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Former featured article Baroque is a former featured article. Please see the links under Article milestones below for its original nomination page (for older articles, check the nomination archive) and why it was removed.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on November 4, 2004.
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December 8, 2003 Featured article candidate Promoted
November 4, 2004 Featured article review Kept
February 9, 2005 Featured article review Demoted
Current status: Former featured article
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Well, I am confused. According to the log:

(diff) Baroque 12:54 pm (2 changes) [*removed "characterized by intricate detail", added some architects] . . . . . MichaelTinkler

This removal is confusing. As far as I know (in literature, music, and architecture) Baroque style is always characterised by intricate detail.

so why did Michael remove this?

well, because "intricate detail" in the field of art and architecture is far too unsubtle to be of any use. I doubt it's useful in music, either. Renaissance and Neoclassical art and architecture are subject to as much detail as Baroque. What do you mean by 'detail' that is useful? --MichaelTinkler

I don't know the protocol for handling /Talk pages, but I'm surprised that you think its okay to remove a link to the talk page when you answer a question and then ask me a question... The point of a /Talk link is to show that there is some discussion that may not be appropriate on the main page. by removing the link, you have basically said my question or opinion has no value.

It isn't the issue of detail that makes the Baroque style important. it's the intricate nature of the detail that makes it important. If fractals had existed in the Baroque times, they would have been called Baroque as well.

Intricacy as opposed to simplicity is an easily recognized characteristic, and may be applied to many endeavors of life. And it is characterstic of the baroque style.

whoops - I didn't mean to delete the Talk link! I apologize very much for that.

Well, 'intricacy' (though I believe he uses the word 'complexity') vs. 'simplicity' is one of the 5 (I think it's 5) difference Wolfflin identifies for the differences between Classic (his word for High Renaissance) and Baroque. That, of course, elides Mannerism. Lots and lots of baroque architecture (the area I know best) is literally quite simple in terms of surface detail - I'm thinking of Bernini's Piazza San Pietro and the surfaces of Borromini's San'Ivo. One can, of course, oppose Guarino Guarini's Chapel of the Holy Shroud in Turin, but he's a lot less characteristic than either of those two Roman examples, or Wren's St. Paul in London.

I would read 'intricate detail' to mean 'fussy'. That is much more a characteristic of Rococo.

Also, the word 'detail' has a variety of meanings in different art forms and media. I sincerely don't think it's a particularly useful introductory sentence to what will eventually be a fairly long article! --MichaelTinkler

I agree that Rococo is intricate as well. When I checked out my definitions at, I found that some authors (obviously some of those I have read) equate the two styles. Baroque is known for intricate ornamentation and I'm not sure what that difference (in a general sense of the word) between ornamentation and details might suggest.

Sources I've just read say that late Baroque merge into early Roccoco. And that in some countries, particularly Protestant ones, Baroque did not become as "wild". However I will protest any description of Baroque as simple. -rmhermen

Renaissance art in many media is as 'ornamented' or 'intricate' as the Baroque. I'm thinking (just off hand) of Cellini's metalwork and in fact any finished bronze or gold work of the High or Late Renaissance. They're as covered with 'linear detail' as anything in the Baroque. There is also little difference in the level of *surface detail* in the ornamental nature of, say, renaissance and baroque column capitals.

Please note, I'm not denying there's a difference. There is a stunning difference between a dry, rather dull capital in 1450 or 1500 and something created by Guarino Guarini or Borromini in the 17th century. One is 'renaissance' and the other is 'baroque'. However, it is not a matter of the number of lines cut in the leaves. It is a matter of a sense of animation, a flowing line, a liveliness.

Similarly, there is no less dependence on geometry in the baroque than in the renaissance. The difference is that the preferred geometric figures are no longer Regular figures (circle, square), but instead tend toward the oval, the ellipse (Piazza San Pietro), the 6-pointed star (St. Ivo della Sapienza, Rome). That is a *characteristic* difference, but it has nothing to with surfaces. Borromini's masonry is quite conservative -- it's his geometry that's over the top.

I guess my basic problem may go back to the idea that "Wikipedia is not a dictionary" (see FAQ) - we don't even need to start an entry with a simplification. Of course, I'm sure you meant it only as a beginning, and you and I have spent all this time going back and forth when we could have been adding Baroque entries to be elaborated by others, too. Oh, well - an afternoon (I'm GMT minus 4) not badly spent. --MichaelTinkler

not to worry, rmhermen - I'll protest any description of Modernist Architecture as 'simple', too. A Miesian glass box may look simple from 1000 feet in a photograph.... ---MichaelTinkler.

