Apollo and Daphne, 1622-1625, (Galleria Borghese, Rome, Italy)
Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598-1680)
Baroque is the name given to the vigorous style that dominated art and architecture in the 17th century. Baroque art in its purest form was produced only in Catholic countries, often as part of the decoration of churches. Italy, France, Spain and Flanders, which at this time was ruled by Spain, were the main Catholic countries where art flourished in the 17th century.
Rich materials, spectacular altarpieces, and grandiose paintings on walls and ceilings were in keeping with the ritual of catholic worship. This new style was linked with contemporary religious events.
From the mid-16th century the Catholic Church made forceful efforts to assert its authority in the face of the spread of the Protestant Reformation. This fight-back is known as the counter-Reformation. The Church realized the propaganda value of art and it set official guidelines for artists, encouraging them to create realistic works to which ordinary men and women could relate.
Bernini’s, Apollo and Daphne is an example of the use Italian Baroque Artistic Style. The life-size masterpiece depicts the chaste nymph, Daphne, turning into a laurel tree, while Apollo, the Sun god, pursues her in vain.
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