The Baroque style of art and architecture developed in Europe, England, and the Americas during the 17th and early 18th centuries. The baroque style is characterized by an emphasis on unity among the arts. The baroque artist achieved harmony in painting, sculpture, and architecture and created new spatial relationships. In painting and sculpture this was achieved by means of highly developed naturalistic illusionism, usually heightened by dramatic lighting effects, creating an unequaled sense of theatricality, energy, and movement of forms. Architecture, unlike that of the Renaissance, took on the fluid aspects of sculpture.
Landscapes, still lifes, and genre scenes were painted by such artists as Claude Lorrain, Jacob van Ruisdael, and Jan Vermeer and Caravaggio. The illusionistic effects of deep space interested many painters. Other baroque painters opened up interior spaces by representing long files of rooms, often with extended views through doors, windows, or mirrors, as in the works of Diego Vel zquez and Vermeer.
Color was manipulated for its emotional effects, ranging from the clear calm tones of Nicholas Poussin, to the warm and shimmering colors of Pietro da Cortona, to the more vivid hues of Peter Paul Rubens. A heightened sense of drama was achieved through chiaroscuro in the works of Caravaggio and Rembrandt.
Baroque sculptors felt free to combine different materials within a single work and often used one material to simulate another.
Buildings of the period are composed of great curving forms with ground plans of incredible size and complexity. Baroque architects used domes of various shapes. Many works of baroque architecture were executed on a colossal scale, incorporating aspects of urban planning and landscape architecture. This is most clearly seen in Bernini's elliptical piazza in front of St. Peter's in Rome, or in the gardens, fountains, and palace at Versailles, designed by Louis Le Vau, Jules Hardouin-Mansart, and Andre Le Notre.