Difference Between Italian And French Baroque Architecture – 047

Baroque is the name given to the art of the 17th century.  But the baroque style, like all other styles in the history of art, began gradually.  It started in the  latter part of the 16th century and continued to be used well into the 18th century.  Baroque can be defied as the florid, ornate style characterizing fine arts in Europe from the middle 16th to middle 18th centuries.  The main characteristic of the baroque architecture is movement.  Architects wanted their buildings to be exciting and to give the impression of activity.  They did this by making dramatic contrasts of light and shadow and by using curved shapes.
 
The Renaissance enthusiasm for antiquity led the architects to adhere to the rules of classic architecture as far as they were understood.  The baroque style flouted these laws.  By mid-century the carefully controlled and subtly refined Classical Baroque trend was clearly established.  In France, its pre-eminent position was never seriously challenged.  French Baroque architecture was more restrained in its expression than its Italian counterpart.  The most common and remembered details that made the two styles different were its culture, economy, religion, government, and economics.  These can make one style very different from the other, but there were also other reasons why.
 
Italians were the first to come  up with Baroque architecture, they became very interested in the surroundings of their buildings.  They placed elaborate gardens around places.  They set off important buildings in the cities by open squares decorated with fountains or colonnades.  Roads leading from the squares giving a dramatic view of stairways, sculpture, or other buildings far in the distance.  These were some of the things the Italians thought up when they first started up this new style, so when the french took in the Italians ideas, they surly changed them into what they were looking for.  The French architects were full cognizant of the principals discovered in Italy, but they were also influenced by traditional French values and chose to limit their architectural vocabulary in accordance with them.  Within these self-imposed limits they produced works of great order wherein variety was achieved principally through subtle adjustments in rhythm and proportions of mass and wall surface.  While the French went for the massive but yet most rhythmical and dynamic composition, in Italy, there was a strong directional emphasis put to use.
 
The three most important and notable baroque architects in France in the 17th century were Jacques Lemercier (1580/5-1654), a man who was a master of delicate elegant line and graceful silhouettes which he ingeniously combined with forceful mass.  He was most noted for his work on the Church of the Sorbonne.  Next is Francois Mansart (1598-1666), a man who’s exteriors and interiors, composed with scrupulous purity and infinite stability, make him in architecture the cornerstone  of  French Baroque Classicism.  He was best known for his work on the Ste Marie de la Visitation and Chateau of Blois.  Finally Louis Levau (1612-1670), a man who emphasized on terraced, parterres, pools, fountains, all to provide an axial relationship to his work.  He was best known for his work on the Chateau and Gardens of Vaux-le-Vicomte and College des Quatre Nations.
 
The wide variety of expression inherent in the Baroque can be best understood by examining the works of Italians Francesco Borromini (1599-1666), Guarino Guarini (1624-1683) and Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680).  Francesco in many ways, was the spiritual father of Guarini.  Born in Canton Ticino in the Alps, he went to Rome where he stayed his whole life.  Suspicious, moody, and dedicated, he, almost fanatical in his pursuit of perfection, carefully supervised all the stages of his design.  He is most remembered for the Carlo all Quattro Fontane and the Ivo.  Guarino the only architect who developed the expressive power of structure and space to even greater degrees than any body else.  He was many things including a teacher and a priest, but is remembered for his works of art.  He might not have the longest list of works, but the ones he actually did complete were praised for effort put into them.  He is most remembered for the work on the Turin and the Church of the Immaculate Conception.  Giovanni, one of the most brilliant and energetic of all the 17th century artists, was know for his depth in all aspects of Baroque.  He did not spend all his time on architecture, but when he did, the final product was in a class of its own.  He is remembered for his work on the Andrea al Quirinale and Chigi-Odescalchi.
 
Each architect who came into the seen tried to outdo the others, that is why Baroque architecture stretched the limits of what could be done.  It paved a road  for all other styles to come, showing that different doesn’t necessarily mean abhorrent.  The Baroque period came after the technically perfect Renaissance period, and was followed be the Rococo period.  Most people cancel the baroque period out, but the way it looks, baroque defined all odds and caught the eye of art people in Europe, single handedly changing the way we look at architecture and art in a whole.

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