This week we will be looking at artists from the Baroque era!
This style of art flourished in Europe from the early 17th century until the 1740s. It used contrast of light and shadow, sensuous richness of deep colors and drama, exuberant detail and luscious gradeur to draw it’s viewer in.
It is one of my most beloved art eras! Here are some of my absolute favorite artists and their work from the exceedingly dynamic and ornate era that is Baroque!
- It can be said that Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was Father of the Baroque era! His work and ability were admired throughout his lifetime as well as leaving an enormous impact on artists throughout the ages.
- Stylistic followers of Caravaggio were called Caravaggisti or Caravagesques. I have included several in this post!
- Caravaggio’s style was known for his use of Chiaroscuro, which is the contrast of light and shade. Caravaggio took this method to the extreme with his somber dark backgrounds and dramatic spotlight on his figures.
See if you can spot ” Chiaroscuro ” being used in the art shared in today’s post.
Caravaggio’s painting’s were a total expression of his quite turbulent and eccentric life!
- Caravaggio was born during the Bubonic Plague in which his father, grandparents and later his mother all died from.
- When he was only 12, Caravaggio started a apprenticeship with artist, Simone Peterzano which set his career into motion.
- Caravaggio was known for staying up all night to paint. It is said that he famously painted for two weeks straight!
- Now although Caravaggio was known as a master painter, he also was known to be an unpredictable, dangerous criminal! Some say the reason for his violent behavior may have been the toxic levels of lead in the paint that he used. This may have been the cause of his death as well. Fighting and roaming the streets with a sword, cutting a hole in his ceiling allowing for more natural light for painting and even murder are just a few instances that make up the life of artist that is, Michaelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio!
- Elisabetta Sirani was an Italian Baroque painter and printmaker. She was born into an artistic family and later ended up establishing an academy for other women artists. When her farther got sick, she was able to support her entire family with her art! Her death is however considered suspicious. Elisabetta died young. A maid servant was later charged with poisoning her. Elisabetta left a very special legacy because of her teaching and received a very elaborate funeral.
- Georges de La Tour was a French Baroque painter known for mostly religious chiaroscuro scenes lit by candlelight, often compared to fellow artist Hendrick Ter Brugghen. La Tour’s early work derived from Dutch Caravaggisti.
- A little side note, his painting ” Magdalene with the Smoking Flame ” was in the Disney movie ” The Little Mermaid ” when Ariel sings the song ” Part of Your World “. I would probably sing the same song if I ever saw his paintings in the flesh! 😉
- Rachel Ruysch was a still life painter specializing in flowers. Her father was a professor of anatomy and botany. His collection of animal skeletons, mineral and botany samples helped Rachel to practice her drawing skills. The simplicity of her atmospheric paintings completely lure me into a dreamlike state.
- Hendrick Ter Brugghen was a Dutch painter and a leading member of Utrecht Caravaggisti. You will notice how he also used the technique of chiaroscuro to express his visions onto his works of art.
- Peter Paul Rubens, a very prominent artist at the time said of Brugghen that he was ” above that of all other Utrecht artists. ”
- Nicolas Regnier was a painter, art dealer and art collector. He was one of the first Flemish followers of Caravaggio. He painted one of my favorite pieces ” Saint Sebastian Tended by Holy Irene ” three times during his life. The bold red colors of Irene’s dress and blanket, the tender way St Irene and the other woman tend to the wounded St Sebastian and Sebastian himself with his beautiful twisted figure. I love this piece so much!
- Artemisia Gentileschi was an Italian Baroque painter. She is considered one of the most accomplished artists working in the style of Caravaggio.
- She was the first woman to become a member of Accademia di Arte Del Disegro and had international clientele.
- Artemisia like many female artists had to fight against many issues throughout her life as a woman including violence and prejudice. Critics have said that many of her paintings suggest a repressed vengeance. Maybe thats true and maybe its not! No matter what the case, I find her work bold, brave and absolutely beautiful!
- In the end however she was with strong determination able to become a very productive artist among the most respected painters of her time.
- Johannes Vermeer was a Dutch Baroque painter. Although he is known as one of the greatest painters of the Dutch Golden age. (The Dutch Golden age coincided with the Baroque era but diverged with its aesthetics. )
- He had little to no success as an artist during his life. Veermeer also never signed any of his work, resulting in in several forgeries of paintings.
- His paintings depicted middle class life set in photo realistic interiors of homes.
- ” The Girl with the Pearl Earring ” one of Vermeer’s most well known paintings and regarded as his masterpiece is believed to be a portrait of his eldest daughter. It is often referred to as the Mona Lisa of the North.
- Wolfgang Heimbach was a North German painter. He happened to be deaf and mute but he compensated by learning to read write several languages. He worked as a court painter. I’m absolutely obsessed with the ghostly, realistic effect he achieved on my favorite of his paintings, ” Young Woman with an Oil Lamp “.
- All of these artists have inspired me in some way or another, whether it just be for their works of art or intense passion for their craft. But I wanted to put a spotlight on the female artists I have shared with you so far. They were true pioneers that i have so much respect for. I admire them so much for their bravery in a world that thought less of them, took advantage of them and didn’t believe in their skill level just because they were women! These women stayed true to themselves and made sure their voice was heard through their art. For that and for them, I am completely grateful!
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