Is there a reason that baroque art starts in the early 1600's but baroque music in the late 1600's? What about architecture? ---rmhermen

yes. See Periodization. These stylistic terms are very very very messy. The Renaissance starts at different dates for different media, and at different dates in different countries for the same medium. I have real trouble with the Cultural movement entry because of this.

Style itself is very very very messy: not everyone in 1967 was a hippie. Baroque doesn't begin on April 7, 1609. Styles are rarely completely in control of works of art and literature any any time. The recent inclusion of metaphysical poets as 'Baroque' shows that "Mannerist' is not an easy concept to grasp either... Wetman 22:35, 10 Dec 2003 (UTC)

These paragraphs seem inconsistent:

'Baroque' a French translation of the Italian word "Barocco"; some authors believe it comes from the Portuguese "Barroco" (irregular pearl, or false jewel - notably, an ancient similar word, "Barlocco" or "Brillocco", is used in Roman dialect for the same meaning), or from a now obsolete Italian "Baroco" (that in logical Scholastica was used to indicate a syllogism with weak content).

and at the end:

Baroque pearls are natural pearls that deviate from the usual, regular forms. In particular, they are pearls that do not have an axis of rotation. It was this use of the term for irregular pearls that eventually lent its name to the baroque movement.

So is this fact or theory? Somebody please clarify. Palefire

If baroque entered the German languages as a nautical term in the 1500s for pearls that were like diamonds in the rough (from its constituent parts bar (German for raw or rough) and roco (a nautical pidgin word for German reich (rich)), and migrated back to the Romance languages as the Dutch and Low German princes grew in power, it is easy to see how the word applied to pearls whose natural beauty could be admitted despite the presence of a minor blemish here and there. (And pearls that are meant for stringing need a couple places for drilling, so a blemish or two in the right places, in those respects, is actually a good thing, and quite marketable in spite of them.)

I don't like the position of the picture, to the left of the TOC like that...I tried to fix it, but the caption wouldnt display. the caption, by the way, doesn't make much sense 02:21, 6 Jul 2004 (UTC)

baroque - Handel[edit]

his first name should be written either in German; Friedrich, or English Frederic, but not Frideric, as you have it. He was born in Germany was court musician to King Georg and had a fall-out with him. Went to England, but, as fate will have it, Georg became king of England as George I (the first) he made up with him with the watermusic.

It is also importnant to write his actual name: "Händel" or "Haendel" not just Handel. Handel is simply a different name.

  • Well, no. When he moved to England, he dropped the umlaut. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 17:45, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

For some reason, Handel's middle name is generally anglicized as 'Frideric', rather than the more usual 'Frederick'. I guess that was how he himself chose to anglicize it.

Sdoerr 14:14, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

Removing introduced waffle[edit]

Originated "somewhere between 1550 and 1600"A mention of a "proto-Baroque" has been made. No Baroque in 1550. That's Mannerism we're looking at. El Greco is not Baroque. Baroque is not a movement in art history it's a movement in art itself.

I have edited "hidden" links to make them explicit. A link like 17th Century Philosophy linked in the text as "The Age of Reason" just compounds the editor's own confusion. Will Durant entitled that volume The Age of Reason Begins.

I didn't take out this: "The Baroque was defined by Woelffrin as the age where the oval replaced the circle as the center of composition, that centralization replaced balance, and that coloristic and "painterly" effects began to become more prominent." The critic Heinrich Wolfflin was a long time ago. And this misremembers a second-hand retelling of something Wolfflin might have said in some particular context.

We need more images to make points come alive. I found the Rubens among UnusedImages here. Wetman 01:13, 17 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Potential nomination for removal as a featured article[edit]

Hi, this article no longer meets a number of the criteria for a featured article. 1.) It does not cite its sources. Best would be to add the most trusted resources in the field, some print resources especially, but also online references are better than none. Those sources would likely help with good material to further improve the article anyway. 2.) It does not have a lead section 3.) The images, while great, may not all be freely licensed properly for Wikipedia. The Web gallery of art states: "The Web Gallery of Art is copyrighted as a database. Images and documents downloaded from this database can only be used for educational and personal purposes. Distribution of the images in any form is prohibited without the authorization of their legal owner." That may be an incorrect claim, but that needs to be dealt with carefully.

