The term Baroque is often used to refer to the period in Europe’s art history that begun in the seventeenth century and continued to develop gradually into the eighteenth century. Its roots can be traced back to ancient Rome where it first began before being adopted by other European countries in quick succession within the century. Baroque art derived its uniqueness from the fact that it incorporated every form of art. This period of art appreciated arts such as painting, architecture, sculptures as well as visual arts. Centuries later, the style of art is still being appreciated throughout the world and remains one of the unique periods of European art that Europe prides herself with. In this context, this paper elaborates the progression of some of the aesthetic principles expressed in visual arts during the Baroque era within the twentieth century and the role that visual arts play in our day to day lives.
An analysis of Baroque art reveals some significant characteristic unique to it. For instance, the extravagant use of motion pictures employed by most Baroque era artists was aimed at creating an atmosphere of grandeur, drama, and abundance for the audience. The same concept is seen being replicated in the other forms of artistry which includes sculpting, paintings, literature, and architecture. Another characteristic unique to Baroque art is the use of lighting to evoke a sort of mystical view on the part of the audience. The concept mostly referred to as chiaroscuro, involves contrasting brightness and darkness in a piece of art to bring forth a certain sense of realism from the given piece of art (Fokker, 1938). One artist of the Baroque period that was known to utilize the concept of chiaroscuro actively in his works of art is Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the sculptor of the famous Ecstasy of St. Theresa.
Chiaroscuro was just but one of the many styles that artists chose to incorporate into their work to evoke certain kinds of emotions from their intended audience. Other styles such as realism, naturalism and the use of lines had an almost similar effect since the exploitation of the styles were directed at kindling the imagination and emotions of the audience in question as well as inspiring an intended course of action from them (Gowans, 1981). Hence, artists of the Baroque period had this concept in mind whenever they were settling for which style to employ in their work. This is supported by the fact that the audiences that existed during the Baroque period accepted and appreciated art as a tool that artists use to communicate different issues that the contemporary society was facing at that time. This made it less stressful for them to relate to the stylistic devices used by the artists to express themselves.
Centuries later, the spirit of Baroque art still lives on and has extensive applications in modern design. The extravagance, flamboyance, and elaborateness of the concept of Baroque art have been the primary reason why it has been able to survive this long and continues to stir more individuals with its dynamism and vitality. For instance, the style of art has been exemplified in our contemporary commercial design owing to its flamboyant characteristics that can transform an item that is seemingly simple in appearance to look somewhat luxurious (Gowans, 1981). For instance, graphic designers have been able to enhance a range of items using certain ornaments attributed to Baroque art that can make their artwork to appear richer. The same concept has been utilized in the designing of homes where Baroque art is used in the decoration of homes in a luxurious manner. Decorating home items such as cushion covers, the upholstery, curtaining or even fireplace using Baroque art usually transforms the abode into a seemingly flamboyant one.
The power of visual design exemplified by the use of Baroque art in home and graphic design shows how vital visual elements are to portraits used especially for commercial purposes such as billboards and adverts. These optical elements assist in the building of an image that stands in place of a particular commodity as well as conveying an intended message to the viewer. The visual elements incorporated all work in synchrony to deliver the crafted information to the audience. Thus, in our context, the incorporation of Baroque art which is in a way a somewhat traditional element goes a long way to inspire certain concepts and ideas from the past when combined with modern style (Fokker, 1938). The following images from websites and adverts show examples of traditional elements of visual design incorporated into modern ones to convey specific messages and themes.
A glimpse at the visual elements incorporated in the adverts reveals the use of certain aspects of graphic design such as pattern, texture, and shape that have been borrowed from Baroque art. A simple look at these adverts makes the viewer decipher a lot about what the advert is trying to communicate (Kaur, 2013). What one would notice immediately is that very few wording is incorporated into these adverts since the art incorporated already speaks powerfully for itself. This is an immediate characteristic of Baroque art, and its explicitness makes it communicate better to customers and associated parties in a commercial environment.
This partially explains the dominant role played by visual forms in influencing our decisions to purchase such things as jewelry, automobiles, clothing and other related products and services. How these products and services are presented will affect a buyer’s decision to purchase them. Products that are designed using shouting colors and inviting shapes tend to attract the attention of buyers and thus significantly increasing their probability of purchasing them (Fokker, 1938). This is where traditional elements of visual arts tend to add to the aesthetic appeal of certain commodities. When a traditional element of art from the Baroque period is incorporated into a particular commodity, it will affect the purchasing behavior of especially those commodities that are considered less essential. This may even end up improving the profit margins for such a commodity and is evidence enough to illustrate the power of visual arts.
Thus, the influence of Baroque art within the twentieth century is immense when looked at from the angle of how it has transformed visual arts within the century. Its incorporation to different designs as well as its joint application with other forms of art has transformed the outlooks on art completely. The influence that Baroque art has had on the twentieth century helps to explain the crucial role that visual arts play in our daily lives. It has helped better our understanding that through art, we can have a better understanding of various places and commodities.
Gowans, A. (1981). Learning to see: Historical perspective on modern popular/commercial arts. Popular Press.
Kaur, S. (2013). Contrast enhancement techniques for images–a visual analysis.
Fokker, T. H. (1938). Roman Baroque art: the history of a style. Hacker Art Books.