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提供者:英文系 蘇文伶與墨樵、 Wen-ling Su & Joseph Murphy

The Age of Baroque  (ca 1550-1570)

I.  Historical Context

A. Chronology of major events

B. Catholic Reformation

C. Absolutism

i. Louis XIV in France

ii. The English Exception

II. The Baroque Style

A. Roots in mannerism

B. Baroque Arts

i. Painting

                      ii. Sculpture

The Catholic Baroque


The Classical Baroque

France, Spain and elsewhere

The Protestant Baroque

Northern Europe


I. Historical Context:

A. Chronology

1450-1750  an era of European overseas exploration and expansion

1534  the Society of Jesus, or the Jesuits, founded by Ignatius Loyola

1545-1563  the Council of Trent to reform the Catholic church

1562-1598  religious wars in France

1588  England defeated the Spanish Armada

1609  Holland and Flanders given virtual independence in truce with Spain

1618-1648  the Thirty Years’ War, which ended with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648.

1642-1649  the English Civil War

1649-1658  Oliver Cromwell ruled in England

1661  beginning of Louis XIV’s absolutism in France

1682  Louis XIV moved court to Versailles

1688  the Glorious Revolution in England; Declaration of Rights established English constitutional government

B. Catholic Reformation

Two Phases: before and after Martin Luther 

A.    Before Martin Luther: A Catholic Reformation beginning around 1490, “an internal program of papal and monastic reform” inspired by Christian humanists such as Erasmus and Thomas More. (Fiero 28)

B.     After Martin Luther: “A Counter-Reformation that responded to challenges posed by Protestantism. Under strong papal leadership, the Church launched an aggressive evangelical campaign to win back its lost congregation” (Lerner et al. 493).

1. Council of Trent

    --tightened discipline

2. the Jesuits

    --Ignatius Loyola

    --Missionary works abroad

         --Francis Xavier

         --Matteo Ricci

Council of Trent
1545-1563  the general council met at intervals to...

A. reform the church:

           1. Unified church doctrine

           2. Abolished corruption, such as selling indulgences

B. confront the Protestant challenge:


            1. transubstantiation

            2. the apostolic succession of the priesthood

            3. the belief in purgatory

            4. the rule of celibacy for the clergy         


               (Perry 238; Cunningham & Reich 351)


“Council of Trent.”  Web. 27 July 2011  http://wikipedia7thgradestyle.pbworks.com/w/page/11474682/Period5

Tightened Discipline

The sterner means of control adopted by the Catholic Church included:

A.    The Inquisition:

 the church court to try and convict heretics

B.     Censorship:

Index Expurgatorius (Index of Prohibited Books): a list of books forbidden to Catholic readers     

(Perry 238)


“Galileo’s inquisition.” 1633 Spad’s Literary PotPourri. Web. 27 July 2011.  http://spad1.wordpress.com/2009/12/23/galileos-inquisition/


The Jesuits

1. Ignatius Loyola

2. Missionary work abroad: Francis Xavier, Matteo Ricci

1. Ignatius Loyola (1491- 1556)

A Spanish nobleman

1521  a Spanish Basque soldier who had a mystical conversion experience while recuperating from a leg injury in battle.

-  1534  founded the Society of Jesus, or the Jesuits

-  1535  completed The Spiritual Exercises, a meditation guide for all Jesuits

“We must put aside all judgment of our own, and keep the mind ever ready and prompt to obey in all things the true Spouse of Christ our Lord, our holy Mother, the hierarchical Church.”

“If we wish to proceed securely in all things, we must hold fast to the following principle: What seems to me white, I will believe black if the hierarchical Church so defines. . . . “

     (Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises, quoted in Fiero 39)


“The Spiritual exercises of St. Ignatus.”  Catholic First. Web. 27 July 2011. http://www.catholicfirst.com/thefaith/catholicclassics/

2. Missionary Work Abroad

(1) Far East:

a. China: Targeting the intellectual classes, Catholic missionaries succeeded in winning converts among the scholars.

b. Japan: By 1606, the Japanese outlawed Christianity for it was perceived to be potentially subversive. In 1624, all Western foreigners were expelled.

(2) Americas: Christian evangelism proved to be more successful in Spanish Americas (notably in Mexico and Peru) than elsewhere. Catholicism went hand in hand with colonization, however.

