Introduction to Baroque and Rococo Architecture

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Text of Introduction to Baroque and Rococo Architecture

  • Prof. Amal Shah, Faculty of Design, CEPT University


    B a r o q u e a n d R o c o c o

  • The fundamental characteristic of Baroque art is dynamism (a sense of motion). Strong curves, rich decoration, and general complexity are all typical features of Baroque art.

    The full Baroque aesthetic emerged during the Early Baroque, and High Baroque; both periods were led by Italy.

    The Baroque age concluded with the French-born Rococo style (ca. 1725-1800), in which the violence and drama of Baroque was quieted to a gentle, playful dynamism. The Late Baroque and Rococo periods were led by France


  • The Baroque is a period of artistic style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, architecture, literature, dance, theater, and music. The style began around 1600 in Rome, Italy, and spread to most of Europe.

    The popularity and success of the Baroque style was encouraged by the Catholic Church, which had decided at the time of the Council of Trent, in response to the Protestant Reformation, that the arts should communicate religious themes in direct and emotional involvement.

    The aristocracy also saw the dramatic style of Baroque architecture and art as a means of impressing visitors and expressing triumph, power and control. Baroque palaces are built around an entrance of courts, grand staircases and reception rooms of sequentially increasing opulence. However, "baroque" has resonance and application that extend beyond a simple reduction to either style or period.

  • Baroque architecture is the building style of the Baroqueera, begun in late 16th-century Italy, that took the Roman vocabulary of Renaissance architecture and used it in a new rhetorical and theatrical fashion.

    It was characterized by new explorations of form, lightand shadow, and dramatic intensity.

    The Baroque was, initially at least, directly linked to the Counter-Reformation, a movement within the Catholic Church to reform itself in response to the Protestant Reformation.

    Baroque architecture and its embellishments were on the one hand more accessible to the emotions and on the other hand, a visible statement of the wealth and power of the Church.

    The new style manifested itself in particular in the context of the new religiousorders, like the Theatinesand the Jesuits who aimed to improve popular faith.


    The most impressive display of Churrigueresque (Spanish Baroque style) spatial decoration found in the west faade of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

    Belfry in Mons, Belgium designed by architect Louis Ledoux

    Church of SantAgnese in Agone, in Piazza Navona, rebuilt in the Baroque style. Francesco Borromini and Gianlorenzo Bernini (bitter rivals) worked on the church.

  • Distinctive features of Baroque architecture can include:

    1. In churches, broader naves and sometimes given oval forms.

    2. Fragmentary or deliberately incomplete architectural elements.

    3. Dramatic use of light; either strong light-and-shade contrasts as at the church of Weltenburg Abbey, or uniform lighting by means of several windows.

    4. Opulent use of colour and ornaments (putti or figures made of wood (often gilded), plaster or stucco, marble or faux finishing).

    5. Large-scale ceiling frescoes.6. An external faade often

    characterized by a dramatic central projection.

    7. The interior is a shell for painting, sculpture and stucco

    8. Illusory effects like an art technique involving extremely realistic imagery in order to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects appear in three dimensions and the blending of painting and architecture.

    9. Pear-shaped domes in the Bavarian, Czech, Polish and Ukrainian Baroque

    10. Marian and Holy Trinity columns erected in Catholic countries, often in thanksgiving for ending a plague

    Weltenburg Abbey, Bavaria, Germany

    Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc, Czech Republic

  • The Church of the Ges or Chiesa del Santissimo Nome di Ges all'Argentina or Church of the Most Holy Name of Jesus at the "Argentina.

    Its facade is "the first truly baroque faade", introducing the baroque style into architecture.

  • The plan synthesizes the central planning of the High Renaissance, expressed by the grand scale of the dome and the prominent piers of the crossing.

    Everywhere inlaid polychrome marble revetments are relieved by gilding, frescoed barrel vaults enrich the ceiling and rhetorical white stucco and marble sculptures break out of their tectonic framing.

