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The Neo-Baroque

Art Lovers | 27 October 2023

Written by Danielle Pezzi | BFA (Hon), MA


I am sure you’ve come across the word Baroque, whether it’s from your days in history class, during your European travels, or even that time you watched the Disney animated classic Beauty and the Beast, when everyone’s favourite talking clock declares, ‘If it’s not Baroque, don’t fix it.’ 

Baroque was a style of art that developed in Europe during the 17th century and continued into the 18th century (1600s-1750s). Coming from the Portuguese word Barroco, which means an irregular or flawed pearl. Like its namesake, Baroque art is famous for its luxury, opulence, dramatic, extravagant and visually striking characteristics.

The Baroque has a lasting legacy and key features of the movement can be found today in contemporary art. This phenomenon is called the Neo-Baroque. Neo-Baroque aesthetics in 21st century art practice refer to a revival and reinterpretation of the style.

Key Features of Baroque art include: 

1. Emotion and Drama

Baroque art is often characterised by its emphasis on strong emotions and dramatic scenes. Artists wanted to evoke powerful feelings in viewers.


Ladylike by JAQ GRANTFORD | 180 x 120cm, Oil on canvas

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2. Ornate and Detailed

It is known for its intricate and detailed compositions. Artists paid great attention to small details, making their works visually rich and complex.

Gda Valk Jeska A Thread Of History Rgb

A Thread of History by JESKA VALK | 100 x 110cm, Oil on linen

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3. Contrast of Light and Shadow (Chiaroscuro)

The Baroque painters were masters of using light and shadow to create a sense of depth and three-dimensionality in their works. 

Empty Room (15)

Banksias Triptych by NADIA CULPH | Fine Art Photography

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4. Dynamic Compositions

The artists often used dynamic (lively) compositions, with strong diagonal positions that create a sense of movement and energy in their works.

Baroque Style Art10

All In by KELLIE NORTH | Fine Art Photography

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5. Religious and Mythological Themes

Many Baroque works featured religious subjects, Mythological themes and historical events.

Redemptive Odyssey Sfrevised

Redemptive Odyssey by KATHRYN FENTON | 121 x 91cm, Mixed media on canvas

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6. Use of Colour

Baroque artists used vibrant colours to capture attention and create a sense of opulence.

Marcel Desbiens A Sweet Scent

A Sweet Scent by MARCEL DESBIENS | 54 x 44cm, Oil on board

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7. Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Baroque art extended beyond painting and architecture. Sculpture and decorative arts, such as furniture and jewellery, also embraced the ornate and elaborate style of the period.

Time Drey 3 1024×1017

The Time Drey by DINA GOEBEL | 15 x 15cm, Mixed media hand crafted free-standing sculpture

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8. Secular themes

In Protestant Northern Europe, where religious art was not as popular, paintings of still-life, portraits and everyday life became popular. 

In The Midst Of Death We Are In Life

In the midst of death we are in life by SARAH WALKER | 61 x 61cm, Acrylic on canvas

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9. Architectural Marvels

In architecture and interior architecture the Baroque period is known for its grand, ornate buildings and churches. These structures often featured intricate facades, domes, and elaborate ceiling paintings.

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Majestic Sunrise by THEO PAPATHOMAS | 180 x 120cm, Oil on canvas

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10. Scientific Advancements

The Baroque era coincided with significant scientific discoveries. These discoveries influenced art with an increased interest in depicting the natural world accurately, which created illusionistic life imitating art.

Cant You See Its Just Rainin Alanah Jarvis Ocean Art Coastal Interior

Ain’t no need to go outside by ALANAH JARVIS | 160 x 80cm, Diptych, Oil on canvas

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Contemporary artists, including Art Lovers Australian Artists, often blend the traditional elements of Baroque art with modern techniques and subject matter, resulting in a unique fusion of old and new. This style can be seen in various art forms, including painting, sculpture, installation, and digital media.

Neo-Baroque art invites viewers to engage with its ornate and intricate compositions, offering a rich sensory experience stimulating intellectually and emotionally. It continues to be a relevant and influential trend in contemporary art, reflecting the enduring appeal of the Baroque’s extravagant and dynamic aesthetics. 

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