Europe was enthralled by a novel art movement in the 17th century. The Baroque period was characterised by excess and drama. And while this cultural movement was made up of many different artists, some stand out above the others.
Here, we’ll look at well-known Baroque creators who contributed to the movement. For example, Caravaggio invented the dramatic style of painting that makes use of stark contrasts and lone light sources. Similar to this, Gian Lorenzo Bernini was responsible for transforming Baroque ideals into avant-garde sculptures that were full of life and emotion.
Discover ten renowned Baroque artists who helped to establish the style by scrolling down.
CARRACCI, ANNIBALE (1560–1609)
Annibale Carracci (1560–1609) was recognised as one of the greatest Baroque painters, even if his work eventually lost prominence to that of Caravaggio. Although he used massive figures and dramatic compositions, his style had elements of the idealism of the Renaissance and Mannerist traditions. Landscapes, genre scenes, and portraits were all featured in Carracci’s extraordinarily wide collection of work.
CARAVAGGIO (1571–1610) (1571–1610)
Caravaggio, an influential painter from Italy who lived from 1571 to 1610, had a significant influence on Baroque art with his dramatic manner. He produced potent paintings with an intense psychological environment by using a stark contrast of light and dark, dynamic action stances, and figures based on real people.
PETER PAUL RUBENS (1577–1640) (1577–1640)
During the Dutch Golden Age, Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640) was a well-known Flemish Baroque painter. He, unlike Caravaggio, used a brilliant colour scheme and dynamic movement rather than relying on light and shadow to generate drama. Rubens established himself as a major court painter for the Spanish Hapsburgs, garnering an international reputation as an artist and diplomat. He was noted for his sensuous figures, lavish colours, and dramatic compositions.
G. E. L. A. T. (1593–1652)
Georges de la Tour (1593–1652), an artist with a workshop in the Duchy of Lorraine, was referred to as the “Painter to the King” and other French royalty. Paintings in his distinctive style generally had dramatic lighting, significant contrast, and were lit by candles. Although Caravaggio was likely his inspiration, he took a different tack by depicting simplified people and less dynamic compositions.
A. T. GENTILESCHI (1593–1656)
Artemisia Gentileschi was born into a family of artists, thus her abilities were noticed at a young age. She refused to allow her gender prevent her from portraying dramatic and frequently violent subject matter during a time when female artists faced great difficulties. She created expansive Biblical and mythical paintings in the same style as her male contemporaries and was the first woman to be admitted to Florence’s famed Fine Art Academy.
The violent painting of Judith killing Holofernes is frequently read through the prism of the rape she suffered at the hands of a fellow artist, casting a shadow on her legacy. She is still praised for her accurate portrayal of the female form, the richness of her colours, and the arresting use of light and shadow, but her talent is unmistakable.
THEODORE POUSSIN (1594–1665)
Nicolas Poussin (1594–1665), a French artist, developed a Baroque aesthetic based on vivid colours, clarity, and line. He organised a large number of individuals in dynamic poses inside of a well defined setting to create drama in his paintings. His paintings often have a stage-like aspect as a result. He preferred classical and mythological settings as subject matter.
BERNNI, GIAN LORENZO (1598–1680)
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, a well-known Italian sculptor, painter, and architect, is credited with creating the Baroque style of sculpture. He lived from 1598 until 1680. He was known as a kid prodigy and was from Naples. His father, a Mannerist sculptor, assisted in the development of his skills, and the two collaborated on a number of early assignments.
Pope Paul V noticed Bernini when he moved to Rome and was captivated by the young artist’s abilities. Soon enough, he received support from Cardinal Scipione, a passionate art collector and Caravaggio’s patron. This connection provided funding for some of Bernini’s most well-known sculptures. He was not only a master of marble, but also a talented painter and architect.
SANTIAGO DE ZURBAR (1598–1664)
Leading Baroque painter Francisco de Zurbarán (1598–1664) is referred to as the “Spanish Caravaggio.” His corpus of work was largely devoted to religious representations of monks, nuns, and martyrs, and he did so in a dramatic manner with stark contrasts of light and dark. Further adding to the authenticity of his paintings, he modelled his realistic figures on real people.
DOMINICO VELZQUEZ (1599–1660)
Spanish painter Diego Velázquez (1599–1660) was well-known during the Baroque era and a key figure of the Spanish Golden Age, a time of resurgence in the arts in Spain. He was born in Seville and showed artistic skill at a young age, working as an apprentice to a local painter there. When King Philip IV’s preferred court artist passed away in 1622, Velázquez—who was already well-known—was ordered to step forward and present a picture. The young painter later settled in Madrid and attained official court painter status in 1624, marking the beginning of a long career working for the royal Hapsburg family and other influential figures.
One of the most notable figures of the Dutch Golden Age, Rembrandt Harmeszoon van Rijn (1606–1669) was an artist from the Dutch Republic (modern-day Netherlands). Northern Renaissance painting techniques served as an inspiration to artists of the time, including Rembrandt and Vermeer.
Rembrandt began his career as a portrait painter and later expanded his repertoire of styles and subjects as his career progressed. He painted countless self-portraits, landscapes, genre settings, allegorical and historical scenarios, and works with biblical and mythological overtones as he chronicled his life.