  • Francesco Borromini was the master of curved-wall architecture. Though he designed many large buildings, Borromini's most famous and influential work may be the small church of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane ("Saint Charles at the Four Fountains").

    The concave-convex facade of San Carlo undulates in a non-classic way.

    Tall Corinthian columns stand on plinths and bear the main entablatures; these define the main framework of two storeys and the tripartite bay division. Between the columns, smaller columns with their entablatures weave behind the main columns and in turn they frame niches, windows, a variety of sculptures as well as the main door,

  • The three principal parts can be identified vertically as the lower order at ground level, the transition zone of the pendentives and the oval coffered dome with its oval lantern.

  • The pendentives are part of the transition area where the undulating almost cross-like form of the lower order is reconciled with the oval opening to the dome. The arches which spring from the diagonally placed columns of the lower wall order frame the altars and entrance.

    The oval entablature to the dome has a 'crown' of foliage and frames a view of deep set interlocking coffering of octagons, crosses and hexagons which diminish in size the higher they rise. Light floods in from windows in the lower dome that are hidden by the oval opening and from windows in the side of the lantern. In a hierarchical structuring of light.

  • The church of Sant'Andrea al Quirinale, an important example of Roman Baroque architecture, was designed by GianLorenzo Berniniwith Giovanni de'Rossi.

    Unlike San Carlo, SantAndrea is set back from the street and the space outside the church is enclosed by low curved quadrant walls.

    An oval cylinder encases the dome, and large volutes transfer the lateral thrust. The main faade to the street has a pedimentedframe at the center of which a semicircularporch with two Ionic columns marks the main entrance.

  • In contrast to the dark side chapels, the high altar niche is well lit from a hidden source and becomes the main visual focus of the lower part of the interior. As a result, the congregation effectively become witnesses to the theatrical narrative of St Andrew which begins in the High Altar chapel and culminates in the dome.

  • (1) Main entrance,

    (2) Chapel of Saint Francis Xavier,

    (3) Chapel of the Passion,

    (4) Chapel Saint StanislasKostka,

    (5) Chapel of Saint Ignatius of Loyola,

    (6) Main altar, (7) Entrance to

    novitiate and access to the rooms of Saint StanislasKostka.

  • Inside, the main entrance is located on the short axis of the church and directly faces the high altar. The oval form of the main congregational space of the church is defined by the wall, pilasters and entablature, which frame the side chapels, and the golden dome above. Large paired columns supporting a curved pediment differentiate the recessed space of the high altar from the congregational space.

  • Baroque in Residencies and PalacesThe Late Baroque marks the ascent of France as the heart of Western culture. Baroque art of France tends to be restrained.

    The most distinctive element of French Baroque architecture is the double-sloped mansard roof.

    The most famous Baroque structures of France are magnificent chateaux (grand country residences), greatest of which is the Palace of Versailles. The Palace of Louvre in France and Blenheim Palace in England are other fine examples.

  • Vaux-le-VicomteThe Chteau de Vaux-le-Vicomte is a baroque French chteau located in Maincy.

    The chteau was an influential work of architecture in mid-17th-century Europe. At Vaux-le-Vicomte, the architect Louis Le Vau, the landscape architect Andr le Ntre, and the painter-decorator Charles Le Brunworked together on a large-scale project for the first time.

    Their collaboration marked the beginning of the "Louis XIV style" combining architecture, interior design and landscape design.

  • THE LOUVRE The LOUVRE museum is one of the

    world's largest museums and a historic monument in Paris,France on the right bank of the river Seine. Presently used as a very famous art museum , design / textile museum , historic site transformed from a royal palace . The building was first made with an intention of a fortress by Philippe || France .

    LOUVRE Begun in 1190 and constructed of cut stone, the Louvre is a masterpiece of the French renaissance . Architect Pierre Lescot was one of the first to apply pure classical ideas in France, and his design for a new wing at the Louvre defined its future development.

  • The present-day Louvre Palace is a vast complex of wings and pavilions on four main levels which, although it looks to be unified, is the result of many phases of building, modification, destruction and restoration.

  • From the renaissance their are famous