                                                                                                                        (Fiero 40)

Francis Xavier (1506-1552)

Xavier baptized thousands of natives in South and East Asia.           (Lerner et al. 496)

1506  born into an aristocratic family in Spain

1541  selected by Loyola to be the head of missions to Asia for the Jesuits

1542  arrived in Goa India

1542-49  service in India, Malaysia and the Spice Islands

1549  arrived in Japan

1552  landed in China; died there



“Francis Zavier.” Communio. Web. 27 July 2011.  

Matteo Ricci (1552-1610)

“Matteo Ricci.” Wikipedia. Web. 27 July 2011.

1578  reached the Portuguese Goa in India

1580  traveled from Italy to the Philippines

1582  in Macao

1583  in Canton

1595-99  in Nanchang and Nanking

1601  received a residence permit in Beijing

1610  died in Beijing


“Matteo Ricci.” Padrematteoricci. Web. 27 July 2011. http://padrematteoricci.it/Engine/RAServePG.php/P/263610010400/L/5


--mission from top to bottom, i.e. adaptation to the ruling classes (emperor, scholars) in language, lifestyle, etiquette

--indirect mission with the help of "modern" European technology, science and art

--openness and tolerance for Chinese values. The Jesuits rejected Buddhism and Daoism but accepted Confucianism.



C. Absolutism


17th Century absolute monarchs:

-Louis XIV of France  (prime example)

-Peter the Great of Russia

-Leopold I of Austria

-Frederick William of Brandenburg-Prussia

The English Exception

Absolutism: Definition

Time: dating from the beginning of Louis XIV’s rule in France (1661) to the French Revolution (1789).   

monarch + nation:  “A political theory that encouraged rulers to claim complete sovereignty within their territories.”     (Lerner et al. 593)

Absolutism: Theory

The divine right of kings: “God is holiness itself, goodness itself, and power itself. In these things lies the majesty of God. In the image of these things lies the majesty of the prince. ”  (Bishop Jacques Bossuet, Politics Drawn from the Very Words of Scripture, 1708; qtd. in Lerner et al. 596)

Absolutism: Main Features

Absolute Monarchy Centralization

Possessing a large standing army

Creating a centralized bureaucracy to be in charge of taxation

Keeping the nobles under control

Adopting expansionist policies—wars, wars, and more wars

i. The Bourbons in France

Henry IV (1589-1610)

--Edict of Nantes (religious tolerance)


Louis XIII (1610-1643)

        --Cardinal Richelieu (1624-42)

--Raison d’état : the national interest


Louis XIV (1661-1715)Prime Example

Rigaud, Louis XIV,  1701, Louvre, Paris.



--Cardinal Mazarin (1602-61)

--Jean Baptiste Colbert  (1619-83)

--Mercantilism: exports spurred, imports reduced


Louis XIV

1643 Five-year-old Louis XIV ascended throne of France under regency of his mother

1661 Louis XIV assumes full control of France

1682  Louis XIV moved court to Versailles

1715  Louis died after 72-year reign

(Cunningham & Reich 348)


 Louis XIV

Identified with the sun god Apollo and referred to himself as le roi soleil (the Sun King)

Represented the height of absolutism: “L’état, c’est moi” (“I am the state.”)

Maintained an extravagant court at Versailles    

A great patron of arts: as propaganda

(Fiero 61)


ii. The English Exception

History Review 1--The 17th century

Turning point: the glorious revolution


History review 2--1066  the Norman Conquest; origin of the nation state

The Tudor Dynasty

Henry VII (1485-1509)

Henry VIII (1509-1547)

Elizabeth I (1558-1603)

The 17th Century: The Stuart Dynasty

James I (1566-1625): an absolute king

Charles I (1625-1649): an absolutist king, advocating the divine rights of king; had clashes with the parliament

The Puritan Revolution (1642-51): civil war

Oliver Cromwell (1599-1685)



The 17th Century: the Restoration

Charles II (1660-85): the Merry Monarch

     Tories: those who supported the king

     Whigs: those who opposed the king

James II (1685-1688)

Admired French absolutism

Attempted to restore Roman Catholicism


Turning Point

The Glorious Revolution (1688-1689) : A peaceful coup of Mary and William

Bill of Rights (1689):Parliament became much stronger than before. Britain turned into a constitutional monarchy.



The Glorious Revolution

In the summer of 1688, seven English noblemen wrote to the Dutch leader, the Protestant William, Prince of Orange, requesting his assistance to depose James II, who had taken steps to reinstate Catholicism and given signs of doing without Parliament.

