The Baroque is a highly ornate, extravagant style of architecture, music, dance, painting, sculpture and other arts that flourished in Europe from the early 17th until the mid-18th century. It was encouraged by the Catholic Church to counter the simplicity and austerity of Protestant architecture, art and music.
The Baroque style used contrast, detail, deep color, grandeur and surprise to achieve a sense of awe. The style began in Rome, and then like a bad case of scabies, it spread rapidly to France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, Austria and Germany, and even North and South America.
The work that distinguishes the Baroque period is stylistically complex, even contradictory. Basically, it sought to evoke emotional states by appealing to the senses in dramatic ways. Some of the qualities most frequently associated with the Baroque are drama, vitality, movement, tension, and emotional exuberance, plus blurring the distinctions between the various arts.
Andrea Sacchi (1599 – 1661) was an Italian painter of High Baroque Classicism, who lived and worked mostly in Rome. He was quite famous in his day.
Sacchi said that other famous artists: “frighten me and make me lose heart.” The most vocal leader of Baroque Classicism, Sacchi argued against the exuberant Baroque manner of another popular painter, Pietro da Cortona. He debated with Cortona, taking the position that historical paintings should have few figures, because simplicity and unity were essential to classicism. Cortona, on the other hand, believed in compositions with curious amounts of complexity and lots of figures.
Sacchi’s boyfriend was Francesco Maria del Monte (1549 – 1627), an Italian Cardinal and connoisseur of the arts. The Cardinal also had thing for another important queer Baroque painter, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571 –1610). Del Monte possessed one Europe’s most important art collection. I know it’s totally nutty, but it was, and still is, known as the ”Del Monte Collection”, which has nothing to do with Del Monte Foods, Inc, the food production company. Del Monte Foods is one of the USA’s largest producers of branded processed foods, generating approximately $1.8 billion in annual sales, about the value of Francesco Maria del Monte’s art collection, so I understand that you might get confused.