The Baroque painting represented profound cultural and political changes that occurred in ancient Europe. The painting was characterized by many styles but it was classically associated with two things; grandeur and emotional content. Baroque painters were in pursuit of evoking emotions through their art in a more dramatic manner. The reason why artist in the 17th century, the year Baroque art emerged, chose to appeal to viewers in this particular way was because during that era, Europe had rose to become one of the two competing powerful forces. For this reason, the Baroque art was majorly used to represent power and authority.
The two competing authorities included the people who supported the Catholic Church. These were the Divine Kings of Austria, Great Britain, Spain and France. The other side constituted of the protestant movement. The followers of the Catholic Church adopted the use of art and paintings to get to their congregation and impress them. They built high-end churches decorating them with paintings on the walls and the ceilings. They employed the use of quadrature techniques to heighten the piety and to convey their intended magnificence of the divine. Other characteristics that define Baroque art include; classicism and realism or absolutism. An example of artists who were inspired by classism were; Claude Lorraine, Peter Paul Rubens and Nicholas Poussin while the classic example of naturalism was Caravaggio. Baroque art also exhaustively made use of the painting skills of famous painters like Pietro da Cortona. These skills continue to inspire art up to date. Baroque art is celebrated all over the world because of its ability to tell stories. The paintings told stories of histories of dynasties, lives of saints, myths and lives of ancient heroes.
Examples of Baroque painting
Image 1: Samson and Delilah (1609-1610) by Peter Paul Rubens, the great Flemish Baroque painter. Source: http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/history-of-art/baroque.htm
Image 2: The Apotheosis of St Ignatius (1694) San Ignazio, Rome, by Pozzo. One of the Baroque's most inspiring religious paintings ever created. Source: http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/history-of-art/baroque.htm