Baroque Portraiture

Baroque, the European artistic style of the 1600s, targeted the senses using virtuosity and realism, reaching the mind through emotion rather than reason. The term Baroque was coined in the 1700s from the Portuguese word for an irregular pearl, barroco, suggesting the work was composed of distorted forms of histrionic subjects. Baroque art has qualities of theatricality, movement, and exuberance. Artists—like others of the time who were interested in studying, understanding, and recording the world—applied their faculties of keen observation to render details of the physical world and of human psychology.

Fashion in Baroque Portraits

Baroque is a period in the history of Western arts roughly coinciding with the 17th century. It's also a style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music. The style started around 1600 in Rome, Italy and spread to most of Europe. For example, some traits and aspects of Baroque paintings which can allow one to differenciate this style of art from other styles are the abundant amount of details, the often bright polychromy, the less realist faces of subjects, and an overall sense of awe, which is one of the artist's overall goals in the painting.

Fashion in the period 1600-1650 in Western European clothing is characterized by the disappearance of the ruff in favor of broad lace or linen collars. Waistlines rose through the period for both men and women. The silhouette, which was essentially close to the body with tight sleeves and a low, pointed waist to around 1615, gradually softened and broadened. Sleeves became very full, and in the 1620s and 1630s were often paned or slashed to show the voluminous sleeves of the shirt or chemise beneath. Other notable fashions included tall or broad hats with brims and for men, hose disappeared in favor of breeches.

Fashion in the period 1650-1700 in Western European clothing is characterised by rapid change. Following the end of the Thirty Years' War and the Restoration of England's Charles II, military influences in men's clothing were replaced by a brief period of decorative exuberance which then sobered into the coat, waistcoat and breeches costume that would reign for the next century and a half. In the normal cycle of fashion, the broad, high-waisted silhouette of the previous period was replaced by a long, lean line with a low waist for both men and women. This period also marked the rise of the periwig as an essential item of men's fashion.

For women, the wide, high-waisted look of the previous period was gradually superseded by a long vertical line, with horizontal emphasis at the shoulder. Full, loose sleeves ended just below the elbow at mid century and became longer and tighter in keeping with the new trend. The body was tightly corseted, with a low, broad neckline and dropped shoulder. In later decades, the overskirt was drawn back and pinned up to display the petticoat, which was heavily decorated.

Fashion in the period 1650-1700 in Western European clothing is characterised by rapid change. Following the end of the Thirty Years' War and the Restoration of England's Charles II, military influences in men's clothing were replaced by a brief period of decorative exuberance which then sobered into the coat, waistcoat and breeches costume that would reign for the next century and a half. In the normal cycle of fashion, the broad, high-waisted silhouette of the previous period was replaced by a long, lean line with a low waist for both men and women. This period also marked the rise of the periwig as an essential item of men's fashion.

For women, the wide, high-waisted look of the previous period was gradually superseded by a long vertical line, with horizontal emphasis at the shoulder. Full, loose sleeves ended just below the elbow at mid century and became longer and tighter in keeping with the new trend. The body was tightly corseted, with a low, broad neckline and dropped shoulder. In later decades, the overskirt was drawn back and pinned up to display the petticoat, which was heavily decorated.

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