Baroque art in Italy

Dramatic lighting, movement, art that activate the viewer's space.

1600 - 1700

videos + essays

We're adding new content all the time!

The altar tabernacle, Pauline Chapel, Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome
The altar tabernacle, Pauline Chapel, Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

The altar tabernacle of the Pauline Chapel at Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome repackages a medieval icon and turns it into a dazzling Baroque trophy.

<em>Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness</em> by Caravaggio
Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness by Caravaggio

"Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness,” by Caravaggio is characterized by its dramatic chiaroscuro and innovative depiction of Saint John as a brooding adolescent. Learn more about this masterpiece from Julián Zugazagoitia, Director of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Il Gesù, Rome
Il Gesù, Rome

Created at a dramatic moment in European history, this explosive ceiling fresco celebrates the triumph of Jesus.

Artemisia Gentileschi, <em>Judith and Her Maidservant with the Head of Holofernes</em>
Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith and Her Maidservant with the Head of Holofernes

Artemisia Gentileschi's image of Judith and her maidservant powerfully showcases the artist's ability to create a dramatic moment

Restoring ancient sculpture in Baroque Rome
Restoring ancient sculpture in Baroque Rome

Restoration of ancient sculptures was a big business in 17th-century Rome.

Caravaggio, <em>The Conversion of St. Paul</em> (or <em>The Conversion of Saul)</em>
Caravaggio, The Conversion of St. Paul (or The Conversion of Saul)

That hoof, that sword—everything is so close! This chapel gives us a privileged view of a private conversion.

Andrea Pozzo, <em>Glorification of Saint Ignatius</em>
Andrea Pozzo, Glorification of Saint Ignatius

Pozzo’s fresco reaffirms the authority of the Catholic Church and hails its expansion across four continents.

Annibale Carracci, <em>Christ Appearing to Saint Peter on the Appian Way</em>
Annibale Carracci, Christ Appearing to Saint Peter on the Appian Way

Lord, where are you going? As Peter recoils in astonishment, a muscular Jesus points the way to Rome.

Gian Lorenzo Bernini, <em>Pluto and Proserpina</em> (or <em>The Rape of Proserpina</em>)
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Pluto and Proserpina (or The Rape of Proserpina)

Pluto hoists up Proserpina. She resists, pushing him away. Their desires clash, creating a dynamic composition.

Gian Lorenzo Bernini, <em>Bust of Medusa</em>
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Bust of Medusa

She’s a monster, but in this poignant marble bust, Medusa becomes a victim of her own plight.

Caravaggio, <em>Death of the Virgin</em>
Caravaggio, Death of the Virgin

Uniting spiritual and earthly realms, Caravaggio has left a space open for us in this circle of mourners.

Caravaggio, <em>Narcissus at the Source</em>
Caravaggio, Narcissus at the Source

Embracing his own reflection, Narcissus falls in love with himself—and into the water. Good thing it’s just paint!

Selected Contributors