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Italian art

The Baroque Period

In the early 17th cent. Rome became the center of a renewal of Italian dominance in the arts. In Parma, Correggio decorated church vaults with lively figures floating softly on clouds—a scheme that was to have a profound influence on baroque ceiling paintings. The stormy chiaroscuro paintings of Caravaggio and the robust, illusionistic paintings of the Bolognese Carracci family gave rise to the baroque period in Italian art. Domenichino, Francesco Albani, and later Andrea Sacchi were among those who carried out the classical implications in the art of the Carracci.

On the other hand, Guido Reni, Guercino, Gentileschi, Lanfranco, and later Pietro da Cortona and Padre Pozzo, while thoroughly trained in a classical-allegorical mode, were at first inclined to paint dynamic compositions full of gesticulating figures in a manner closer to that of Caravaggio. The towering virtuoso of baroque exuberance and grandeur in sculpture and architecture was Bernini. Toward 1640 many of the painters leaned toward the classical style that had been brought to the fore in Rome by the French expatriate Nicolas Poussin. The sculptors Alessandro Algardi and the Fleming François Duquenoy also tended toward the classical. Notable late baroque artists include the Genoese Gaulli and the Neapolitans Luca Giordano and Francesco Solimena.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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