The Baroque (Barocco) cultural period and Baroque Art Movement started in Rome, Italy during the early 1600's. It spread to the rest of Europe some decades later. However, in later centuries it was used to describe a period in both art and architecture.
"Baroque" literally means of irregular shape and was generally used when referring to imperfect pearls. At the time is was a critical term as baroque oil paintings moved away from established art of the time.
The Baroque style painting was very much encouraged by the Catholic Church who had enormous political influence. The Church saw the emergence of the Baroque movement as a mechanism to reinforce its position and also an opportunity to suppress Protestantism. As a result many Baroque paintings are based on religious scenes.
Italian Baroque artist Caravaggio painted the Entombment of Christ c1602 and The Incredulity of St. Thomas, aka, Doubting Thomas was painted during the same period.
The most famous of the Dutch Baroque artists is Rembrandt van Rijn. Rembrandt's celebrated Baroque oil painting The Night Watch was painted in 1642 and is displayed at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
Flemish Baroque artist Peter Paul Rubens painted Daniel in the Lions' Den c1614. This painting celebrates the life of the Catholic Martyr Daniel and is now part of the National Gallery of Art permanent collection.
Of the Spanish Baroque artists, Diego Velazquez is the most important painters of the Spanish Golden Age. Valezquez' Portrait of Pope Innocent X was completed in around 1650 during a trip to Italy and now sits in the Doria Pamphilj Gallery in Rome.
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