Baroque art in Italy

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

1600 - 1700

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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!

Caravaggio, <em>Crucifixion of St. Peter</em>
Caravaggio, Crucifixion of St. Peter

A world turned upside down? Caravaggio not only upends St. Peter, but also turns artistic convention on its head.

Caravaggio, <em>The Supper at Emmaus</em>
Caravaggio, The Supper at Emmaus

As the apostle’s tattered green shirt suggests, this is a rough and tumble world, far from the pomp of the Church.

Pierre Le Gros the Younger, <em>Stanislas Kostka on His Deathbed</em>
Pierre Le Gros the Younger, Stanislas Kostka on His Deathbed

The Baroque doesn’t have to be loud, as this intimate and quiet sculpture demonstrates so well.

Francesco Borromini, San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, Rome
Francesco Borromini, San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, Rome

No wonder this interior space feels sculptural—the architect was a stone cutter by trade.

Selected Contributors