I really hate to [[Wikipedia:Featured_article_removal_candidates|nominate an article for removal as a featured article, so I thought I would ask for help here first. Hopefully someone here can handle this. But because I believe all featured articles need to meet the same standards, I will nominate it if no one is able to fix these issues. Thanks - Taxman 23:27, Oct 26, 2004 (UTC)

It's a good thing the criteria for Featured Article are being raised. Articles like Crushing by elephant and Academia were hugely improved after being exposed upon the Main Page. A subsection here, The idea of "Baroque" ought to cover the main literature. Photos of sculpture may not be covered by the standard template, viz: {{PD-art}}. Why not just remove the nomination? --Wetman 01:09, 27 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I don't understand, remove what nomination? I did not want to nominate it at Wikipedia:Featured article removal candidates at all until the contributors to this article had had a chance at least to fix the issues I noticed. - Taxman 14:11, Oct 27, 2004 (UTC)


Someone has put all the caredully-balanced illustrations in a strip down the right-hand side. Is this progress? --Wetman 14:26, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I did it - sorry, but I didn't think the original layout was at all "carefully balanced". I don't like left-floated images at the best of times, and the original arrangement was quite messy and disrupted the flow of the text. The different sizes and the right-left combination in the lead section section and after the TOC were particularly jarring, I thought - there was a narrow band of text one or two words wide between the images in the lead section. -- ALoan (Talk) 15:02, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Good work, I do feel that not keeping all of them on the right makes the article visually more attractive, easier on the eyes. I have started on a new lead section and moved the old text to its own section. The lead section could use some more text and the new "Evolution" section probably could be structured a bit better as well (maybe also under a different heading). -- [[User:Solitude|Solitude\talk]] 15:39, Nov 4, 2004 (UTC)
Oh, if you are actually going to help the structure and content, I'll leave it to you :) I was only moving the furniture around to avoid bumping into it. -- ALoan (Talk) 16:07, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Opening paragraph[edit]

... around 1600 in Rome, Italy So that's not Rome, New York, after all, eh. My goodness, this certainly leaves no room for doubt in our minds! In later centuries --that would be during the 18th century and the 19th century: which manifestation of Baroque is intended here? ... a sense of blurring different art movements I'm certainly getting the blurring part, but is "art movements" really what's meant? --Wetman 01:31, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC)


Is the inconsistent capitalization of Baroque/baroque intentional - or does it need to be made consistent? Kdammers 09:15, 4 May 2005 (UTC)

No inference intended, I think. A matter of style: neoclassical, classic, renaissance, romantic, rococo art. Or Neoclassical, Renaissance etc. Uncapitalized as a baroque fountain, but capitalized as a fountain that fully expresses the Baroque. A broque pearl, but the Baroque style? Maybe it's immediate context rather than an Olympian consistency. --Wetman
Well, then maybe we should try to put some order into the page. In any case, for me, a baroque fountain is one that is flamboyant whereas a Baroque fountain is one that is in the Baroque style &/or from the Baroque period. I think that IF the article is to have variations, then they should be meaningful (lest they otherwise confuse). Kdammers 01:48, 8 May 2005 (UTC)
I agree. Consistency within an article is always good. --Wetman 04:21, 8 May 2005 (UTC)

Done. The capital is not required for the period, but widely used and i think always accepted. IMO it is also desirable for clarity, and i'm adding a sentence about "barrocco" that will use "baroque". --Jerzy·t 16:04, 10 Jun 2005 (UTC)

"Baroque" as an adjective should be confined to nouns where there is no confusion about the Baroque style: baroque politics, baroque fears etc. If it is a manmade object, "baroque" always means Baroque. There are plenty of other adjectives that connote exhuberance, extravagance, animation, etc. --Wetman 19:02, 10 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  • That's a great idea, but you're not talking about the English language. The word "baroque" with a mandatory lower case B has dicdefs like "characterized by grotesqueness". English was not designed to guaranteed disambiguation.
--Jerzy·t 19:46, 10 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I was merely offering the usage of those people who would not characterize a Fabergé egg as "baroque" merely because it was elaborate, when it was in fact neoclassical in design. I am indeed talking about the English language, you see. --Wetman 21:15, 10 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  • I may still be confused. On my continuing assumption that this is discussion pursuant to editing the page, rather than idle conversation, i suggest (since i have trouble imagining it) that you propose or boldly edit in wording for the article that makes your point in a way that is useful to WP users. (IMO, what you describe is a useful, even laudible, habit in cases where the context allows for confusion (talking to people interested in Faberge who don't know his era, or don't know an era for the Baroque age?) for those who find it natural. But as a listener/reader, you don't need to know about the habit to profit from it.) The only purpose in mentioning it is to urge adopting it -- IMO unencyclopedic.
If OTOH this is idle conversation, i'm outta here.
--Jerzy·t 14:59, 11 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Erudite verbiage obfusticates cognition[edit]

"If Mannerism was a first breach with Renaissance, Baroque was an opposed language. It represented the evidence of the crisis of Renaissance neoclassical schemes— the psychological pain of Man, disbanded after the Copernican and the Lutheran revolutions, in search of solid anchors, in search of a proof of an ultimate human power, was to be found in both the art and architecture of the Baroque period. "

I hope I am not the only one who thinks of this part as shit in a chocolate wrapper.

