Baroque Art in Italy

This article explains the historical forces at play in the creation of the exuberant Baroque style in Italy during the 17th century.

Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Pluto and Proserpina, marble, 1621-22. Galleria Borghese, Rome

Baroque art is the style of the late 1500s and 1600s. The important thing to keep in mind now is that the Baroque style in Italy is the direct result of the Counter-Reformation. The Church needs a powerful style of art to use in the fight against Martin Luther. That's exactly what the Baroque style is: powerful, dramatic, muscular, sometimes frightening, and something that really gets to you! Bernini, one of the greatest artists of the Baroque period, worked in Rome, often for the papacy like Michelangelo before him. To get an idea of what a great sculptor he is, and how he can make marble seem like human flesh, look at his sculpture Pluto and Proserpina. What about this sculpture is different than anything we've seen before? Look at her hair, how it is flying back behind her as she turns her head, and remains in mid-air.

Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Pluto and Proserpina, detail, marble, 1621-22. Galleria Borghese, Rome

Source: Smarthistory,
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 License.

Saylor Academy Knowledge Check

Last modified: Tuesday, October 19, 2021, 10:05 AM