Is this Baroque? Seventeenth Century Art in Europe
Tuesday 20th February, 2018
11:00am - 1:30pm
Ages: All Ages
Lecturer: Richard Stemp
The Great Gallery houses some of the grandest and most important works of in the Wallace collection, the vast majority of which were created in the seventeenth century, the period associated with ‘the Baroque’. But what exactly does that mean? Does it fit all of the artistic output of the century? Over the four mornings of the course we will take the opportunity to examine the Baroque and the Great Gallery together. Each day will explore a specific theme in the lecture theatre, and, after coffee, visit the Collection to see at first hand how these ideas can help us to understand the exhibits. We will focus on one or two of the works in the Great Gallery, heading elsewhere within the museum as the discussion leads us.
Tuesday 20 February
1. Italy: What is ‘Baroque’ and why did it happen?
Art does not happen in a vacuum. No artist chose to be ‘Baroque’ – the first use of the term was not recorded until the 18th Century, and only adopted by art historians in the 19th – so the development of the style must have had some causes. These can easily be found in the turbulent religious upheavals of the 16th Century – the Reformation and Counter Reformation – and in the physical development of the city of Rome.
In the Great Gallery we will focus on the bronzes by Giambologna and Tacca, and paintings by Italians such as Rosa and Sassoferrato.
Wednesday 21 February
2. French Baroque Artists?
Two of the most successful Baroque artists in Rome were both French, and their paintings might not obviously be ‘Baroque’. We will look at the careers of both Claude and Poussin, and compare them to their compatriots who stayed at home: what was it about France that encouraged Baroque art?
After the break we will look at paintings by Claude and Poussin first hand, and works by Champaigne and Le Moine.
Thursday 22 February
3. The Baroque in Spain
Next to Italy (even if that wasn’t a single state), Spain was probably the most ‘Catholic’ country in Europe. Combined with an absolute monarchy, Baroque art was the most obvious form of display to secure religious orthodoxy and political allegiance.
After coffee we will focus on the works of Murillo and Velasquez.
Friday 23 February
4. North Spain or Not Spain? The Flemish Baroque and Dutch Independence
We will explore the political history of the Netherlands, and the Eighty Years War which led to the establishment of the Dutch Republic, and left Flanders as part of the Spanish Realm. The effect this had on the artistic production of the two countries can not be underestimated.
We will look at Rubens, Van Dyck, Rembrandt and Hals first hand, and consider to what extent the Dutch genre painters such as de Hooch and still life painters like Jan Weenix can be considered ‘baroque’.