Beautiful Buildings Of Baroque Architecture

The word ‘baroque’ came from a Portuguese word ‘barocco’ or a Spanish word ‘barueco’ that means irregularly shaped pearl. Later, the name came to indicate an extravagant style of architecture influenced by rich and highly ornate elements. Baroque architecture emerged in America and Europe between 17th and 18th centuries. It had a completely different sense of style.  

Various scientific discoveries, religion and political situations influenced architecture of the period. Baroque architectural style was mainly characterized by:

  • A sense of energy and motion by undulating walls and ornate details through the buildings
  • Chiaroscuro with dramatic contrasts in lighting and shadows
  • Artistic color effects
  • Bold volumes and masses, domes, colonnades

st peters basilica
Saint Peter's Basilica Square Colonnade, Vatican City, Rome, Italy by Architect Bernini

Special Architectural Features Of Baroque Architecture
Baroque architecture is largely inspired by dynamic forms and designs to connect to the sensuality. Some of the key features of Baroque architecture are:

  • Curving forms with undulated walls and facades
  • Complex architectural plans
  • Different forms of domes
  • Grandeur and colossal scale
  • Irregular forms
  • Oval or elliptical shapes
  • Extravagant ostentations and ornamental details
  • Monumental stairways
  • Brightly colored and lively painted ceilings
  • Solomonic columns having spiral shaft
  • Intentionally unfinished elements
  • Mirrors
  • Illusory artistic effects, i.e., trompe l’oeil
  • Sculptures

Early Baroque Period (1584-1625)
st peters
Saint Peters Basilica, Vatican City, Rome, Italy by Architect Carlo Maderno

Early Baroque period (1584-1625) was characterized by grand religious architecture to create sensuous and emotional connections with people and inspire them through magnificence of design.

High Baroque Period (1625-1675)
santa maria della salute
Santa Maria della Salute Church, Venice, Italy by Architect Baldassare Longhena

Baroque architecture came to it top during High Baroque period (1625-1675). Francesco Borromini and Gian Lorenzo Bernini were amongst the most prominent architects of this era.  Churches of Sant’lvo alla Sapienza, Oratorio dei Filippini and San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane were designed by the influential architect Borromini. Bernini designed Fontana della Barcaccia, Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi and St. Peter’s Square. Some other remarkable buildings of High Baroque era are Barberini Palace, Pavillon de I’Horloge, Santa Maria della Salute.

Late Baroque Period (1675-1750)
chapel palace of versailles
Chapel, Palace of Versailles, France by Architect Robert de Cotte

During the Late Baroque period (1675-1750), style of architecture spread throughout Europe. Different Baroque styles were developed in different countries. A rather classical Baroque style was adopted in France such as the Chapel of the Palace of Versailles. Remarkable architects of this era were Carlo Maderno, Fischer von Erlach, Christopher Wren, Nicolas Hawksmoor and Balthasar Neumann.

Baroque architecture came as a reaction to the architecture of Renaissance period. It inherited fundamental architectural features from Renaissance era such as domes, colonnades. But everything in Baroque architecture was richly ornate and elaborate.

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