Languages of Baroque
From Italy, the Baroque spread throughout the Catholic world, bringing to it new artistic values, techniques and materials based on the premises of Italian art and architecture. The Baroque style was adopted and modified according to the religious, political, social and artistic environment of each country in question. Baroque expressed itself in different ways: initially opposing the values of antiquity, mostly in painting, but Bernini’s works, for example, largely depended on the values of his Hellenistic predecessors. Architecture, as well, despite Borromini’s inventive plans, preserved classical elements.

Tenebrism was introduced, and realism, as well as emotional drama, was reinterpreted by Caravaggio. That was his legacy to painting, carried on by his followers, all of them strong individuals. The classicist tendencies of Carracci, on the other hand, manifested in rather the opposite formal vocabulary, similar to that in Renaissance art, and developed in the works of artists who were closer to patrons who wanted to show off their power. In the art of the Baroque, interpretation of nature resulted in the expressive realism that prevailed over the accuracy of a Renaissance image or the Mannerist “redemption”.

Differences between Catholic and Protestant ideology was reflected in iconography and, consequently, influenced the formal features of artworks. A new approach toward religious art was promoted by the Council of Trent and was most eagerly promoted by the Jesuit order. In most of aspects, the Baroque succeeded in being persuasive and to convey with the same enthusiasm emotional drama or the simplicity of everyday life. Baroque architecture reflected both the changes in lifestyle and the new approach to liturgical ceremony. City planning, which included largely elaborate fortifications, evidenced politically troubled centuries.

The Rape of Proserpina
1621–1622
Borghese Gallery
Rome, Italy

Madonna in glory with the patron saints of Bologna
1630
Pinacoteca Nazionale
Bologna, Italy

St. Jerome
1605/06
Borghese Gallery
Rome, Italy

The Martyrdom of St. Ursula
1600
Church of St. Nicholas and Dominic
Imola, Bologna, Italy

St. Francis Xavier
c. 1700
Diocese Museum of the Požega Diocese
Požega, Požeško-Slavonska County, Croatia

Jesuit and University Church of the Virgin Mary of the Snows, Olomouc
1712–1719
Olomouc, Moravia, Czech Republic