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The Baroque architectural epoch (1584-1780) was a time of lush and evocative visual design, of an era when art styles and trends were all-encompassing, and entailed a philosophy of life that played out in everything from music to daily use items to aristocratic monuments. Descriptively you might define the Baroque style as a sensuous, organic, and highly decorative opulence, with a foundation in spiritual positivity. The term Baroque actually means: ‘oddly shaped pearl’. This name origin suggests accurately the movement; as an exaggeration of nature, not asymmetrically, but the further perfection of the oval, from the circle, which is the oddity that generates life and motion. It’s legacy in regards architecture is somewhat contentious depending on your reaction to visual richness. or the strictness of your adherence to the modernist credo of less is more. That was not an existing concept of the Baroque era. Generally speaking, it is difficult not to admire their objective complexity of beauty values, and when compared to our hyper-practical contemporary building habits, Baroque architecture in particular inhabits a kind of fairy tale world of fantastic, imaginative scope. A floral wedding cake in the garden sonata of history. The Baroque style began in 17th century Italy before spreading to all of Europe. Initially, it is said, as a catholic response to the austere and somewhat sparse iconoclasm of the protestant reformation. It encompassed a lush, post-Roman visual abundance of symmetry and motif. The architecture of the Baroque took fertile seed within the unique artistic concepts of classical-gothic (or christian-pagan) symbiosis which occurred during the Renaissance. From the unique architectural style which emerged from Florence, a new high classicism emerged, in the era of powdered wigs and beauty marks. The Renaissance popularized the use Greek crosses and circles in architectural planning - the baroque architects preferred ovals and modified crosses. Where a Renaissance artist might draw a straight line or wall, a baroque architect designed an oval elongation, an organic protrusion, a rounded corner. The Baroque combined small and large curves in what was called undulating order. The buildings were in a sense put together like sculptures, and while they felt free to use all the orders of columns were further, they were additionally not afraid of the colossal order, or columns that ran through more than one level of a building. Their interiors, generally, were a languid, mathematical marriages of different mediums, with painting combined with sculpture and lavish guilding. The marriage of intense disciplinary skills. In this evolution from the Renaissance baroque naturalism expressed itself as a neo-classical counter to gothic, expanding upon the domes and collonades of the architecture of Filippo Brunelleschi or the mannerism of Michelangelo. It might be said then that Baroque architecture was largely a pan European expansion of the ethos of the Renaissance. The intense organic detailing imprinted this lavish Baroque sense upon established Renaissance elements such as grand stairways, domes and oval interior spaces, cartouches, quadratura, overhead sculpture, and twisting columns. The church used Baroque as counter-reformation propaganda, the monarchs used it to compete in exhibitions of wealth in the idiosyncrasy of their day, and the Baroque artists themselves used motion, and emotion, in an organic framework of sensual, sylvan style for its own sake. This influenced later naturalistic art styles, such as Art Nouveau. Which has intangible hints of the baroque in its sumptuous leafy symmetry. During its heyday, the Baroque had a recognizable influence across a vast selection of mediums and art vocations. There is Baroque sculpture, fashion, furniture, gardens, painting, and perhaps to most memorable effect, beautiful baroque music. But how to describe a unifying style? It is related in its root spirituality, and a naturalism, with a willingness to intricacy based on nature. Also to a matronly comfort to idealism in aspiring portrayals of heavenly delights. A fractal elaboration, that blossoms in sound, textile, stucco, wood, and stone. The geometric conch shell radiating fractals outward in perfect ratio, each carefully detailed segment its own whole art, which translates from the musical scales of Baroque chamber music, to the lusty, colourful oil paintings of Boucher. It might be said to be the artifact of a cultivated and rigid social aesthetic, which was wantonly complex, romantic, and rooted in an objective order of geometry. Baroque architects expanded basic Euclidian elements of gothic-classical architecture and dramatized them with flourish and grandiose detail. These particular characteristics of Baroque architecture and interior trompe-l’oeil and music are perhaps summarized emotionally as experiencing the feeling of Floating upon the air. They embodied a sense of optimism, we might say, missing from our contemporary architecture. The presentation in its foundation philosophy was of confidence, which is nearly diametrically opposed to ours. The Baroque art credo was: the more, the better. And why not? A challenge to restraint, self-imposed or otherwise is a baroque concept we might to well to revisit. Going beyond reality, with an exuberant, life-filled lust for richness, which becomes its own energy, solidified in an architectural energy which lasts for centuries, or more.