The Baroque period started as a backlash of the Renaissance replacing the emphasis on religion. Most of the major Baroque architecture was first uesd in religious buildings and then later spread to more secular buildings. The word Baroque comes form the French word meaning mis-shaped pearl or sheel and was used as a term of derision. The Baroque style was over the top with heavy ornamentation and was looked down upon by many people who deemed it to be too elaborate.


Classical elements, such as pilasters and pediments are common but are used more dynamically, even capricioulsly. Other motifs include colossal columns, C and S scrolls, shells, swags, flowers, figures, sculpture niches, and cartouches.

S and C Scrolls




Public and Private Buildings

Types include churches, palaces, and palace complexes, town and country residences ,and public buildings.



Site Orientation- Churches, public buildings, and some palaces are no longer self- contained and isolated as in the Rennaissance. They projcet into  and enclosed space around them.

Floor plan- Large churches have basilica or Latin cross plans to accommodate crowds and ceremonial processions. In addition, these plans are more liturgically functional. Smaller  churches and shrines feature centeralized plans symbolizing universal concepts.

Materials- Designers typically use local stone or brick. Contrast in color and/or material accent and emphasize parts and elements.

Facades- Classical elements, movements, and center emphasis characterize facades. Layers of elements; combinations of curved and stright lines; advancing and receding planes; and pilasters, engaged columns, and columns that increase in projection toward the center create movement and three-dimensionality.

Windows- Rectangular or curvilinear windows have circular or triangular pediments or complex, curviliner surrounds. Light sources often are concealed in walls, roofs, or domes to increase the dramatic impact and/or emphasize mystery. Windows on dwellings generally are larger than before.

Doors- Center emphasis defines entrance doorways,which are impressive in scale and ornament. Doors are of paneled wood or heavily carved.

Roofs- They are usually gabled with domed crossing and chapels. Oval domes are preferred over circular domes as more dynamic. Gables or flat roofs cover dwellings and palaces. They may be capped by baslusterades and sculpture.


Public and Private Buildings

Types- As before , several anterooms, each more magnificent than the last, precede the lavish state and private apartments in the homes of nobility.


Materials- Rich materials and strong color contrasts create support, and enhance the goals of imspiration and awe. Churches and dwellings alike often feature such combinations as white walls articulated with real or painted colored marble architectural elements, carved and gilded woodwork, and stuccowork.

Color- The colors, which are form finish materials and textiles, are rich and highly saturated. Reds, greens, blues, and purples are typical.

Lighting- Artifical lighting is minimal except during social event. Only the wealthy can afford numerous candles, candlesticks, candleabra, sconces, and chandliers in gold and silver.

Floors- Materials include marble , brick, lead-glazed tiles, or stone. Masonary floors may be plain or patterned.

Walls- Architectural elements delineating church interiorsand important spaces in palaces may be painted and/or gilded or a contrasting material to the wall. Marble typically covers church walls. Residential walls usually divide into dado, fill, and cornice, like a column. Dadoes are painted, paneled, or left plain.

Windows and Door- Windows are important interior elements in churches and dwellings as they admit the light. The sash or double-hung window, that soon replaces the casement windows in residences. As important design elements in the enfilade, doors are carved and paneled with gilding. Double doors are preferred to enhance impact.

Ceilings- Architects create vast interior spaces and vistas with barrel or groin vaults, domes, and archesin both public and private buildings. Round and ovoid domes creat a vertical axis and a stronger centerlized feeling.  In dwellings, flat, vaulted,and plasterwork ceilings may be left white or painted and/or guilded. Carving and painting decorate beams and coffers.

Furnishing and Decorative Arts

Types include seating, tables, storage pieces, and beds. Large scale, strong contrasts of color, and sculptural effects distinguish Baroque funiture.

Material- Local and imported hardwoods domainate furniture design, and chief decorations are carving, gilding, lacquer, inlay, veneer, or marquetry.

Seating- There is an increased emphasis on comfort, and suites of furniture, daybeds, and easy chairs are more common. 

exclusive luxury baroque chair design

Tables- Consoles and tables with rectangular, usually marble tops feature exuberant carving and gilding.  No table is specifically for dining. 

Storage- Cabinets are important storage pieces, as seen in their elaborate embellishment.  Chests of drawers and wardrobes supersede chests in use.

Decorative Arts- Trade with Orient fosters a desire for porcelains and lacquerework.  Some collectors have rooms specially constructed to display porcelains.  Gold or silver frameworks often surround precious porcelain objects.  Other items from the East include lacquered furniture, screens, and some Chinese wallpaper. 




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