On 5 November 1688 William landed with a massive invasion force and within six weeks James had fled the country.

Three months later William and his English wife Mary, James II's Protestant daughter, were crowned joint monarchs, and accepted the 'Declaration of Rights', the document that affirmed Parliament's ancient rights and liberties.

Consequences: Secured

A.    English parliamentary government

B.   The rule of law


“William and Mary.” Amazon. Web. 27 May 2011.


II. The Baroque Style

A. Roots in Mannerism


(a) A pejorative term in the 17th century, referring to works associated with

1.      artificiality

2.      self-conscious virtuosity

3.      capricious elegance                                                              

(Lucie-Smith 222)

(b) Now applied to Italian painting and sculpture of the period between the climax of High Renaissance (1520, the year Raphael died) and the beginning of Baroque (1590-1610).


Mannerism: Definition

(a) An art more focused on style (derived from the Italian word “maniera”) than content.

(b) Brought a new level of psychological intensity to visual expression

--Mirrored the self-conscious spirituality and deep insecurities generated by Europe’s religious wars and political rivalries.                     

(Fiero 43)

B. Baroque's Art

i. Painting

Main Features

   -figural distortions

    -irrational space,

    -bizarre colors,

    -general disregard of Renaissance “rules” (symmetry & geometric clarity)

A common technique

figura serpentinata: the serpentine line

The figure and all its parts should resemble the letter S. All the figures are characterized by athletic twists and turns.

Food for Thought

Compare and contrast the three pairs of images below. Specifically how do the mannerist art works deviate from rules of Renaissance art? Give concrete examples.


Renaissance vs. Mannerism

(left)  Leonardo da Vinci, “The Last Supper.” 1495-98. Wikipedia. Web. 27 July 2011.http://ilo.wikipedia.org/wiki/

(middle) Tintoretto, “The Last Supper.” 1592-1594. Wikipedia. Web. 27 July 2011.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_Supper_(Tintoretto)

(right) Raphael, “Alba Madonna.” 1510. Smarthistory. Web. 27 July 2011. http://smarthistory.org/raphael.html

(left) Parmigianino, “The Madonna of the Long Neck.” c. 1535. Wikipedia. Web. 27 July 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madonna_with_the_Long_Neck

(middle) Leonardo da Vinci, “Annunciation .” 1472-75. Web. 27 Jul7 2011.

(right) El Greco, “The Annunciation” 1600. Olga’s Gallery. Web. 27 July 2011. http://www.abcgallery.com/E/elgreco/elgreco34.html

(left) Michelangelo, “Last Judgment.” 1537-41. Wikipedia. Web. 27 July 2011. http://wapedia.mobi/en/File:Michelangelo,_Giudizio_Universale_02.jpg

(middle) El Greco, “The Agony in the Garden.” ca. 1585-1586. Wikipedia. Web. 27 July 2011. http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/el-greco/the-agony-in-the-garden

(right) El Greco, “View of Toledo.” 1597. Metmuseum. Web. 27 July 2011. http://www.metmuseum.org/works_of_art/collection_database/european_paintings/

The Baroque Style


Originally 18-century classists used it to describe 17th-century painters’ defiance of classical rules intended as a term of abuse, meaning an oddly shaped pearl and growing to mean anything illogical, absurd, or bizarre.

(Gowing 696)

Main features




Illusionism Splendor

Light and Shade

Movement Religious Fervor Domestic Intimacy

(Cunningham 354)

A.    Linked with the renewed power of the Roman Catholic Church and the increased centralization of political power.

B.     An art of persuasion or propaganda that appeals to the senses and emotions

C.    Common subject matters: the glory of martyrdom, saintly visions and ecstasies

D.    Use various illusionistic devices

                                                                  (Gowing 696)

Illusionistic Devices

Foreshortening: To shorten (as a design) by proportionately contracting in the direction of depth so that an illusion of projection or extension in space is obtained.

Trompe l’oeil: literally, to “fool the eye”

Geographic Distribution

“In Italy, it mirrored the religious fervor of the Catholic Reformation.”

Italy: Carracci, Caravaggio, Bernini

“In France and elsewhere among authoritarian regimes, it worked to glorify royal wealth and majesty.”

France: Poussin

Spain: Velazquez

“In Northern Europe, it conveyed the self-reflective spirit of Protestant devotionalism.”

