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Arts And Humanities Through The Eras. The Age of the Baroque by Edward Bleiberg

By Edward Bleiberg

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One of the first churches to reflect these new spiritual values was the Gesù, the home church of the new Jesuit order in Rome. Although its interior decoration did not initially make use of the techniques that Baroque designers developed, its physical layout mirrored the style of church construction that became common during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This structure’s enormous size and massive barrel vault provided broad expanses of wall and ceiling space on which painters presented images that celebrated and defended Catholic truth.

His plans almost always reveal his sophisticated knowledge of geometry. One of the best examples of his unusual architecture is the small Church of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, a structure in which Borromini used many intersecting elliptical shapes. Inside, these shapes give the viewer the impression that the church is alive because of the constantly shifting dynamic flow of its curved lines. A more mature and larger work resulted from Borromini’s designs for the Church of Sant’Ivo, a domed structure unlike any built up to this time in Europe.

Every church, therefore, and especially the one whose structure needs an imposing appearance, ought to be with the language of classical architecture, remolding it to create new and unexpected features that appeared on their façades and in their interiors. While the High Renaissance style never completely died out in Italy, Mannerism came to compete against it, particularly in Florence and other Central Italian towns. Both styles— Mannerism and High Renaissance classicism—became a wellspring of inspiration to later Baroque architects as they created a number of new buildings in Rome at the end of the sixteenth century.

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