What is Baroque and Neoclassical? describe in simple words.

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The 16th century was a time of religious, social, political, and scientific turmoil, so the art reflected these conflicts. Baroque is the style that developed during this period; the name originates from a Portugese word meaning "irregular" or  "rough," even "grotesque."  It is characterized by over-ornamentation.  In sculpture, Bernini is recognized as the undisputed genius of the Baroque age.  He created dramatic spatial manipulation, by using classical columns in a theatrical way in producing a swirling tension. Bernini designed the piazza in Rome.  Within the Basilica of Rome, black marble in Baroque design forms a canopy over the buried St. Peter.  Another sculptor, Borromini, twisted shapes and exaggerated forms greatly.  In short, Baroque was an overdone style characterized by unrestrainted decoration and "energy."  (ornate and irregular in design) 

In the 1700s the Neoclassical style was the antithesis of the Baroque.  It was an attempt to recreate the spirit and forms of the art of ancient Rome and Greece.  The palace of Versailles in France is an example of this return to the classical columns, balance, and taste.  There is a paring down of ornamentation.  The Pantheon is Paris is another example as it is modeled upon that of a Roman temple although the dome is modeled after St. Paul's cathedral in London.  Neoclassical architecture and art has classical elements and is very proportioned and irregular.

In the U.S. Jefferson's Monticello (1769) is a good example of Neoclassicism with its plain and very clear style.