Paper: Baroque Art


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During the Baroque period, new ideas and views of society and of religion
spurred up. To express these new ideas many artists used the ideas of past
artists to further expand their own motives. " If I have seen further (than
you and Descartes), it is by standing upon the shoulders of Giants." Sir
Isaac Newton, 1676 The artists of the baroque period were using past ideals as a
ladder to the prevalent and the gallant. Four pieces of art that exceplified the
usage of the great minds of the past were; The Rape of the Sabine Women by
Nicholas Poussin, The east fašade of the Louvre Palace, The View of Delft by
Jan Vermeer and The Palace of Versailles. The magnificent artwork of Nicholas
Poussin shows the mixture of Roman architecture and ideas. He copied the body
sculptures and the basilicas of ancient Rome and added them to his medium of
oil. Poussin traveled to Roman museums for inspiration and models. In The Rape
of the Sabine Women, he shows how he balanced his art by carefully arranging
opposites. Since he used statues for models, the people in his painting look to
be chiseled and very statuesque. Poussin also uses a background of a Roman city
to further enhance his love for the classical world. He sought for permanent in
the momentary and the universal in the individual. Many artists of the time
turned to classical Greece and Rome for their ideas. Another prime example is
the East Fašade of the Louvre Palace in Paris, France. KING LOUIS XIV
originally commissioned this piece of work to Gianlorenzo Bernini in 1665. The
king's finance minister felt " it left the king housed no better than
before." so his plan was rejected and a French architect named Claude
Perrault was appointed to finish the job. This palace had to grand enough for
the "sun-king", so Perrault used classical influences to achieve the
proper grandness fit for a king. He used a long Corinthian colonnade, friezes,
and pilasters. This acted as a restraining influence to the baroque ideas of the
time. Greek and Roman art influenced many Europeans, especially the monarchs of
the time. No monarch showed that better than King Louis XIV of France. His rule
of France's nobles required a large palace to be built to accommodate and
preoccupy the people that could have threatened his absolute power. During his
rule he added the Hall of Mirrors, four large wings, stables, and a chapel to
the Versailles Palace. The palace contains hundreds of Corinthian columns and
pilasters. The columns are ornately decorated with gold leaf and colorful
paints. This palace is an incorporation of grandiose baroque ideas and elegant
classical ideas. The building is symmetrical, logical and is an application of
absolute space composition. As many architects went to classical ideals, many
painters revived Renaissance ideals. In the View of Delft, Jan Vermeer shows the
ideas of landscape and perspective that were discovered during the Renaissance.
This painting is unique because it has no single vanishing point and its
pictorial space is in a horizontal sweep. The light in this painting is coming
from a cloudy sky that is dispersing it unevenly throughout the town landscape.
Using this light method, the city's buildings are colored by different shades of
the sunlight. Vermeer added his own inventive subjects as well as past ideas to
his paintings. The Baroque period illustrated the respect and the love for
classical art forms as well as other past forms. It was a melting pot of
classical and baroque ideas that further expanded the arts and ideas of the
world. Using past ideas along with current original ideas can make a new art
form. The Baroque period was the epitome of this ideal and showed it very well
with its excellent architecture, paintings, and sculptures.

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