The Baroque style was a style in which the art and artists of the time focused upon details, and intricate designs. During this time the portraits began to portray modern life, and artists turned their backs on classical tradition. Buildings were more elaborate and ornately decorated. These works of art created history and altered the progress of Western Civilization. The progress has been an uneven one. Regression and progress often alternated, and shifts in direction often occurred. Art, architecture, literature, and historical events shaped the ideas of the era we know today. Architecture such as the palace of Versailles, and artists like Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and Goya symbolize these ideas.
The palace of Versailles is a grand building outside of Paris, which exhibits the characteristics of the Baroque style. It was elaborately decorated and the final product took 20 years to create. The fence is covered with a sheet of gold; every room is filled with intricate carvings and elegant figurines. Each room reflects a certain time or king by the change in furniture and style. These rooms demonstrate this with items such as back-less chairs, which were created to accommodate the clothes of the period. The materials used to create each piece also distinguish the time period. First generation furniture was made of sterling silver, and the upholstery was changed with the seasons. Second generation furniture was very elaborate and made of wood. Versailles is a perfect example of progression in Western art. The entire house displays the transition from Medieval to Renaissance to the Baroque stylings. The palace is like a museum, which shows the progress of society using art and architecture.
Caravaggio was an artist of this period who was also a pioneer in art. The artists of this period began to portray modern life, instead of religious figures. Caravaggio was a violent man who came to Italy to paint. Rebelling against conventional ideas- divine intervention, Virgin Mary, and death- he came to create his own style, forcing civilization ahead, and forcing others to follow his path. His paintings show pleading through man's direct knowledge of God. By revolting against the classical traditions, he created his own style, which other artists wished to portray also. Thus, he created a forward movement in the fashion of art and architecture.
Rembrandt was also an artist who wished to depict art in a new manner. "Rembrandt, although in fact he was a profound student of the classical tradition, wanted to look at every episode as if it had never been depicted before, and to try to find an equivalent for it in his own experience." (Clark, 203). " Rembrandt's paintings goes beyond that of any other artist who had ever lived." (Clark, 205). In paintings such as Bathsheba, Rembrandt uses classical ideas and studies from nature to achieve balance. He perceived old images in a new light; transforming them into "the light of human experience." (Clark, 206). Just as Caravaggio did, Rembrandt created a path in art and others followed.
Francisco Goya, considered to be "the Father of Modern Art," began his painting career near the end of the Baroque period. As an artist, Goya was far removed from the classicals; in the greater part of his work a romantic style triumphed. His work "represented the reaction against previous conceptions of art and the desire for a new form of expression." (Keithe, 177). In expressing his thoughts and feelings candidly, he became the pioneer of new artistic tendencies, which were to come in the 19th century. Ahead of his time, Goya paved the way for a new artistic trend.
By the Baroque period, styles turned away from the classical ideas and reached a new peak in creativity. The palace of Versailles and artists like Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and Goya were all explorers in the world of art and architecture. Each of these examples demonstrates progress in Western Civilization and all helped to shape the world of art as we know it today.