Top Ten Baroque Painters

Top Ten Baroque Painters

       The Baroque period of artistic style used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, architecture, literature, dance and music. The style began around 1600 in Rome, Italy and spread to most of Europe. The popularity and success of the Baroque style was encouraged by the Roman Catholic Church, which had decided at the time of the Council of Trent, in response to the Protestant Reformation, that the arts should communicate religious themes in direct and emotional involvement. The aristocracy also saw the dramatic style of Baroque architecture and art as a means of impressing visitors and expressing triumphant power and control. Baroque palaces are built around an entrance of courts, grand staircases and reception rooms of sequentially increasing opulence.

  1. Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

           Caravaggio was an Italian baroque painter who was the best exemplar of naturalistic painting in the early 17th century. His use of models from the lower classes of society in his early secular works and later religious compositions appealed to the Counter Reformation taste for realism, simplicity, and piety in art. Equally important is his introduction of dramatic light-and-dark effects – termed chiaroscuro – into his works.
    Links: Top Ten Paintings by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio,,
  2. Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn
    Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn
           Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (July 15, 1606 – October 4, 1669) is generally considered one of the greatest painters in European art history, and the most important United Provinces (Netherlands) painter of the seventeenth century. Rembrandt was also a proficient engraver and made many drawings. His contributions to art came in a period that historians call the Dutch Golden Age (roughly equivalent to the 17th century), in which Dutch culture, science, commerce, world power and political influence reached their pinnacles.
    Links: Top Ten Paintings by Rembrandt, Top Ten Portrait Paintings, Top Ten Philosophers, Top Ten Greek Philosophers, Top 100 Busts,,
  3. Diego Velazquez

    Velázquez was born in Seville early in June 1599, the son of a lawyer of noble Portugese descent. Velázquez was the son of Rodríguez de Silva, a lawyer in Seville, descended from a noble Portuguese family, and was baptized on the 6th of June 1599. Following a common Spanish usage, he is known by his mother’s name Velázquez. There has been considerable diversity of opinion as to his full name, but he was known to his contemporaries as Diego de Silva Velázquez, and signed his name thus. He was educated by his parents in the fear of God, and was intended for a learned profession, for which he received a good training in languages and philosophy. But the bent of the boy was towards art, and he was placed under the elder Herrera, a vigorous painter who disregarded the Italian influence of the early Seville school.
    Links: Top Ten Paintings by Diego Velazquez, Top Ten Portrait Paintings,,
  4. François de Nomé

           François de Nomé (1593 – after 1620) was a French painter of the Baroque period, active mainly in Naples.
    Links: Top Ten Paintings by François de Nomé,
  5. Peter Paul Rubens

    Pieter Pauwel (Peter Paul) Rubens (June 28, 1577 – May 30, 1640) was a Flemish baroque painter. He was born in Siegen, Westphalia, to a successful Protestant lawyer, who had fled Antwerp to escape religious persecution. After his father’s death, Rubens and his mother returned to Antwerp, where he had himself baptized a Catholic. Religion was to figure prominently in much of his later work. In Antwerp, his mother apprenticed Rubens to some of the leading painters of the time. In 1600, he went to Italy, where he worked as a court painter to the duke of Mantua. He studied ancient Roman art and learned by copying the works of the great Italian masters. His mature style was profoundly influenced by Titian.
    Links: Top Ten Paintings by Peter Paul Rubens,,
  6. Johannes Vermeer

    Johannes Vermeer (31 October 1632 – 15 December 1675) was a Dutch painter who specialized in exquisite, domestic interior scenes of middle class life. Vermeer was a moderately successful provincial genre painter in his lifetime. He seems never to have been particularly wealthy, leaving his wife and children in debt at his death, perhaps because he produced relatively few paintings. Vermeer worked slowly and with great care, using bright colors and sometimes expensive pigments, with a preference for cornflower blue and yellow. He is particularly renowned for his masterly treatment and use of light in his work. Recognized during his lifetime in Delft and The Hague, his modest celebrity gave way to obscurity after his death; he was barely mentioned in Arnold Houbraken’s major source book on 17th century Dutch painting (Grand Theatre of Dutch Painters and Women Artists), and was thus omitted from subsequent surveys of Dutch art for nearly two centuries. In the 19th century Vermeer was rediscovered by Gustav Friedrich Waagen and Théophile Thoré-Bürger, who published an essay attributing 66 pictures to him, although only 34 paintings are universally attributed to him today. Since that time Vermeer’s reputation has grown and he is now acknowledged as one of the greatest painters of the Dutch Golden Age.
    Links: Top Ten Paintings by Johannes Vermeer,,
  7. Guido Reni

