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Characteristic Elements of Baroque Painting

17th century


Drama. As if something is about to burst.

Exaggeration, stridency. In opposition to harmony, simplicity and calmness of the Renaissance.

Theatricality. Exaggerated poses.

Strong contrasts. Counterpoints between materialism and idealism, life and death, what is worldly and what is spiritual, rationalism against exaltation of the senses.


Tenebrism. Exaggerated Chiaroscuro, used to bring the drama tension to the limit.

Scenography. In accordance to that “theatrical” climate of the scenes.

Scorzo. Foreshortened figures.

Figura serpentinata (serpentine figure).

Very developed realistic technique. Very faithful representation of the reality of nature in general and the human figure in particular.

Boost of genres, such as vanitas, still life, landscape, genre painting (costumbrista painting) .


Recommended links:

Artistic Movements I: from Classical Antiquity to Rococo.


Rembrandt, Synonym of Chiaroscuro and Baroque.

Rubens, Wonderful Example of Baroque Painting.

Caravaggio and Tenebrism.

Vermeer and the Camera Obscura.

Fundamental Paintings to Understand the History of Painting: The Incredulity of Saint Thomas, Caravaggio.

Vanitas, Still Life Full of Symbology.

Characteristic Elements of Renaissance Painting.

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