Baroque (from Italian. Barocco – strange, bizarre) – from the end of the XVI to the middle of the XVIII centuries. was the mainstream dominating in Europe and America. A distinctive feature of Baroque is the striving for a solemn “great style”, which reflects the complexity, diversity and variability of the world. Baroque is characterized by contrast, tension, dynamic images, affectation, a tendency to majesty and splendor, to a combination of reality and illusory, to the fusion of arts. The tendency towards the autonomy of certain genres (concerto grosso, sonata, suite in instrumental music) continued. Baroque architecture is notable for its spatial scope, cohesion, fluidity of complex, usually curved forms, for painting and sculpture – these are ceremonial portraits and spectacular decorative compositions. Baroque principles were used in literature, music and theater. Baroque is characterized by a variety of national options (Baroque of Slavic countries). The center for the development of baroque is Italy, it was in such cities as Rome, Mantova, Venice, Florence that this current was born.
Baroque was the opposition to classicism and rationalism. The emergence of this trend in the world was preceded by a split in Italy and the loss of its former power. As a result, the country is fragmented, it is dictated by the conditions of Spain and France, but, despite the limited material opportunities, Italy is rich in cultural and spiritual, because Rome is the center of the Catholic world. It was in order to create the illusion of wealth and power that such a style as Baroque arose. It is important to note that the worldview foundations of the direction were the result of the shock that the Reformation and discovery of Nicholas Copernicus caused in the 16th century. The device of the world, known from antiquity, proved to be untenable. The notions of man as a rational and strong being, to which everything in this world is subject, were questioned. In the Baroque, it was believed that man could not do anything, he was either something average, or nothing at all. Characteristic features of Baroque in art: the dynamism of compositions, the “plane” and the splendor of forms, the aristocracy and originality of the plots, as well as the idealization of artistic images that are in harmony with unexpected compositional and optical effects. The founders of Baroque were considered painters Caravaggio and Rubens. Paintings of Caravaggio, written on religious subjects, create realistic scenes for the contemporary artist of life, thus, the contrast of the times of late antiquity and modern time is achieved. Heroes are immersed in twilight, and the rays of light literally grab their most expressive gestures, their characteristic is contrasted. Rubens mastered the creative manner of Caravaggio, in his canvases side by side real and supernatural, fantasy and reality, spirituality and learning.
Of no small importance was the emotional, rhythmic and coloristic unity of the whole, laid-back lightness of the smear. In addition to Rubens and Caravaggio in the Baroque style, Anthony van Dyck, Franz Hals, Rembrandt, Jan Vermeer, Diego Velazquez, Nikola Poussin wrote. Baroque style with neglect refers to such a concept as expediency. For example, in Rubens’s painting “The Abduction of Leucippus’ Daughters”, such a furious dynamic composition with uplifting horses is absolutely unjustified. The most memorable paintings of the Baroque era were “Adoration of the Magi”, “Hunting for Lions” P.P. Rubens, “Danae” by Rembrandt, “Medusa of the Gorgon”, “The Calling of the Apostle Matthew” Caravaggio and others. In Russia, the heyday of baroque came in the reign of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna (1741-1761), artists painted mostly portraits. The works of A.P. Antropov is depicted by the saturated power and strength of the portrayed images, the contrast of internal energy and external stillness, the full-scale authenticity of carefully written details in bright decorative colorfulness. Examples of his work are “Portrait of Peter III”, “Portrait of A.V. Buturlina “and others.
In the first half of the 18th century, one of the varieties of Baroque appeared – the Rococo style, which coexisted with Baroque for some time, and already from 1770 a gradual displacement of it by classicism began.