I have sat down with a peice of paper to try and piece together what it means. There still remain several things which are ambiguous;

  • solid anchors to what?
  • What is "ultimate human power"? I thought, 'human divinity', i.e., something which makes us like God.. :S
  • Psychological pain of Man? What, angst?

This is my amendment:

If Mannerism was a first breach with Renaissance, Baroque was an opposed language. The psychological pain of Man -- a theme disbanded after the Copernican and the Lutheran revolutions in search of solid anchors, a proof of an "ultimate human power" -- was to be found in both the art and architecture of the Baroque period.

I'm not an expert in this subject, there may be something I don't know. But I've made a start at least, I hope :)

There are also several other parts of the article which are excessively pompously worded, particularly in the descriptions of the artworks; I'm hesitant about changing it all but - someone who knows this stuff, how about making it a little more accessible?

Gubby 16:28, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

In fact--there is a great deal that says very little, very badly. The first two paragraphs of the "literature and philosophy section are terrible. For one thing, they've obviously been translated, badly, from another language--see the double use of "research" when "search" is obviously intended, and various inappropriate definite articles. These things in themselves could be fixed pretty easily. But not much seems to be being said here, and that little is not terribly informative. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:51, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

A quick check of that section revealed that everything in it had been challenged as unreferenced since July 2009. I did appear to have been badly translated from Italian or Portuguese, possibly by machine, which in turn raises the question of what it was translated from. It may not be the only rubbish that needs taking out, but it must surely have been at the top of the list, and has been deleted. Thanks for calling attention to this.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 17:58, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

Hi Mimi =)[edit]

I don't know how to remove it from the end of the article. It looks nice indeed, but I quess it's not an organic part of the article.--Mathae 21:38, 15 November 2005 (UTC)

Jan Blazej Santini (Giovanni Santini)[edit]

Dear all, I've just noticed that there is not a mention in the whole Baroque Architecture section about Santini whose churches and monasteries are currently a source of wonder as well as detailed studies. Come to the Czech Republic and see his (Krtiny close to Brno or Church at Zdar nad Sazavou monastery). Ondrejs 10:05, 24 December 2005 (UTC)

Leonardo as an vanguard?[edit]

Could it be argued that Leonardo da Vinchi was a founder of this artistic tradition? Looking at quite a few of his works lately such as The Virgin of the Rocks and the equestrian project for Francesco Sforza(incomplete) it seems to me that the gesticular style of baroque could be represented in his works. Though I am not thoroughly familiar with this style it is a thought I had upon reading this article.

Not really, much of Leonardo had to do with elaborate compositions and other things that required a huge ammount of intelect, while baroque had to do more with feelings and to try to compose them by the means of light and the dramatism present in the painting, anything BUT intelect (as it was discouraged by the church).

Help me![edit]

Hey, does anyone think that could help me answer some questions. I'm having a bit of trouble finding the answers alone. # BROWNSAY SOMETHING!!! | 00:36, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

Maybe in some of Leonardo's drawings of fighting figures. You'd find the germ of Baroque more clearly in Michelangelo. --Wetman 03
02, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
thanks, although I don't quite understand what you're getting at here but anyway, I've got it figured out now # BROWNSAY SOMETHING!!! | 14:01, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
Hellenistic Baroque: Head of Odysseus from a Greek 2nd century BC marble group representing Odysseus blinding Polyphemus, found at the villa of Tiberius at Sperlonga

Poor article[edit]

The Baroque went from 1600 until?, the causes were? (socioeconomic, historical and the perspective from modern historians). There is some information in the article, but its so scattered in unnecesary sections that it makes a hard reading for the casual visitor. (Anonymous)

I can think of four or five vividly represented aspects of the sculpture at the right that demonstratethat "baroque" is a style, not, as we are owlishly informed at the opening of the Wikipedia article, a "period." It would be a hard row upstream to try to write such an article, however: cries of "original research" from the uninformed, etc.... --Wetman 06:54, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

Removed a paragraph[edit]

"In recent history, western European civilizations have faced three critical questions (in chronological order): Which religion to follow; which government to uphold; and how to bring equality to everyone. The matter of religion was resolved after Martin Luther, John Calvin, and others initiated a Protestant Reformation that gave many European monarchs an excuse to become more independent from The Holy Roman Empire. This led to a Counter Reformation by the Roman Catholic Church which included a push for new forms of art that exalted the Church's holy position."

