Baroque Art in Europe




A.  Identify the artist that did this sculpture.

B.  From what time period and style does it belong?

C.  What Greek time period did Renaissance sculptors respond to the most at this time?




Gianlorenzo Bernini, St. Teresa of Avila in Ecstasy, 1645-52                                                                                    

A.  How does the Baroque sculpture by Bernini differ from Renaissance style sculpture?

B.  What characteristics identify this as Baroque?

C.  Baroque is described as being more dramatic than the Renaissance.  What features could be considered dramatic?

D.  What Greek time period did the Baroque sculptors respond to most?

E.  Why is this artist, Gianlorenzo Bernini, so important in the history of art?


Gianlorenzo Bernini, Rape of the Sabine Women


A.  What is the story of the Rape of the Sabine Women?

B.  How does the story relate to arranged marriages and the need to do what is good for the state (Rome)?

C.  Explain how the poses of the figures relate to the style of Greek art that Baroque sculptors are responding to.

D.  Describe how movement is used as an art principle to move the viewer's eye throughout the sculptural composition.

E.  What sculptural features contribute to this sculpture's evocation of emotion?

F.  What features of this sculpture characterize it as "dramatic"?



Caravaggio, Calling of Matthew, 1599-1602


A.  How is Caravaggio's painting style different from Michelangelo's, Leonardo's, or Raphael's in the Renaissance?

B.  What role does light play in making the scene seem more dramatic?

C.  How do the figures' gestures and glances move the viewer's eye around the composition?

D.  Why does it seem that this scene is taking place on a stage?

E.  What is supposedly taking place in this scene?  How does that relate to you, the viewer?  What message are you supposed to get?

F.  Where is this scene taking place and why is this significant?

G.  Why is Caravaggio pivotally important to the future direction of art?


Pietro da Cortona, Triumph of the Barberini, Ceiling fresco in the Palazzo Barberini, Rome, 1633-39


A.  In what way is this painting "illusionist"?

B.  Why would the patron, a wealthy and politically influential Roman family, depict family members being carried up to heaven?

C.  In what ways is this painting theatrical?

D.  How does this Baroque style differ from the Renaissance style of constructing interiors?



Artemisia Gentileschi, La Pittura, 1630                                                    Judith Leyster, Self Portrait, 1635


A.  Why was it important for female artists to paint self portraits during this time period?

B.  Looking at Gentileschi's self portrait, can you then conjecture that her Judith figures in her Judith and Holofernes paintings refer to her life/rape experience?

C.  What is the problem with making suppositions based on pictorial rather than textual documentation?

D.  Many of Artemisia's paintings were signed by her father Orazio Gentileschi.  Why do you think that might be the case?

E.  Leyster was very successful as a painter.  In what way do you think painting a self portrait would affect  business?

F.  It has been thought that Leyster was influenced by the painting style of Franz Hals.  It was later discovered that a painting attributed to Hals was signed by Leyster.  How would the discussion of who influenced whom affect art history?  Does it matter?



Judith Leyster, Self Portrait, 1635                                                            Rembrandt van Rijn, Self Portrait, 1659


A.  How do these two self portraits differ?

B.  How do you think the artists' intentions may have differed?


Rachel Ruysch, Flower Still Life, after 1700


A.  Northern painters continued to use disguised symbolism in the Baroque era.  What might individual flowers mean?

B.  What does the entire floral composition indicate about the financial status of the patron?

C.  Still life was considered to be low in the hierarchy of valued subject matter.  Why might this be?


Diego Velazquez, Fable of Arachne


A.  How does this painting tell the story of Velazquez's aspirations as a painter?

B.  Who did Velazquez consider to be his rival painter?  Why?

C.  Explain Velazquez's use of space.


Jan Vermeer, The Letter


A.  Explain the symbolism that may be part of Vermeer's message.

B.  How did the economic role of men in this maritime community relate to the subject matter of this painting?

C.  What message might be intended for women?

D.  Explain how Vermeer constructs space.


Nicholas Poussin, The Assumption, 1650


A.  Why did Poussin prefer Renaissance classicism to the Baroque style?

B.  How is Poussin's leaning toward classicism evident in this painting?

C.  What elements of this painting are Baroque?

D.  In the argument between the Poussinistes and the Rubenistes, what were the two arguments?


Jean-Honore Fragonard, The Swing, 1766


A.  This painting is considered to be Rococo style.  What makes it Rococo?

B.  What about this painting caused it to be on the edge of "bad taste"?

C.  How did viewers interact while viewing a painting such as this?  What was the painting's purpose?


Johann Balthasar Neumann, Kaisersal Residenz, 1719-44


A.  This is considered Rococo architecture.  What stylistic features can be considered Rococo?

B.  How does the Rococo style differ from classical Renaissance style?

C.  How does Rococo style differ from Baroque style?