Passion For Art

1600-1700

CARAVAGGIO (1571-1610) 'David with the Head of Goliath', 1610 (oil on canvas)
CARAVAGGIO (1571-1610)
‘David with the Head of Goliath’, 1610 (oil on canvas)

Baroque was a reaction against the artificial stylization of Mannerism. It spread throughout Europe during the 17th century. Among the great Baroque masters were the Italian painter Caravaggio and sculptor Bernini, the Flemish artist Rubens, Velazquez from Spain, and Rembrandt, the greatest of all Dutch painters.

Baroque art is identified by realistic subjects that depict spectacular action and generate powerful emotions. Religious, mystical and historical subjects, which were often propaganda for the Church or State, were brought to life with characters in contemporary clothing, by naturalistic painting of outstanding virtuosity, dramatic lighting (chiaroscuro) and bold asymmetric and diagonal compositions.

DUTCH ART
(c.1620-1670)

JAN VERMEER (1632-1675) 'The Milkmaid', 1658-61 (oil on canvas)
JAN VERMEER (1632-1675)
‘The Milkmaid’, 1658-61 (oil on canvas)

Dutch Art has become famous for its still lifes, portraits, landscapes, interiors and genre painting. With the spread of Protestantism in Holland and the rejection of Catholic Baroque, Dutch artists had to focus on a more limited range of secular subjects to which there were no objections on religious grounds. Consequently, artists tended to specialize more narrowly, often in one subject. For example, Willem Kalf painted still lifes, Frans Hals portraits, Jacob van Ruisdael landscapes, and Jan Vermeer was the outstanding genre painter. The exception was Rembrandt, the greatest of the Dutch masters whose genius is evident through a range media and subjects that capture the essence of the human condition.

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