I have removed this paragraph because it seems, in my mind, to violate NPOV when it decided what the three "critical questions" in history were. Also, the statement that "the matter of religion was resolved" is factually incorrect. Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation led to more disagreement about which religion to follow, not less. The rest of the information in this paragraph is repeated in the next paragraph. Wood Thrush 23:33, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

I do not necessarily agree with your rationale, but this paragraph sucks in any case. Thanks for the removal.SauliH 05:30, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Baroque fashion[edit]

Are there any types of fashion (clothes) that were worn during the Baroque period? Angie Y. 19:54, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

'ancient' Portuguese noun?[edit]

The word 'ancient' here jars with me: I don't think a linguistic specialist would use it. Apart from anything else, 'ancient Portuguese' would actually be Latin! Maybe the sentence was written by a non-English speaker in whose language the equivalent of 'ancient' is used of languages that in English are normally designated 'Old' (e.g. 'Old French' = 'ancien français' in French). Sdoerr 14:24, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

"Bernini's Cornaro chapel: the complete work of art" - Incorrect picture?[edit]

I was just wondering why in the section about the Cornaro Chapel there is a picture of the Menshivok Tower? It is Baroque architecture, but has absolutely nothing to do with the Cornaro Chapel, the Santa Maria della Vittoria, or the Ecstasy of St. Theresa as far as I can tell. Is it relating to the section below on Architecture, or is there some other reason? I would just change it, but given the amount of work having gone into this article, and it's previous featured status, I wanted to double check that there wasn't some good reason for the picture being there. ColinWhelan 17:02, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

The Metaphysicals[edit]

It seems odd to identify the metaphysical poets with Baroque art when an article elsewhere in Wikipedia associates them with mannerist painters (mannerism preceded the Baroque). The link between the metaphysicals and the Baroque painters may make sense in terms of chronology, but in terms of style, the link to mannerism seems more compelling. This query isn't really limited to the reference to metaphysical poetry, though; it suggests that much of the literature referenced here--notably Marinismo, but also conceptismo and culterano (elsewhere culteranismo) should not be thought of as Baroque. Why in God's name should Cervantes be thought of as a "Baroque" author? The sense here seems to be simply because he was writing in the seventeenth century, but if we call Cervantes "Baroque," it ought to be on the basis of style. atom33 4 July 2007


Don't know who wrote most of it; but despite the criticisms above, most of which reflect the imprecision of terms such as Baroque, Mannerism etc., and which the article merely reflects itself, just thought I should say that whoever wrote seems to have an enviable understanding of what they're talking about, and a real gift for exposition.

No Citations![edit]

The top paragraph as shown here:

Evolution of the Baroque

Beginning around the year 1600, the demands for new art resulted in what is now known as the Baroque. The canon promulgated at the Council of Trent (1545–63) by which the Roman Catholic Church addressed the representational arts by demanding that paintings and sculptures in church contexts should speak to the illiterate rather than to the well-informed, is customarily offered as an inspiration of the Baroque, which appeared, however, a generation later. This turn toward a populist conception of the function of ecclesiastical art is seen by many art historians as driving the innovations of Caravaggio and the Carracci brothers, all of whom were working in Rome at that time.

is practically word for word from this website:

Not sure who is not citing who here but at least the wiki article should have some citation to where the paragraph came from. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:26, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

You seem confused. It is, of course, the other way around. Maybe you didn't make it all the way to the bottom of that page, where you find this disclaimer:
Adapted from the Wikipedia article "Evolution of the Baroque", under the G.N U Free Docmentation License. Please also see
Gene Nygaard (talk) 16:07, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

quit it with the "citation needed"[edit]

generally known facts do not need citations. Where are you going to cite from anyway -- the All Mighty? You guys all need to get laid. -- (talk) 20:35, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

At any rate, if there are to be tags, they should be in the body of the article, not in the lead! I have removed a number of tags between one and two years old, which obviously weren't going to be addressed anyway, and therefore served only to make the article look ugly. (talk) 09:24, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for calling my attention to the very old tags, some of which I remember placing there myself. However, it isn't sufficient simply to remove the tags; the unverified claims should also be deleted. I shall do this now—Jerome Kohl (talk) 18:07, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

No definition[edit]