    Born in Bologna into a family of musicians on November 4, 1575, Guido Reni was the son of Danieli Reni and Ginevra de’ Pozzi. As a child of nine, he was apprenticed under the Bolognese studio of Denis Calvaert. Soon after, he was joined in that studio by Albani and Domenichino. He may also have trained with a painter by the name of Ferrantini. When Reni was about 20 years old, the three Calvaert pupils migrated to the rising rival studio, named Accademia degli Incamminati (Academy of the “newly embarked,” or progressives), led by Lodovico Carracci. They went on to form the nucleus of a prolific and successful school of Bolognese painters who followed Annibale Carracci to Rome. Like many other Bolognese painters, Reni’s painting was thematic and eclectic in style.
    Links: Top Ten Paintings by Guido Reni,,
  8. Claude Lorrain

    Claude Lorrain was born around 1604 of very poor parents at the village of Champagne in Lorraine. When it was discovered that he made no progress at school, he was apprenticed, it is commonly said, to a pastry-cook, but this is extremely dubious. At the age of twelve, being left an orphan, he went to live at Freiburg on the Rhine with an elder brother, Jean Gele, a wood-carver of moderate merit, and under him he designed arabesques and foliage. He afterwards rambled to Rome to seek a livelihood; but from his clownishness and ignorance of the language, he failed to obtain permanent employment. He next went to Naples, to study landscape painting under Godfrey Waals, a painter of much repute. With him he remained two years; then he returned to Rome, and was domesticated until April 1625 with another landscape-painter, Augustin Tassi, who hired him to grind his colors and to do all the household drudgery.
    Links: Top Ten Paintings by Claude Lorrain,,
  9. Annibale Carracci

    Annibale Carracci was born on November 3, 1560 in Bologna. In the Bologna of the early 1580’s, his cousin Ludovico Carracci along with Annibale’s brother Agostino, opened a painter’s Academy of Desiderosi (Desirous of fame and learning), later it was called the Academy of Incamminati (progressives); and finally the “School of the Eclectics” for training artists. The 17th century critic Giovanni Bellori, in his survey titled Idea, praised Carracci as the epitome of Roman Baroque. While the Carraccis laid special emphasis on draftsmanship, they also worked in a style mediating between the Florentine emphasis on linear drawing and the Venetian attention to the glimmering use of color leading to a mistier edge of objects. These qualities became particularly associated with artists of the Bolognese School, including their most prominent trainees of the Carraccis: Domenichino and Reni. It is difficult to distinguish the individual contributions by each Carraci brother in many early works, including frescoes in the Palazzo Fava in Bologna (c.1583-84), where worked together until 1595, when Annibale, the best known, was called to Rome by Cardinal Odoardo Farnese to decorate the gallery in the Palazzo Farnese.
    Links: Top Ten Paintings by Annibale Carracci,,
  10. Charles le Brun
    Charles Le Brun
    Charles le Brun was born in Paris on February 24, 1619. At the age of eleven, he attracted the notice of Chancellor Séguier, who placed him in the studio of Simon Vouet. He was also a pupil of François Perrier. At fifteen he received commissions from Cardinal Richelieu, in the execution of which he displayed an ability which obtained the generous commendations of Nicolas Poussin, in whose company Le Brun started for Rome in 1642.
    Links: Top Ten Paintings by Charles le Brun,,
  11. Gerrt Dou

    Gerrit Dou (or Gerard Dou) was born at Leiden, Holland on April 7, 1613. His first instructor in drawing and design was Bartholomew Dolendo, an engraver; and he afterwards learned the art of glass-painting under Peter Kouwhoorn. At the age of 15 he became a pupil of Rembrandt, with whom he continued for three years. From the great master of the Dutch school he acquired his skill in coloring, and in the more, subtle effects of chiaroscuro; and the style of Rembrandt is reflected in several of his earlier pictures, notably in a portrait of himself at the age of 22, in the Bridge-water House gallery, and in the “Blind Tobit going to meet his Son,” at Wardour Castle. At a comparatively early point in his career, however, he had formed a manner of his own distinct from, and indeed in some respects antagonistic to, that of his master. Gifted with unusual clearness of vision and precision of manipulation, he cultivated a minute and elaborate style of treatment; and probably few painters ever spent more time and pains on all the details of their pictures down to the most trivial. He is said to have spent five days in painting a hand; and his work was so fine that he found it necessary to manufacture his own brushes.
    Links: Top Ten Paintings by Gerrit Dou,,
  12. Anthony van Dyck
    Sir Anthony van Dyck (22 March 1599 – 9 December 1641) was a Flemish Baroque artist who became the leading court painter in England. He is most famous for his portraits of Charles I of England and his family and court, painted with a relaxed elegance that was to be the dominant influence on English portrait-painting for the next 150 years. He also painted biblical and mythological subjects, displayed outstanding facility as a draftsman, and was an important innovator in watercolor and etching.
    Links: Top Ten Paintings by Anthony van Dyck,,
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