Flanders: Rubens

Holland: Rembrandt, Vermeer                 

                                                    (Fiero 38)

Painting: Italy

Annibale Carracci (1560-1609)

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1573-1609/10)

Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1653)

Annibale Carracci, “Triumph of Bacchus and Ariadne.” 1597-1602.  Wikipedia. Web. 27 July 2011.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Loves_of_the_Gods_(Carracci)


The Farnese ceiling, where this painting appears, shows an attempt to revitalize the High Renaissance. Yet “its illusionism, its decorative, sensuous, and lighthearted use of accessories, and its physical power, exuberance, and rich compositions of the individual paintings, anticipate the Baroque” (Gowing 697). 



Caravaggio, “The Calling of Saint Matthew.”1599-1600. Wikipedia. Web. 27 July 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Calling_of_St_Matthew_(Caravaggio)

Notice the use of chiaroscuro—strong contrast of light and darkness

Caravaggio, “David with the head of Goliath.”1609. Galleriaborghese. Web. 27 July 2011. http://www.galleriaborghese.it/borghese/en/edavicara.htm


Note that Goliath’s head is actually Caravaggio’s self-portrait.

Caravaggio, “The Conversion on the Way to Damascus”.1600. Wikipedia. Web. 27 July 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conversion_on_the_Way_to_Damascus

Saul’s body is foreshortened.

Artemisia Gentileschi,” Judith slaying Holofernes.” ca. 1620. Wikipedia. Web. 27 July 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artemisia_Gentileschi

Her source might very well be Caravaggio's Judith ten years earlier. But her work might also represent a psychological reaction to her unfortunate experience as a rape victim.

Painting: France

Nicolas Poussin (1593/4-1665)

--Baroque classism

--Works characterized by perfect clarity of form and structure


The Classical Baroque

Restraint Moderation Decorum




Good taste

Poussin, “Et in Arcadia Ego.” 1637-39. .1st-art-gallery. Web. 27 July 2011.


Et in Arcadia Ego. “I [death] also dwell in Arcadia”

--Moral allegory

--Pastoral elegy

--Memento mori   

 (Fiero 70)


Painting: Spain

Diego Velazquez (1509-1661)

--His career was closely linked to the Spanish court.

          --“A fascination with the everyday, and a sense that it possesses its own transcendent value, is a major underlying theme of Velasquez’s art” (Lucie-Smith 266)


Diego Velasquez, “Las Meninas (The Maids of Honor).” 1656. Wikipedia. Web. 27 July 2011.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Las_Meninas

“The painting is based on a visual pun: the spectator takes the place of the king and queen, whom Velasquez is busy painting (their joint images appear in the background, dimly reflected in a mirror” (Lucie-Smith 267-68).

Painting: Flanders

Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640)

Peter Paul Rubens. “The Descent from the Cross.” 1612-14.
Web. 27 July 2011.

--Painted for Antwerp Cathedral

--The mood is the most profound sorrow

--Note the emphasis on diagonals.


Peter Paul Rubens, “Venus at a Mirror.” c. 1615.
Web. 27 July 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rubens_Venus_at_a_Mirror_c1615.jpg

Major theme: sensuous seduction

Peter Paul Rubens, “Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus.” c. 1617. WIkipedia. Web. 27 July 2011.

--“The two daughters of King Leucippus were betrothed to a set of twins, cousins of Castor and Pollux. But the latter pair carried the maidens off and had sons by them.”

--The myth is symbolic of physical passion.

--baroque feature: radiance and abundance in color.

(1) to commemorate the double marriage of Louis XIII of France to a Spanish princess and Philip IV of Spain to a French princess

(2) a message of (male) power over (female) privilege                             

                                             (Fiero 73)


Painting: Holland

Rembrandt Van Rijn (1606-69)

Rembrandt, The Return of the Prodigal Son, c. 1669. Wikipedia. Web. 27 July 2011.

“For theatrical effect, Rembrandt has pulled the figures out of the shadowy depths of the background. The father and son, bathed in golden light, form an off-center triangle balanced by the sharply lit vertical of the figure on the right” (Fiero 106-7).

Rembrandt, “The Anatomy Lecture of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp.”1632.
Wikipedia. Web. 27 July 2011.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Anatomy_Lesson_of_Dr._Nicolaes_Tulp

“In the company’s fascinated intentness on the corpse there is a palpable unease, almost an awareness of their own mortality” (Piper 216)

Rembrandt, “The Nightwatch.”1642. WIkipedia. Web. 27 July 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_Watch_(painting)

--Chiaroscuro is used as a dramatic device.

