1600s – Rome is the birthplace of Baroque art.
Characteristics of Baroque in Italy
 Energetic movement
 Detail
 Dramatic
 Tenebrism: exaggerated contrast of darks and lights
Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598-1680)
Painter, sculptor, architect
Architectural Work
St. Peter’s Piazza, Rome
Under his supervision, 39 artists created his sculptural plans
*** His most impressive and largest project was the design for the
piazza in front of St. Peter’s in Rome.
 Oval area framed by Doric colonnade
 An Egyptian obelisk in the centre
 Two big fountains on each side
It is Classic in its style because of Greek columns, but the curves of the
oval piazza are Baroque.
The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa, 1645-1652
 Mystical event: Saint Theresa, a Carmelite nun, believed that a
pain in her side was caused by an angel stabbing her repeatedly
with a fire-tipped arrow.
 Her face expresses her pain and ecstasy of being visited by the
 She floats on a marble cloud
 Rays of bronze shower down on her from its ceiling
 A hidden window behind the sculpture lets in real rays of light.
David, 1623
David’s body is twisted as he pivots to throw the stone at Goliath.
 Expansive
 Dramatic
 Energetic
Caravaggio (1571-1610)
First giant artist of the Baroque era
1. Religious figures in common, earthly places
2. Figures are frequently barefoot with dirty soles exposed
3. Common people are used as models
4. Extreme naturalism: e.g. artworks are life-size and include rotten
spots on apples in a still life.
5. Tenebrism: intense value and contrast
6. Figures in front of a plain dark background
7. Hard edges
8. Lit by single source of light
9. Master of foreshortening, drama, colour, light and still lifes
Supper at Emmaus, 1597
 Christ had appeared to two of his followers on the road to Emmaus.
When he blessed the food on the table, they realized in shock that it
was Christ.
 Man on the right throws his arms out in amazement
 Man on the left shoves his chair away from the table.
 Still life is so natural that apples are shown with rotten spots.
Deposition of Christ, 1602-04
 The slab appear to project from the canvas into the viewer’s space
 Christ’s limp hand touches the slab, connecting it with the group of
Stage-like feeling adds to the drama
Extreme contrasts:
o Nearly nude figure of Christ is contrasted by the clothed figures
o Intense highlights and extremely dark shadows
o Life is contrasted with death
o Hunched figures contrast upright figures
o Horizontal figure of Christ is contrasted by the vertical
direction of the standing figures and the entire composition
Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1653)
Influential female artist
Follower of Caravaggio, who spread his Baroque style throughout
Judith and Maidservant with the Head of Holofernes, 1625
 Hebrew heroine, Judith surrendered herself to the enemy when the
Babylonian army was invading her city.
 When she was held captive, she and her servant found and beheaded
the general, Holofernes, which caused the Babylonians to retreat
from the city.
 Tenebrism can be seen as the scene is lit with a single candle.