No definition, no unifying artistic characteristics, nothing. You can read the whole article and not know what baroque is normally considered to be characterized by. The French article says clearly "Il touche tous les domaines artistiques, sculpture, peinture, littérature, architecture et musique et se caractérise par l’exagération du mouvement, la surcharge décorative, les effets dramatiques, la tension, l’exubérance et la grandeur parfois pompeuse. Il poursuit le mouvement artistique de la Renaissance artistique, le néoclassicisme lui succède à partir de la seconde moitié du XVIIIe siècle." The Russian article says the same, and that's what I've learned at the university, too. But I guess this "conventional" description has since been rejected by academics who need to prove that they discover something completely new each year to keep their salaries. That was also necessary as a way to get rid of all kinds of old stereotypes, inaccurate prejudices and especially of the foolish idea that it is possible to generalize and understand anything at all; another great advantage is that students and the laity are guaranteed to forget this kind of formless disorganized information immediately. Back to the Baroque and even further back we shall go! -- (talk) 21:22, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

Precisely, I suspected that the conventional description must have been present in some form or another; that someone has deleted it; and that the exchange in the previous section on this talk page was precisely about its deletion. The IP pointed out that the description was generally accepted and shouldn't be tagged - in response, a Wikipedian with a PhD and peer-reviewed publications in art just deleted the description [1], because apparently he didn't like it, presumably because the fashion in his circles has changed. You see, they have discovered the supreme truth recently, namely that nothing in this world can be defined, especially not in a rational way that the great unwashed without PhDs can understand. More importantly, even the previous existence of a definition/description must be obliterated - instead of, say, people mentioning the previous definition/description and then providing and attributing the recent objections against it and, hopefully, the new accepted definition/description - if there luckily exists one. -- (talk) 21:39, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

When a person looks up “Baroque” in Wikipedia, they want to know the one defining essence of the concept. What essential characteristic, property, quality, or predicate of a thing makes it baroque? In order to distinguish it from Mannerism, Classicism, Late Baroque, Romanticism, Pre-Raphaelitism, Rococo and other classifications, it is imperative that the essence of Baroque be known. This assumes that we are not satisfied with Wittgensteinian Family Resemblances or multiple essences. The opening paragraph seems to fail in this respect. It claims that there are two essences of baroque: “exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail .” This is obviously false. Many works from other periods contain exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail. Many works of the Baroque period do not contain such characteristics. Therefore, these properties are accidents, not essences. The characteristic of being irregular, in contrast to being unadorned and simple, seems to be more of a definition of the word “Baroque.” Naturally, not all artworks of that time period displayed irregular adornment, but many of the important works showed this quality.Lestrade (talk) 18:06, 10 May 2012 (UTC)Lestrade
Someone has taken the extraordinary step of providing a citation for that lede paragraph. (Ordinarily, the lede is meant to summarize the article's content, so that verification may safely be assumed to be found elsewhere.) Since I do not have immediate access to the cited source, I can only presume that it confirms everything in this paragraph, even things that are "obviously false". Under these circumstances, it is incumbent upon any editor who disagrees with such a statement to provide a source verifying this opposing point of view. If, on the other hand, the source does not verify the claim, then it should be corrected accordingly.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 18:25, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
Like nearly all our articles on big artistic/cultural movements it is extremely poor, but as 30 word summations go I think the one in the lead is not too bad. The 2nd para is more worrying. That Vermeer can be said to fall under "Baroque painting" is one of art history's little paradoxes. Johnbod (talk) 19:02, 10 May 2012 (UTC)

No one, after reading the "lede," let alone the article, would be able to answer the question, "What, exactly, is Baroque?" I am assuming that answering the question involves the use of non-academic, common language that is devoid of intentional obfuscation.Lestrade (talk) 19:53, 10 May 2012 (UTC)Lestrade

Perhaps this is true, I don't know, but I agree with Johnbod that the lede is not that bad, by Wikipedia art-history standards. The only issue I wished to address is that there appears to be a verifying source attached to that first paragraph, which complicates the issue of rewriting it to reflect "the truth" (whatever that may be). I have not checked the edit history of this article, but I would not be surprised to learn that this was added after an acrimonious debate over precisely the question, "What the heck is a baroque, anyway?"—Jerome Kohl (talk) 21:02, 10 May 2012 (UTC)

Isn't that the fundamental question? With regard to verifying sources, what if there are several verifying sources, each one different from the other? Does a Wikipedia article list all of the various sources? Each source would be the product of a unique, individual perspective. There might be as many perspectives as there are people on the planet, each with their own viewpoint or "frame of reference."Lestrade (talk) 22:09, 10 May 2012 (UTC)Lestrade

