April 2, 2014 by Ray Yanek
And yeah, I couldn’t resist the above photo that I originally saw on Pinterest. Mind you, I’m not very political by nature, and I definitely don’t care to talk any sort of politics here, but seriously…
Barak – Baroque.
That’s freakin’ gold right there…
Anyway, the Baroque was a style of art born in Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries. Martin Luther had pounded his theses to the church door, and the Counter-Reformation had begun. The Council of Trent determined that religious artwork should appeal more to the masses and should, more specifically, be used as a way of teaching religious doctrine to the illiterate. Not only was the new artwork to be doctrinally correct, but it was also intended to express deep emotion to aid in bringing religious fervor to the viewer; thus the Baroque style was born.
Dramatic, then, is the first key word in describing the Baroque style, especially in terms of subject matter– I’m talking dramatic subjects such as religious ecstasy, martyrdom, conversions, and other extreme religious experiences. To convey these dramatic themes, artists employed strong colors, dramatic contrasts between shadow and light (which caused many to use the term ‘stormy’ when describing Baroque paintings), and dramatic movements in the subjects, as opposed to the posed subjects of Renaissance art.
The best examples of these dramatic colors, shadows and movements can be seen in the dark and moody pieces of Baroque painters such as Bernini, Caravaggio, and Rubens.
Rather then post the works here, I’ll direct to this article on the website The Art of Manliness. In the future I’ll furnish my own examples, but these are damn good. I agree with the authors of the post too, in that my absolute favorite are the paintings in Rembrandt’s Philosopher series. In fact, I like them so much, they may be the subject of my “P” post.
And also, please don’t ask why I’m reading a website called the “The Art of Manliness”… Like politics, we need not discuss that here… Don’t worry, I do all kinds of manly stuff daily like, you know, scratch and break stuff… and uh, forget that I mentioned seeing the Baroque Obama pic on Pinterest…
Anyway, take a look at the example paintings posted on the sight.
Powerful, powerful stuff.
Items of Interest:
–I found through my research, that the word baroque derives from either a Portuguese or French word that both mean “irregular pearl” or ‘imperfect pearl”. I had a hell of a time figuring out what ‘imperfect pearl’ had to do with the baroque style. However, If you go back to the link above and look at The Crucifixion of St. Peter by Caravaggio, you’ll note that Bret and Kate McCay stress the fact that baroque artists avoided the idealized human form that Renaissance artist favored, focusing more realistic human bodies with the “flaws and all”.
— Especially in architecture, baroque is often associated with excessive ornamentation. The term ‘baroque’ today often carries a negative connotation as it used to refer to anything so ornate it becomes gaudy.
— From an writer/English teacher standpoint, I also found it interesting that term is also sometimes applied to literature that is overly complex or flowery. I didn’t know that…
Okay, thanks for making it to the end. Writing about this stuff is going to take some getting used to, but I enjoyed and learned a lot.