Characteristic features of baroque architecture

Everything in baroque architecture was intended to give the impression of lush wealth, theatrical entertainment, solemn splendor, to stop the gaze of a passer-by, giving rise to contradictory feelings, mysterious guesses and doubts in his soul. Art critic I.E. Grabar justly wrote about the peculiarities of the perception of works of baroque architecture:

“In pursuit of the picturesque play of light, the architect does not reveal all the forms to the viewer at once, but presents them gradually, repeating them two, three and five times. The eye gets confused and lost in these intoxicating waves of forms and perceives such a complex system of rising, falling, leaving and advancing, now underlined, now lost lines, that you do not know which of them is true? Hence the impression of some kind of movement, continuous running of lines and a stream of forms. “

The main features of Baroque architecture are:

  • gravitation towards large urban and garden-park ensembles, where architecture, sculpture and painting merge;
  • an increase in scale, massiveness, distortion of classical proportions, when order elements cease to be proportionate to a person;
  • the emergence of a solid and unified facade, which becomes a kind of decoration for the building, designed for the effect of perspective reduction;
  • the creation of a deliberately curved, almost illusory space due to the fluidity of curvilinear shapes and volumes (an oval in plans and details, an ellipse instead of a circle, a rectangle instead of a square);
  • strengthening of the decorative principle, detailing, the illusory disappearance of the wall in the mass of decorations, sculptures, mirrors, windows (“fear of emptiness”); the use of saturated colors and gilding, the creation of optical visual effects due to the refraction and reflection of sun glare, side lighting, contrasting alternation of illuminated and shaded areas.

In different European countries, the rise and flowering of the Baroque architecture had their own characteristic features. In Italy, the new style made itself felt at the end of the 16th – beginning of the 17th century. In Belgium, Austria and southern Germany – in the 18th century, and in Russia – closer to the middle of the 18th century. Holland, Scandinavian countries, Northern Germany remained indifferent to the magnificent baroque. In France, the baroque was present in the interior decoration of architectural structures. In England this style manifested itself in a mixed form. In Spain and Portugal, Moorish and Gothic styles were surprisingly combined with Baroque.

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