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Part IV. The Baroque

STEP 1: Understanding the Information

Picture 8

a) Bernini

In 1656 work began on Gianlorenzo Bernini’s* design for Saint Peter’s Square. The square is united with St. Peter’s** through Bernini’s colonnade***, which mimics a human embrace. In Bernini’s great work we find the same grandeur and power that we hear in Corelli’s music and see in Rubens’ paintings.

*Giovanni Lorenzo (Gianlorenzo) Bernini is a great sculptor and architect of the high Baroque period who lived from 1598 to 1680.

**St. Peter’s Cathedral in Vatican, Rome, Italy, is the main cathedral of the Catholic world.

***Colonnade is a row of columns, usually connected by lintels.

Picture 9

d) The wife of Henry IV, the first Bourbon King of France.

Marie de Medici, who lived from 1573 to 1642, married Henry IV in 1600. The painting shows her arrival in France from her native Italy. After the death of Henry IV, she acted as regent for her son Louis XIII.

Step 2: Spelling and Vocabulary

Exercise 1: Pronounce the words below. Match a word with a picture (not all the pictures have their names!)

Plate 5

The Baroque Art 1-8

  1. Baroque church 1

  2. bulbous cupola 3

  3. dormer window (dormer) 4

  4. twin columns 6

The Types of Vault 38-50

  1. cloister vault (cloistered vault) 41

  2. rib vault (ribbed vault) 43

  3. stellar vault 44

  4. net vault 45

  5. fan vault 46

Plate 6

Historical Costumes

  1. French lady [ca. 1600] 51

  2. millstone ruff (cartwheel ruff, ruff) 52

  3. corseted waist (wasp waist) 53

  4. gentleman [ca. 1650] 54

  5. wide-brimmed felt hat (cavalier hat) 55

  6. falling collar (wide-falling collar) of linen 56

  7. white lining 57

  8. jack boots (bucket-top boots) 58

  9. lady [ca. 1650] 59

  10. full puffed sleeves (puffed sleeves) 60

Exercise 2: Developing spelling skills. Fill in the blanks with missing letters. Remember the spelling and the pronunciation.

Disciple, ceiling, fierce, inquisition, troops, chamber, turmoil, meanwhile, heritage, ostentatious, altar, grandeur, chaos.

Step 3: Punctuation and Logic

Exercise 1: Put capitals, hyphens, full stops and commas as needed in the following extracts; the number of sentences is indicated in brackets. In each extract, identify and single out with the quotation marks quotes or bits with a transferred meaning.

  1. The Baroque was but one of the stimulating, if at times perplexing, multiplicity of styles that vied for preeminence during the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The term “Baroque” was itself coined only at a later date by unsympathetic critics who wished to condemn an artistic (and literary) style that they judged eccentric and irreconcilable with the precepts of Classicism, the principal rival to Baroque style during the seventeenth century. (2)

  2. Rembrandt's Danae is based upon a subject that was rather common in the art of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but was interpreted by the artist with freshness and originality. It is not gold, as in the famous painting by Titian, but sunlight pouring in from the depth of the canvas in a warm stream that rushes towards Danae, illuminating the face of the young woman. Her naked body comes to life, as it were, at the touch of the magic rays. "What a dazzling feast of live!" wrote the Belgian poet Emile Verhaeren of Danae. (3)

  3. The finest paintings produced by Rembrandt in the genre of portrait are the psychological portraits of the 1650s when the artist's attention was particularly struck by the faces of old people, bearing as it were the wisdom of experience: Portrait of an Old Man in Red, Portrait of an Old Woman and Portrait of an Old Man. In these paintings Rembrandt subtly conveys man's inner world. The face and hands are touched with light: the rest - details of dress and of the immediate surroundings - melt away in a warm semidarkness. The death of the ruined painter, forgotten by all, passed almost unnoticed by his contemporaries. His genius was only "rediscovered" in the nineteenth century. (5)

  4. As befitted an age where splendor bespoke power, kings, courtiers, and burghers all insisted on furnishings appropriate to their station. Workers in stucco, wood, and marble crafted rooms of splendid proportions and exquisite detail. Goldsmiths and porcelain designers produced objects that epitomize luxury. And in France, where the Sun King demanded unparalleled splendor, the weavers at Beauvais, the porcelain factories at Sevres, and the royal cabinetmakers at Versailles developed the grand gout - a style forever associated with France in its “splendid century”.

  5. Jacob van Ruisdael, born at Harlem, was the greatest discoverer of Holland’s moody beauty. The very flatness of Holland is an advantage as the eye travels over the extensive landscape to the cloudy sky. The lesson Constable said was the best he ever learnt, "Remember, light and shade never stand still", was instinctively grasped by Ruisdael, as it had already been by Rembrandt. (3)

  6. A contemporary writer might describe the twentieth century in this way: "It was a time when man's knowledge of the world around him was expanding at a frightening rate, when the old governments were torn by political strife, when the traditions of the church were called into question by the development of "modern" religious ideas." This paragraph is, in fact, a description, not of the twentieth century, but of the Baroque period - the late sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries. The age of the Baroque in Europe was filled with turmoil. As the term shows, the works of the artists of the period reflect, with great insight and sensitivity, the excitement, the conflict, and the richness of the time. (4)

STEP 5: Evidence

Exercise 1: Read the jumbled text below and order the paragraphs into a biography. Give a brief account of the order.