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  • A

    style='font-size:31.5pt;font-family:ATClassicRoman;color:black'>GE OF THE BAROQUE

     

    ARCHITECTURE, ART, AND SCULPTURE

    Baroque architecture aimed at dramatic effect, and baroque sculpture portrayed

    emotional intensity or imitated the realities of nature. The baroque was able to

    fuse elements inherited from past architectural styles. From the Gothic, baroque

    art took over a striving to express the supernatural and an interest in closely

    observed detail in nature, and from the Renaissance the baroque continued the

    use of classic forms in architecture. Contours were irregular, and the total effect

    of a building was indented rather than displaying the compact and solid nature

    of the classical style. Architecture also reflected the search for grandeur and

    power that was widespread in the 17th century. Magnificently ornamented

    facades, twisted and bloated columns, decoration that emphasized deep colors

    32

    and iridescent gilding, framed in heavy draperies, achieved an overall splendor.

    All the parts of the baroque palace were subordinated to the grandeur of the

    total form and conveyed an impression of limitless space. The palaces usually

    included a sweeping grand stairway intended to impress visiting princes, great

    halls, expanses of mirrors, and long rows of windows that looked out over carefully

    clipped hedges and geometrically patterned walkways.

    Numerous absolute rulers of the German principalities during the period

    from 1690 to 1770 aspired to reside in palaces that imitated the Versailles of

    Louis XIV. Examples were the Zwinger Palace in Dresden, designed by Mätthias

    Pöppelmann (16621736), and the episcopal palace of the prince-bishop of

    Würzburg by Balthasar Neumann (16871753). To this can be added the Heidelberg

    Castle and the Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin. In Austria the chief

    architects were Fischer von Erlach (171639) and Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt

    (16681745). Fischer von Erlach designed one of the finest churches

    of the high baroque period, the St. Charless Church built by Emperor Charles

    VI. It was built on an oval plan with a mighty dome. Hildebrandts masterpiece

    was the Belvedere Palace built in Vienna between 1700 and 1723 as the summer

    palace for Prince Eugene of Savoy. Its elegance and monumental scale

    made it one of the supreme achievements of the Viennese baroque.

    The great monastic church of Melk was built by Jacob Prandtauer (16551727)

    and Josef Munggenast between 1702 and 1738 and dominates the landscape

    from a cliff above the Danube. Its festive interior of gray marble with gilt ornamentation

    replaced the largely white background of Italian naves. Balconies in

    baroque churches were placed between massive Corinthian pilasters and gilded

    and suggested a box at an opera. Grandeur in the use of domes was softened

    by delicacy of detail in sculpture and carving. An example was the facade of the

    Church of the Fourteen Saints by Balthasar Neumann. Sculptured figures of

    gods and saints came to dominate architecture, and they became indistinguishable

    from pictorial backgrounds. Perhaps the best-known example of a

    freestanding sculpture and classical influence are found in the bronze equestrian

    statue of the Great Elector by Andreas Schlüter (16641715) in the grand

    courtyard of the Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin. Other baroque ornamentation

    can be found in the church altars of Bavaria and Austria with their charming

    painted wood sculptures. The figures of the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene,

    the saints, angels, and representations of the Christ Child are so attractive that

    one would think the artist had searched for the most beautiful models. Their

    expressive features register grief, tearful sorrow, or radiant joy. The spread of a

    hand, the gesture of an arm, and the posture of the figures are lively and graceful.

    Franz Ignaz Günther (172575), court sculptor, had a large shop in Munich.

    His Pietà and Annunciation (1764) at Weyarn in Upper Bavaria represents the

    Bavarian rococo at its very best. Located in the Bürgersaal Church in Munich,

    the group of the Guardian Angel shows the Archangel Raphael leading young

    Tobias by the hand. The contrast of the haughty angel and the overawed but

    trusting youngster is unique in sculpture.

    The pictorial nature of the art of this period emphasizes softened contours

    in light and shade, as in a Rembrandt painting. Baroque painting stressed spaceenlargement,

    creating the illusion of vanishing walls and ceilings. Light and

    Age of the Baroque 33

    color were used to dissolve form as in paintings of Peter Paul Rubens. But art

    also strove to reflect the supernatural and also to glorify monarchs and princes,

    and inspire in the beholder feelings of grandeur or devotion. In defining the

    character of the baroque style Heinrich Wölfflin described it as painterly or

    pictorial in contrast to the sculptural character of the Renaissance. Portraiture

    now came to express the individuality of the subject. Whereas in the Renaissance

    landscapes were used as backdrops for religious topics, now landscapes

    came into their own as subjects of beauty. The art of the period now came

    increasingly to serve the interests of kings and princes, and the interest of religion

    only in baroque churches.

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