English 233: Introduction to Western Humanities -- Baroque & Enlightenment
Roman Baroque Art & Architecture on the Web
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Here are some Web sites you might want to check out in connection with our study of Caravaggio and Bernini. Some present discussions. Others make available to you photographs of various works. You can easily save these to diskette and call them up later from any computer running a Web browser (Netscape Navigator, Microsoft Explorer, Mosaic, etc.). You can thus compile your personal anthology of images.
We are going to concentrate on Caravaggio and Bernini as exemplars of "Roman ecclesiastical baroque art," the style that emerged in Rome towards the end of the 16th Century, as an expression of the Catholic Counter-Reformation in the wake of the Council of Trent, and climaxes around the middle of the 17th Century. But you will also want to pay attention to what WH has to say and show of Artemesia Gentileschi (1597-c.1651) and Andrea Pozzo (1642-1709).
Michelangelo Merisi CARAVAGGIO (1571-1610)
The paintings we are going to study closely are:
But we will also look briefly at
Where can you arrange to see these works outside of our classroom?
There are several sites discussing baroque art, and offering good accompanying graphics. A major resource is the Louvre's WebMuseum. The original site is, as you might expect, in Paris, but there are several "mirror sites" around the world, and you can usually get faster loading of a document ("page" in Web jargon) if you go to one of these. For the Louvre's page on Baroque Art, with links to a number of important paintings by Caravaggio, try this one first. If you want to try explore some of the mirror sites, go here or here or here for a comprehensive set of links. (Depending on which one you click, you may have to scroll down to arrive at the links to elsewhere. But it makes sense at the outset to explore the site that you land on in the first place.)
The most comprehensive site devoted to Caravaggio is at the CGFA run by Carol L. Gerten of the University of North Carolina. There are actually 3 separate but inter-linked index pages. You should read the biographical sketch of Caravaggio there.
Also extremely rich is the page of links on Caravaggio at OCAIW -- "Orazio Centaro's Art Images on the Web." You will find a number of different ways to get a picture of a given painting. This can be useful if one of the servers happens to be down.
The Italian baroque is featured at a site at Tulane University. The emphasis here is on Roman baroque architechture (with some attention to sculpture), and naturally the featured architect is Bernini. There is no discussion, but there are links to views of many important works.
The Uffizi Museum in Florence displays only one image of a painting by Caravaggio (the Bachhus), but offers discussion (brief analysis) of a number of others. You are welcome to download high-resolution images from this site, without charge, but you must first register (also free).
Art courses at several universities are moving onto the Web. One you might want to check out is Fine Arts 121: The History of Western Art since 1500 at the University of Southern California.
Gian Lorenzo BERNINI (1598-1680)
Bernini's work is rich and varied. He was both an architect (indeed, he was put in charge of building in the Vatican after the death of Carlo Madero, successor to Michelangelo and Bramante), a painter, and a sculptor, and was by no means confined to religious subjects. (Many of his most striking pieces take subjects from Greek and Roman -- that is to say, Pagan -- mythology. For a comprehensive index to Bernini materials on the Web, see the page on Bernini in the Web Gallery of Art) Our focus here, however, will be on just part of his religious art.
- the Triumph of the Chair of St. Peter (located in the choir)
- the Baldacchino (located directly beneath Michelangelo's dome, at the intersection of the nave and transept
- the monumental colonnade reaching out from the staircase outside, and
- the huge oval piazza this encompasses
Again, begin with WH, which has an excellent image of the Ecstasy of St. Teresa, a very informative aerial shot of the cathedral. For the interior work, though, you'll need to look beyond our text. OCAIW is a good place to look.
One of the most fantastic sites I've run across on the Web features Vatican City (Città del Vaticano). This is the place to go to see an incredibly rich collection of photographs of, among other things, Bernini's work in connection with St. Peter's Basilica. If you want to go directly to the pages devoted to Bernini's work, you can just click on these:
There is a series of images of Bernini's Baldacchino. There are some 20 of these. The best for our purposes are the first three of the following. But there are plenty of details to explore as well (of the columns, of the canopy, of the angels on the canopy, etc.)
a shot looking down the nave through the Baldacchino towards the Chair of Saint Peter
a close-up view
a view of Michaelanglo's dome, seen from near one of the corners of the Baldacchino
(You might also want to peek at an unobstructed center view of Michaelangelo's dome).
There is a series of images of Bernini's Triumph of the Chair of Saint Peteri (1657), which is the name given to his setting for the Cathedra Petri, which dominates the apse of the cathedral. Again, there's a lot to choose from here. You might want to focus on these in particular:
a frontal shot of the whole complex (only slightly clipped at the top)
a close-up of one of the four Guardians of Faith that hold up the Chair
Outside San Pietro Basilica, our interest is chiefly in Bernini's oval Piazza surrounded by his monumental colonnade. But to appreciate these, we need to have a feel for the exterior complex as a whole -- Bramante's core, Michaelangelo's dome, Carlo Madero's façade. There is a page with some 21 images of different features from different points of view. You might focus on the following:
The San Pietro Basilica . This image is only 79K, so it should come over fairlly briskly.
Frontal view of the Basilica (98K).
a large image (208K) of the Basilica, which might take a while to download, and which you may need to use the slide bars at the bottom and side of your screen to see the whole of.
Finally there are some 20 images of different aspects of Bernini's Piazza di San Pietro. Most important for our purposes are:
Piazza di San Pietro - 67K
Panoramic view of the right - 84K
Right view of the Piazza - 79K
a view from the dome down the Via della Conciliazione, which leads into the outstretched arms of the colonnade surrounding the oval piazza - 55K
some of Berninis 284 Tuscan columns (1667) - 74K. The cleric standing at the foot of one of these gives you some idea of how monumental these are.
Also well worth a visit, as a background to baroque Rome, is the "Rome Reborn" exhibit at the Vatican in Rome. This features the rebuilding program undertaken by the Renaissance popes a couple of generations after the repair of the Great Schism at the Council of Constance (1415-1418) and continued up beyond the outbreak of the Reformation. (See Matthews and Platt, WH 248, 278, 320-24.) If you find things are loading slowly at the site I've given you (at the University of North Carolina), try one of the mirror sites listed on the first page.
New stuff is being posted all the time, and different search engines also tend to miss or pick up certain items. If you do some Web surfing on your own (on "Bernini" or "Caravaggio" or "baroque art") and turn up anything interesting beyond what I've listed here, I'd be grateful if you'd e-mail me the news.
Don't forget to have on hand our page on "The Logical Structure of an Art-Historical Period Style Concept."
Go to Reading List #2.
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Contents copyright © 1997 by Lyman A. Baker.
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This page last updated 3 March 1998.