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Hum102 Time Capsule Paper

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Time Capsule Paper


October 22, 2012
Verna Cathy Tobin

The Age of Baroque was between 1600 and 1750. “The term ‘baroque’ is associated with such features as ornateness, spatial grandeur, and theoretical flamboyance” (Fiero, 2011, p. 10). The Age of Baroque follows the Renaissance, which means ‘rebirth.’ Therefore, the Age of Baroque can be in comparison to the years of adolescence, where the events and cultural patterns are contradictory and full of emotional statement. This paper will highlight two examples of art, music, descriptions of architecture, philosophy, and literature of time as well as reflect how each example reflects both world events and the cultural patterns of the time.
Examples of Art The first two examples of the Age of Baroque are those of art. Art during this age used the contrast of light and dark and effects that produced illusions to evoke emotions by the viewers. Religious subjects were often the theme of the portraits to portray a dramatic scene to give viewers the sense that he or she were active participants in the scene. This was reflective of the world events and cultural patterns focused on religious matters, such as the Catholic Reformation and the cultural events that were emotional for individuals. The first example is The Supper at Emmaus by Caravaggio (1571-1610). The painting uses the strong contrasts of light and dark and shows the religious subjects of Christ and his disciples. The emotion produced in the painting by using technique to give the illusion that Christ is reaching out to both the viewer and the bread in the painting. More emotion is felt from the disciples, especially the disciple to the left of Christ. This disciple appears to rise from the painting with a look of astonishment. The second example of art is the painting Et in Arcadia Ego by Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665). This also depicts Biblical characters, the Shepherds. There are three men and a woman in the painting that discover a tomb and read an inscription on the tomb. The painting stirs emotions that may not be intense initially but are more longlasting in that it makes the viewer contemplate how death can affect him or her.
Examples of Music The second two examples of the Age of Baroque are in music of the time. Music of this age was reflective of the time because it too was one of discovery. The time was a time of expansion and a combination of old and new. Music was no different. The Church had a strong influence and wanted to banish any secular influences in music. At the same time there was an evolution of music into opera. The operas were also used to move individuals and evoke emotions, a central theme of the time. The first example was In ecclesiis by Giovanni Garieli (1555-1612). This piece of music was produced to be performed in St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice. Therefore, it was influenced by the Church and provoked emotion from the listeners by using the architectural features of the cathedral for a maximum effect of drama and musical impact. The second example of music is Orfeo by Claudio Monteverdi (1576-1643). Orfeo was a musical piece that had the emotional effect by vocal expression and by using poetry to tell the story. The piece was based on the Greek Legend of Orpheus. Orpheus was trying to bring his deceased bride Eurydice back to life by his descent to Hades. Examples of Architecture The third examples of the Age of Baroque are through two descriptions of the architecture of the age. The architecture of this age reflects the influence of the Church and its wealth and power. The first example is that of the Piazza. This was the space that was in front of St. Peter’s Basilica and was designed by Bernini (1598-1680). The major feature of the keyhole shaped space was the colonnade, which gave the feeling and characteristics of the time of grandeur and ornateness. The second example of architecture is the church San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane by Francesco Borromini (1599-1667). This was a small church with extraordinary decorative elements to bring out the Baroque characteristics. The elements also allows illusions to produce the emotions that were a focus of the time. This included Corinthian columns, life-sized angels as well as an oval dome with hidden windows to allow for the interior to be illuminated. Examples of Philosophy The fourth examples of the Baroque time were in the philosophy. The philosophy of this time again reflected the events in the environment and focused on change but in this case it was about life changes. The philosophy of this time also can be seen as “pessimistic obsession with human intellectual capacity” (Robbins, 2005, p. 236). One example of philosophy was written in The Discourse on Method by Rene Descartes (1596-1650). This philosophical work has the most influence on the philosophy of the modern time. It focuses on the concept of skepticism and doubt. Descartes belief is that if individuals are to have doubt about everything than he or she has no preconceived notions of the world and can take on a fresh outlook or perspective. The second philosophy example is Essay Concerning Human Understanding by John Locke (1632-1704). The book tried to provide answers to two questions. The first is the question of where ideas come from, and the second is if the human senses are reliable. Examples of Literature The last two examples from the Age of Baroque are that of literature. Literature during this time has “great emphasis on originality and on an overabundance of stylistic devices, particularly metaphors, hyperboles, and antitheses” (Braider, 2011, p. 234). Again the reflection of the literature was to evoke emotions, which again were the central focus of the time. The first example is Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross (1542-1591). This writing “describes the journey of the soul from its bodily prison to spiritual union with God” (Fiero, 2011, p. 4). This writing reflects the religious influence of the time as well as the second example. This example is by Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) and is Visions. The writings were based on the visitations that Teresa of Avila believed she had experienced over a two- year period from Jesus. Conclusion All of the examples from the Age of Baroque have a common thread. This is that each of the examples are a representation or reflection of the environment in which each were created. The Age of Baroque was a time of expansion, contradiction, and emotional statements. Each of the examples are a representation of these as well as other characteristics of the time.

Baider, C. (2011). Hyperboles: The Rhetoric of Excess in Baroque Literature and Thought. Renaissance Quarterly, 64(1), 234-236. doi: 10.1080/1456688900045872.
Fiero, G. K. (2011). The humanistic tradition, Book 4: Faith, reason, and power in the early modern world (6th. Ed). New York: McGraw Hill.
Robbins, J. (2005). From Baroque to Pre-Enlightment: Resolving the epistemological crisis. Bulletin of Spanish Studies, 82(8), 225. doi: 10.1080/1475382000345984.

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