Of course that is the fundamental question, and there is no doubt that this article could do a better job of answering it. With respect to verifying sources, it is standard practice (on Wikipedia as in scholarship generally) not to pick and choose only the evidence that supports one point of view among many. It is regarded as only fair to present conflicting viewpoints, with the best available references, so that the reader may be in a position to decide for him/herself which to believe. The tricky bit is in making a distinction between highly reliable and not-so-reliable sources (the really unreliable sources are much easier to deal with). It seems to me in the present case, however, that you are objecting not so much to one viewpoint over another, but rather to what you think is a poorly phrased or badly framed definition. If the offending paragraph puts things less clearly than the cited source, then that paragraph needs work; if it represents the source perfectly but is still opaque, then perhaps a better source that expresses things more plainly needs to be found. Conflicts between and among sources are inevitable, but not usually as dire as you are suggesting. If there were no consensus about the meaning of the term "Baroque", then there would be little point in having an article about it.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 23:00, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
I agree with this. Jerome and I are working on Romanticism, which makes a useful comparator, and I'm also working on Neoclassicism. Encapsulating these large movements succinctly is difficult, and tends to involve quoting a number of different perspectives. I will eventually get round to Baroque, but in the meantime you are welcome to give it a try - there is no shortage of scholarship on the subject. Johnbod (talk) 04:21, 11 May 2012 (UTC)

Names such as “Baroque,” “Romanticism,” “Neoclassicism,” “Mannerism,” and “Rococo,” are signs in our language that were conventionally chosen to designate certain concepts. [citation needed] The concepts were abstractions that were made by collecting perceptions and subtracting all of the accidental qualities and retaining the essential qualities. [citation needed] In order to understand the meaning of the word “Baroque,” some source has to tell us what is the essential characteristic of all things that are Baroque. This essential characteristic cannot be shared with other concepts. [citation needed] If it were shared, then it would not be definitional. [citation needed] What is the essential characteristic of things that are called Baroque? There may be more than one characteristic whose combination uniquely characterizes the Baroque. For example, the Baroque may be a special combination of artistic products that are both “irregular” and “ornamental.” In any case, the essence of the Baroque must be communicated by the article. I know that such a demand for clarity is contrary to academic tradition. [citation needed] It is in the interest of certain groups to maintain a kind of hieratic, priestly language that is incomprehensible to those who are outside of the guild and who use demotic, lay language. [citation needed] But Wikipedia has no interest in maintaining job security for professors. [citation needed] Therefore, the article should give interested readers a way to know what is Baroque as opposed to other art classifications. Also, it may be true that the differences between art periods are not strictly demarcated. Does Baroque become Rococo when one more shell is added to a decoration? A convenient way of separating art periods is by using dates. We can say that as of midnight, January 1, 1600, all artworks were no longer Manneristic but were considered to be Baroque. If we do not want to rely on such a way of distinguishing art periods, then the article must tell us another way that Baroque can be known. [citation needed]Lestrade (talk) 13:27, 11 May 2012 (UTC)Lestrade

The service round here is terrible. I'd demand a refund if I were you. Johnbod (talk) 14:04, 11 May 2012 (UTC)

Jerome stated that “The tricky bit is in making a distinction between highly reliable and not-so-reliable sources.” Wouldn’t such a distinction be an expression of a viewpoint? As such, it would be a mere personal opinion or subjective claim. How would anyone know that I am wrong if I were to state that Arthur de Gobineau or Wilhelm Reich are highly reliable sources? What is the criterion?Lestrade (talk) 20:25, 11 May 2012 (UTC)Lestrade

My point exactly. We have some fairly good guidelines about what marks a source as entirely unreliable (or at least highly suspect), but it is easy to criticize a preference for one plausible source over another as being nothing more than bald prejudice. Ultimately, I suppose it comes down to consensus, just as it does in the world of academic publishing.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 21:37, 11 May 2012 (UTC)

Consensus means that quantity trumps quality. However, for example, Thomas Jefferson alone would have been more intellectually reliable than any roomful of people (See J. F. Kennedy’s remark of 29 April 1962). In that case, quality trumps quantity. Making a distinction between highly reliable and not-so-reliable sources is similar to making a distinction between essential and non-essential properties of the Baroque. Both involve an individual judgment that is made by a person of authority. Thus, it comes down to a subjective opinion that, by convention, is taken by other people to be an objective truth. A Wikipedia article about the Baroque must be able to clearly and definitively state the meaning of the word “Baroque” as it is applied to the artistic productions in Europe 400 years ago. A ninth grader should be able to read the article and then identify a Baroque painting from a half dozen paintings from various art periods. Lestrade (talk) 23:18, 11 May 2012 (UTC)Lestrade

