French Baroque 1600-1750
Europe in the 1600s was at the end of Counter Reformation, and as the political and cultural shifts took place, we begin to see art, particularly in France, influenced more and more, by the ruling monarchy. The transition from Mannerism into Baroque is not clear, but eventually the arts started to adopt a new look. And feel. Paintings started to become more exuberant, dynamic and ornamented. The scale of work produced during this time increased dramatically. Where Mannerism marked a departure from classical and realistic norms, Baroque becomes a return to these norms, but with an emotional undertow and visual tension. However, through the Baroque pursuit of eloquence, it abandoned the precious and contorted effects of mannerism. It was during this time that artists developed a love of harmony and symmetry and pursued new values expresses as metaphor, allegory. Artists main source of income were mostly from private commissions from upper class patrons instead of coming from the church. This led to the treatment of subject matter that was more universal, and less idealistic in theme.
The French approach to art in the early1seventeenth century differed from the rest of Europe. The majorities of Baroque artists from France were seen to be at odds with “the spirit of the age”, and were sometimes regarded as anti-Baroque. Artists like de la Tour did not take a conceptual view of art, and lacked the imaginative exuberance that is so common in other artwork from the 17th century. At this time the majority of the European population was composed of the working class. The French artist differed in the treatment of commoners, especially in comparison to the Dutch, who saw them as a source of good-natured humor. The French however portrayed them having grave and stoic dignity, resigned to a life of hardship. The peasant was given a level of respect never before seen in painting. Baroque artists outside of France
Georges de La Tour is one of the earliest of the French Baroque painters. He started out painting religious and genre scenes in a mannerist style, later showing strong influence from Caravaggio. He had a very abrasive personality that can be described as, haughty, sharp-tongued, self-assured, stingy, and violent. But he somehow produced a body of work that transcended his true nature. He gives us frozen moments that spur the viewer t...
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...rol over artists, and subsequently changed the style of French painting. This is the birth of Rococo and eventually the French Revolution. Rococo’s departure from the classical ideals of earlier work marks the end of the Baroque period. Despite this period’s lack of consistency in artistic development, its influence was lasting. The trademarks of seventeenth-century art, such as direct observation, emotional intensity, and facility with light and color, laid the foundation for the two major styles to emerge out of eighteenth-century Europe, Neo-classicism, and Romanticism. Some of these influences remain even today.
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