What is Baroque?

In the early 18th Century, the term "Baroque" describes the exuberance of a raw, irregularly formed pearl. From there, one used it to describe the ideological imagery, of which catered to the princely absolutism, the Church contra-reformation and bourgeois moralism. This imagery is seen in the painting and sculptural art, in the architecture, in music and literature. A strong pervading illusionism, stateliness and abundance needed to convince the viewer of an internal message. The Baroque aspired to a power of persuasion of its own against the rationalism of the Renaissance. The representation of emotions is no longer a taboo: realism makes its entrance and shall serve as a counterpoint to the traditionally venerated theory of art.

The term "Baroque" covers a variety of levels and sometimes causes confusion, but is staunchly entrenched in today's parlance. In addition, the boundaries of the Baroque period are also disputed. Artistically speaking, the time period generally begins with the generation of Caravaggio (1571-1610). Yet also with the religious revolution of the Council of Trent (1545-1563), this could be considered a beginning. In the Southern Low Countries, the Baroque roughly coincides with the historical period between the Fall of Antwerp and the Treaty of Utrecht, when the Spanish territory fell into Austrian hands. This website takes the latter definition into account and deals with artists active between 1585 and 1713.

Nico Van Hout (Scientific researcher at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp)

Thematic collection: SPECIALISATIONS: Genre Painting

Jacob Jordaens I, The old Folks sing, the young Folks chirp, KMSKA, Antwerp
The art of genre painting that originates in the Netherlands is moralistic by nature and through this shows how things should not be. The genre has a connection with the contemporary literature. Three main types are...
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Frans Vekemans  - Cornelis de Vos - circa 1625

Frans Vekemans - Cornelis de Vos

Museum Mayer van den Bergh Antwerp
Tomb of Monseigneur Antonius Triest - Jerôme Duquesnoy II

Tomb of Monseigneur Antonius Triest - Jerôme Duquesnoy II

Saint Bavo Cathedral Ghent
Bouquet in a Niche - Osias Beert - circa 1603 - 1605

Bouquet in a Niche - Osias Beert

Museum Rockoxhuis
Saint Martin - Anthony van Dyck

Saint Martin - Anthony van Dyck

Saint Martin's Church Zaventem
Assumption of the virgin - Peter Paul Rubens - 1625 - 1626

Assumption of the virgin - Peter Paul Rubens

Cathedral of our Lady Antwerp
The annunciation - Jan Janssens

The annunciation - Jan Janssens

Museum of Fine Arts Ghent
Christ Crowned with Thorns - Jacob van Oost I - 1661

Christ Crowned with Thorns - Jacob van Oost I

Groeninge Museum Bruges
The adoration of the Magi - Peter Paul Rubens - 1624

The adoration of the Magi - Peter Paul Rubens

Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp
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Three versions of 'The Battle of the Amazons'

The Rubens House in Antwerp presents three versions of the painting The Battle of the Amazons. The young Rubens...
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Exhibition 'Rubens, Van Dyck and Jordaens'

The Royal Museum of Fine Arts (KMSKA) is closed in the coming years due to renovation works. Paul Huvenne (Director,...
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