Difference Between Italian And French Baroque Architecture Essay

Between Italian And French Baroque Architecture
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.

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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

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.

Artists and Their Works
Artist Name of Work
Pietri da Cortona -SS. Martina e
Luca 1635-1650
Bernardo Vittone -S. Chiara 1742
Gian Lorenzo Bernini -Chigi-Odescalchi
-S. Andrea al Quirnale 1664
Francesco Borromini -S. Carlo alle
Quattro Fontane
-Ivo 1638-41
Guarino Guarinin -S. Lorenzo
-Palazzo Carignano
-Church of the Immaculate Conception
Alessandro Specchi -Porta di Ripetta
Filippo Raguzzini -Piazza S. Ignazio
-S. Maria della Quercia 1727-1728
Filippo Juvarra -Church of the Carmine
Artist Name of Work
Jules Hardouin Mansart -Church of
Les Invalides 1680-1691
Jacques Lemercier -Church of the
Sorbonne 1635
Francois Mansart -Ste. Marie de
la Visitation
-Chateau of Blois
-Chateau of Maisons 1632-1634
Louis Levau -College des Quatre
-Chateaq and Gardens of
Vaux-le-Vicomte 1662


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