The Baroque and the Dutch Golden Age Art History SCRAPBOOK

The Baroque


Judith Beheading Holofernes (c. 1599)

This painting shows a biblical scene, Judith beheading Holofernes. Paintings depicting religious scenes were often made in this time period to celebrate the victory of the Catholic reformation. This painting shows intense emotion and is very dramatic which is characteristic for Baroque paintings.

Sacrifice of Issac (c. 1603)

This is another biblical scene which was very proment in Baroque art. It shows a lot of emotion and violence, as Abraham is about to sacrifice his son Issac. This violence was very prevalent in paintings because of the controversy in politics and religion at this time.

Christ at the Coulmn (c. 1607)

This painting uses realism, the people depicted are very natural looking and are showing a lot of emotion, which was characteristic for the baroque period. Caravaggio made important biblical figures seem like average, everyday people. He uses humanism and focuses on the human form making them as realistic as possible.


Susanna and the Elders (c. 1610)

This painting depicts a biblical scene as was characteristic for the Baroque period. Susanna is very emotional and scared and disgusted by the advances of the Elders. Gentileschi's work reflected the oppression that she and other women faced at this time, through the emotions and actions of her subjects.

Judith and her Maidservant (c. 1614)

This painting Is an example of realism. The subjects are both represented with realistic form and emotion, which is characteristic for the Baroque period. Biblical scenes were also popular in this period, Gentileschi usually painted women specifically.

Self-Portrait as a Lute Player (c. 1617)

This painting is focused on Gentileschi as an individual, in this case a common lute player. Baroque art focused on the common person as they gined more influence in Europe at this time, which is shown in this painting


Portrait of Pope Innocent X (c. 1650)

This painting uses realism, the pope is shown looking very realistic, he looks very stern and powerful, and many bright colors are used. He is also dressed very elegantly, and looks very regal. This represents the power of the Roman Catholic Church after the Catholic Reformation.

Portrait of Juan de Pareja (c. 1650)

This is a portrait of a slave. Valazques focusing on this ordinary person, especially someone of low social class is characteristic of the Baroque period. The subject is depicted very realistically and shows his emotions and character. This shows a change in focus from the rich and nobility to the common people.

Les Meninas (c. 1656)

This painting is a peek at the behind the scenes of Valazques painting a portrait of King Philip VI and his wife , whom he was an artist in the court of. The subject is Infanta Margaret Theresa as she is doted on by her ladies-in-waiting, or Les Meninas. This shows the extravagance and power of the monarchy at this time and a new perspective to portraits.

Period summary

Baroque Art is characteristic of it's dramatic emotions, realistic human form and religious themes. The subjects in Baroque Art are full of emotion and you can make out exactly how they feel. This is shown specifically in the works of Caravaggio, for example Judith beheading Holofernes. The subjects are very realistic and humanism is often used. Their bodies are not idealized and are painted how they appear. This is shown specifically in Gentileschi's works specifically Self-Portrait as a Lute player. Many scenes in Baroque art were taken right from the bible. Pope's would often order paintings to symbolize the victory of the Catholic Reformation. Many of Caraivaggio's works were scenes from the bible.

While very similar to Renaissance art there are some distinct differences between Renaissance and Baroque art. Baroque art show's a lot of emotion and is very dramatic, Renaissance art on the other hand is a lot less dramatic and the subjects have more passive expressions. The subjects in Baroque art were often religious where in Renaissance art were often secular and influenced by the Greeks and Romans.

The Dutch Golden Age

Jan Vermeer

Woman with a Water Jug (c. 1662)

This painting focuses on a single common woman. It shows a middle class lady performing a mundane task. The ordinary person was a very common subject in Dutch Golden Age art. This is due to the rise of the middle class at this time.

The Astronomer (c. 1668)

This painting shows an ordinary man studying astronomy. This woud've been a common subject matter during the scientific revolution. These secular subject matters were common in the Dutch Golden Age due to the fact that religious art was prohibited.

The Love Letter (c. 1670)

This painting shows two people, a wealthy woman and her servant. The Woman is dressed elegantly as would be common in this time period since the rise of the merchant middle class. The subject of this painting is secular as it is about love and not religion.

Rembrandt van RiJN

The Abduction of Europa (c. 1632)

This painting is a scene from Greek mythology, Zeus is abducting Europa. Secular paintings with a rich landscape were popular in the Dutch Golden Age. This scene was commissioned to Rembrandt by a wealthy trader which shows the rise in wealth of the middle class at this time.

Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp (c. 1632)

This painting shows an anatomy lesson and the subjects are dissecting a cadaver. This shows the influence of the Scientific Revolution on culture at this time, it was even integrated into the art. This painting is also very realistic and the pupils are very emotional. You can clearly observe the intense looks of amazement on their faces.

The Night Watch (c. 1642)

This painting shows a militia, as it was very common in this time period for the subjects of paintings to be everyday people. The people are depicted very realistically, the large canvas that makes the subjects almost life size adds to this effect. This use of realism was very common in the Dutch Golden Age.

anthony van dyck

Elena Grimaldi (c. 1623)

This painting shows a very regal and wealthy looking woman who is being served by her slave, this in addition makes it known that the subject is a very influential woman. This is very characteristic for Van Dyck and his flattering portraits were very popular with the nobility for this fact.

Marie-Louise de Tassis (c. 1630)

This is a portrait of a young woman from the nobility. Her position in society and her family's wealth is made apparent by what she is wearing. Van Dyck makes her seem very realistic and yet the painting is also very dramatic. All the focus is on her wealth and clothes and not necessarily the subject. This shows the rise in wealth at the time.

Samson and Delilah (c. 1630)

This painting depicts a very dramatic biblical scene. There is a lot of emotion on the faces of Samson and Delilah as they are being pulled away from each other. These dramatic scenes were very characteristic of this time period.

Period Summary

The art in the Dutch Golden age reflects the wealth and the more secular belief of the Netherlands at this time. Art typical of this time period shows common people doing daily mundane tasks, along with the new wealth of the middle class. Paintings started not only reflecting this new wealthy merchant class but were also commissioned by these people. The Netherlands were also Protestant at this time so the art was more secular than paintings from catholic countries.

While Baroque and Dutch Golden Age paintings were similar in many ways there also were some differences. While both art periods depicted the subject very realistically, showing a lot of emotion and drama to some extent, different subject matter was usually used. Baroque art often had religious influences and biblical scenes, such as in the work of Caravaggio. On the other hand Dutch art was very often secular and focused on the common people.

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