--”A company of Amsterdam musketeers is marching out—actually in daylight—under the command of their captain” (Lucie-Smith 300).



(left) Rembrandt, “Self-Portrait.” 1627. Rembrandtpainting. Web. 27 July 2011. <http://www.rembrandtpainting.net/rembrandt_self_portraits.htm>

(right) Rembrandt, “Self-Portrait.”1669. Rembrandtpainting. Web. 27 July 2011. < http://www.rembrandtpainting.net/rembrandt_self_portraits.htm>


Rembrandt’s Self-Portraits

Jan Vermeer (1632-75)

Vermeer,Woman Holding a Balance.” 1662-63. Mystudios. Web. 27 July 2011. http://www.mystudios.com/artgallery/J/Jan-Vermeer-Van-Delft/Woman-Holding-a-Balance-1662-63.html

An allegorical painting: “The woman stands between a depiction of the Last Judgment . . . and a table covered with jewelry representing material possessions. The empty scale stresses that she is balancing spiritual rather than material considerations.”


< http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/vermeer/balance.html>


Vermeer, “The Geographer.”  c. 1668. Archive. Web. 27 July 2011. http://artchive.com/artchive/V/vermeer/geographer.jpg.html

A painting that conveys the excitement of scholarly inquiry and discovery during the Age of Science.

ii. Sculpture

--“What is most typically and fundamentally Mannerist about Cellini’s statue is the way in which the artist distances himself from what is being shown, and makes a bloody deed playful and rather elegant. Even the blood spurting from Medusa’s trunk is treated in a decorative way” (Lucie-Smith 235-236)

--“a challenge to the artist’s virtuosity: three figures into a coherent spiral”  (Piper 169)

--The artificial contortions portray the physical stresses.


Source: (left) Benvenuto Cellini, “Perseus with the Head of Medusa.” 1554.
Web. 27 July 2011.

(middle) Giovanni Bologna, “Rape of a Sabine.” 1583.
Web. 27 July 2011.

(right) Giambologna, “Hercules Beating the Centaur Nessus.”1599.
Web. 27 July 2011.

Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598-1680)

An Italian baroque architect and sculptor

Bernini, “David.” ca. 1623. Owensboro. Web. 27 July 2011.

Renaissance vs. Baroque

Donatello, “David.” c. 1430. Finearttouch. Web. 27 July 2011. http://www.finearttouch.com/Donatello_s_David.html

Michelangelo, “David.” 1504. Wikipedia. Web. 27 July 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_(Michelangelo)

Gianlorenzo Bernini, “The Ecstasy of St. Teresa.” 1645-52. Columbia. Web. http://www.mcah.columbia.edu/arthum2/publicportfolio.cgi?view=2758&columns=2

The work depicts one of St. Teresa’s visions, in which an angel appeared to her and pierced her heart with a faming golden arrow: “The pain was so great that I screamed; but simultaneously I felt such infinite sweetness that I wished the pain to last eternally.” (Lucie-Smith 257)



Bernini,  “The Rape of Proserpina.” 1621-22. Wikipedia. Web. 27 July 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/index.html?curid=8969400

“The two figures burst violently apart from one another . . . . Bernini is interested in  . . .  expressing emotions—brutality and lust on the one hand, fear on the other—which he wants to bring home to the spectator a forcefully as possible” (Lucie-Smith 256).

Bernini,  “The Rape of Proserpina.” 1621-22. Wikipedia. Web. 27 July 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/index.html?curid=8969400

Source: Bernini, “Bust of Louis XIV.” 1665.  Bluffton. Web. 27 July 2011. http://www.bluffton.edu/~sullivanm/france/versailles/bernini/louisfourteen.html


Works Cited

Cunningham, Lawrence and John Reich. Culture and Values. 4th ed. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace, 1998.

Fiero, Gloria. The Humanistic Tradition. Vol. 2. 6th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011.

Gowing, Sir Lawrence, ed. A History of Art. Rev. ed. Oxfordshire, UK: Andromeda, 1995.

Lerner, Robert E., Standish Meacham, and Edward McNall Burns. Western Civilizations. 13th ed. New York: Norton, 1998.

Lucie-Smith, Edward. Art and Civilization. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1992.

Perry, Marvin. Western Civilization: A Brief History. 4th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2001.

Piper, David. The Illustrated History of Art. London: Chancellor, 1981.

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