Why don't you stop telling the non-existent maintainers of this article what to do & have a go at it yourself? Johnbod (talk) 23:20, 11 May 2012 (UTC)
Those who can, do; those who can't, take a vow of silence.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 23:34, 11 May 2012 (UTC)

"The rest is silence." (Hamlet, V, ii, 372) I can’t alter the article and then watch someone simply undo my alteration. I'm surprised that I was so windy above. Omertà.Lestrade (talk) 14:13, 12 May 2012 (UTC)Lestrade

Removed bit[edit]

The Baroque style is noted as first being developed by Seljuk Turks, according to a number of academics like John Hoag.[6]

This statement is quite odd! I cannot help but think that whoever wrote it here has misquoted or misunderstood something, because it is hardly correct.

It says that The Baroque style (an essentially European style using European architectural forms) was developed by Seljuk Turks (who used the forms and decorations common to Islamic architecture). This statement ignores the Late Roman architecture, ignores the Renaissance, ignores Alberti, ignores Michelangelo, ignores Giulio Romano..... and gives the creation of Baroque to the Turks.

I don't have Hoag's book, so I don't know how it was actually worded. I do know that the inaccurate statement has spread itself across the internet.

OK, what is the real story? In the 16th century Seljuk architects, who normally used typically Islamic forms and motifs, started adopting Renaissance features such as classical columns, projecting stones around windows, and other features which were combined with traditional forms and elements, the conglomerate sometimes giving an appearance that has a "Baroque" quality to it. The difference between the Seljuk "Baroque" and true Baroque architecture is that the European architects were deliberately developing a style of both structure and ornament that challenged the rules of Classically-based Renaissance architecture, while the Seljuk architects continued to construct buildings along the usual lines, but applied the Classicising details, borrowed, without regard for the "rules" that usually governed their use. A similarly "Baroque" character can be seen in some Spanish architecture that combines Islamic and Gothic forms. Amandajm (talk) 07:20, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

Encyclopedic language[edit]

I noticed this horrid line in the Modern Usage section:

"Expressionism throws some terrific 'fuck you's, baroque doesn't. Baroque is well-mannered."

Is this the kind of writing we want in an encyclopedia? Foul language can be useful, even in written works, but it must be appropriate to the circumstances. It would be difficult to convince me that this quote is anything but an unintelligent attempt to make a bold statement. (How ironic that this is in an article about baroque!) (talk) 13:23, 30 March 2012 (UTC)

Removed - it was a quote from translated from the Spanish, but didn't really help. Johnbod (talk) 14:48, 30 March 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 15 April 2012[edit]


I noticed in the source code there seems to be a stray div tag. Right after the heading Modern usage, the tag '

' contains the rest of the article. It doesn't seem like this is standard syntax and maybe that div tag should be removed? Thanks for considering the request.

Bratwursted (talk) 00:13, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

Done Thanks, Celestra (talk) 15:22, 15 April 2012 (UTC)


I find this article the easiest to understand and the easiest to use and learn about art. I'm posting this to say that a lot of the articles about Renaissance art, music, sculpture, etc. are very technical and difficult for a layman like me to understand and use. After all, the whole point of Wikipedia is access to quick, useful and easy-to-use information. (talk) 22:56, 23 April 2016 (UTC)

Variety of English[edit]

I just finished reverting an edit changing the spelling of "theater" to "theatre", having hastily checked only a few lingusitic markers ("colour" vs "color", "characterize" ves "characterise"). Now, on closer inspection, I notice that "theatre" is in fact the norm throughout this article, while other elements are a mish-mash of US and UK English. It seems to me a discussion is necessary before proceeding further. "Theatre" is of course an accepted variant in American English, though "theater" is the predominant spelling. On the other hand, all occurrences of the word "color" are spelled the Amrican way. As for -ise and -ize endings, they are about half-and-half, though of course Oxford English favours this ending, except for a very few words. So, the division actually splits three ways: US English, UK English, or UK Oxford English. Wading through the edit history may take some while. I am hoping someone has got a simpler solution.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 01:23, 27 November 2016 (UTC)

A very considerate contribution, Jerome. The first edit, [2], contains "co-operate". A slighlty later edit, [3], contains, "Baroque actually expressed new values, that often are summarised in the use of metaphor and allegory". GrammarHead (talk) 20:05, 27 November 2016 (UTC)
Thank you. It appears that the first-established style, then, was UK English of the non-Oxford type. Unless there are any dissenting voices, I shall proceed on that basis when editing this article in future.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 01:30, 28 November 2016 (UTC)

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