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The baroque art period had started during an age of enlightenment. During the 17th century, it was discovered that the earth was in fact not the center of the universe, and with the discovery of the Americas, that Europe was not the center of the world. The Catholic Church was undergoing massive changes due to a brief revival after the rise of the protestant church. In order to gain new support for the faith, the church had called for realistic and dramatic art.
Baroque had emerged into an art type that focused more on the peasant class in more naturalistic settings than the earlier art types. Each of the subjects began to show more movement and energy, having their own personalities with intense spirituality. The intense emotion reflected in this art was further dramatized by the heavy contrast between light and dark images.

A fine example of the Baroque painting stile was the painting The conversion of St. Paul. The image shows movement and struggle as well as depicting their Saint as someone who had overcome a stable accident opposed to a miracle. The fact that he was not exalted as a revered figure in this image appalled the church. The colors were darker, and the focus of the image was on the horse more than it was on St. Paul.

Each region had taken on its own personality during the baroque period. For some regions, the baroque period was dark and scary, while in others, the baroque period was more light and realistic to the common people. Overall, baroque period was a loose manner of which artists were given artistic license to express themselves.

Rococo is often not even referred as its own era. Many consider it as high baroque due to it being the more extreme drift from the classical periods before baroque. It had started as an architecture and decoration art type but had made a small impression on painting. It emerged during the reign of Louis XIV in the 1700’s. Many say that Louis the XIV’s regime brought on the Rococo period because of the lavish spending of the regime sponsored by Louis the XIV. It was characterized by its light-hearted scenes, pastel colors, curving forms, cherubs, and the lavish life of the aristocratic class. This radical change from the morbid dark scenes of the Baroque period seemed as if the rococo period was a rebellion from the template of depressing and realistic art, however it was just an extension of the loose painting baroque had become.

The Swing by Jean-Honore Fragonard embodies the entire flamboyant spirit of the rococo period. The young lady is painted as if in a sweeping motion, with her limbs in curving forms. Aside from the technical aspects, the idea behind the painting is playful. The man on the bottom left of the image can see under the lady’s skirt. Her priest-lover is pushing the lady into this position.

I believe that this shift was an interesting point in art because of the dramatic change from dark depressing images to those that were light and ridiculous in spirit. It seems as if the feel of the rococo period was so outrageous that it would be the modern equivalent of modern culture being fascinated with unicorns. The baroque period in heavy comparison was emotional yet still precise in the sense that everything still resembled the subject. The painting ]Judith beheading Holofernes] by Caravaggio, for example, seems emotional in the sense that this man was getting decapitated but the women is placid or even slightly annoyed by the situation. The red curtains in the background seem to highlight the negative space in the rest of the painting. Caravaggio was truly a master at these emotional paintings during a time of which most of the emotion in art was directed toward or implying the love of god. This deviant in art lead to the secular decorative art form: Rococo.

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