ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Facts About Baroque Architecture and Sculpture

Updated on April 24, 2013
Ecstasy of Saint Teresa
Ecstasy of Saint Teresa | Source

Rome, with Il Gesù, was the birthplace of baroque architecture. The beginning of the style can be seen also in some of the late work of Michelangelo. Il Gesù, a curious combination of medieval and Renaissance features, combines the longitudinal Gothic tradition with an emphasis on the central portion of the building that is characteristic of the Renaissance. The free-floating effect of the cupola, expressive of a longing for the infinite, has been described as a "movement of physical nature toward spiritual goals." Il Gesù heralded the baroque feeling for the fluidity of space, a feeling that ultimately found expression in such baroque features as richly ornamented facades, magnificently sweeping staircases, and ornamental gardens that, unlike the center-related Renaissance gardens, served as the setting and a foreground for a distant view from the great castles built during the period.

Baroque architecture and sculpture go hand in hand. Many artists, such as Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini, were masters of both. The dynamic effects of baroque architecture were aided by the fullest possible use of decorative sculptural detail. At the same time, the architecture, whether of a church or a castle, became ever more crucial to the plastic creations of sculpture. As baroque art spread and unfolded, its full flowering after 1600 studded Europe with castles, churches, bridges, fountains, theaters, villas, statues, and a vast variety of furniture and bric-a-brac that embellished the homes of the aristocracy and of wealthy merchants and businessmen. Rome, Vienna, Munich, Madrid, Warsaw, and Prague are among the great showplaces of the baroque style. The finest work belongs largely to the "high baroque," from 1600 to 1660.

Among the most eminent and fascinating figures of the baroque period was Bernini, the greatest Italian architect and sculptor after Michelangelo. He was born in 1598 and died in 1680, having produced magnificent buildings and art works in unbelievable profusion. He was the daring genius who fully grasped and molded the spirit of his age. Next to him, Francesco Borromini (1599–1667) and Guarino Guarini (1624–1683) were preeminent among Italians.


Among the French, François Mansart (1598–1666) maintained strongly classicist reservations in the face of the baroque movement. Claude Perrault (1613–1688) was outstanding as the builder of the Louvre; his design won over Bernini's more forcefully baroque proposal.

Spain produced no architect equal in distinction to these, although the Escorial (1563–1584), designed by Juan de Toledo and Juan de Herrera, is a powerful monument of the early baroque. More important than the architects of Spain proper were those of the Low Countries, especially Jacques Franquart (1577–1651) in the Spanish Netherlands and Jacob van Campen (1595–1657) and Pieter Post (1600–1669) in the independent Netherlands. From these centers and from Italy a number of minor architects went to the many courts of Germany, Austria, and the eastern monarchies, especially Poland and Russia. In these countries during the early 18th century, a second period of baroque architecture, tending toward rococo forms, produced some of the finest baroque churches and castles. The greatest names are Fischer von Erlach (1656–1723), the brothers Asam (Cosmas Damian, 1686–1739, and Egid Quirin, 1692–1750), and Balthasar Neumann (1687–1753). The episcopal palace at Würzburg, the Hofburg and other castles in Vienna, and the churches of Salzburg are among the best-known works of the period. Prague, Krakow, and Warsaw also are studded with magnificent late baroque works.

In England, always somewhat apart from the rest of Europe in its architectural development, the dominant architect of the high baroque was Inigo Jones (1572–1651). Inspired by the great Renaissance artist Andrea Palladio, Jones created a number of masterpieces in the "classicist" tradition, especially the castles at Greenwich and Wilton. Christopher Wren (1632–1723), active in rebuilding London after the fire of 1666, was more directly baroque in style.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)