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Study Aid 4: Confections of Power: The Spread of the Baroque
and the Development of the Rococo

The Baroque Age was an era of tremendous building activity across Europe and Latin America. The addition of great Baroque churches, palaces, and other buildings transformed many cities into the forms they still maintain today. Sixtus V's plan for the redevelopment of Rome proved particularly influential on schemes for the aggrandizement of European cities and estates.

Baroque Planning
Louis XIV of France was a ruler of tremendous ego and absolute power. To immortalize his reign, he transformed The palace and garden of Versailles (from 1622-90; André Le Nôtré planner and landscape architect; Louis Le Vau, then Jules Hardouin-Mansart, architects; Charles Le Brun, interior designer). Soon Versailles came to be widely admired and imitated by royalty and aristocracy all over Europe: e.g. Sir Christopher Wren's plan for the rebuilding of London after the Great Fire of 1666; Hampton Court palace gardens, west of London, 1670s, Wren architect; radial plan of Karlsruhe, Germany, 1715-; built for Margrave Karl Wilhelm of Baden-Durlach; St. Petersburg, Russia, 1703-; Palace at Caserta, near Naples, Italy, King Carlo III patron, Luigi Vanvitelli architect, 1752-. Even the plan for the capital of the world's first modern democracy-- Washington D.C.- which was designed by Pierre L'Enfant, (1791-2) employed the absolutist planning ideals of the Baroque.

Baroque Architecture
Although the Baroque was widely popular outside of Italy, it underwent many changes and modifications in the course of its migration. Some countries, such as France and England, largely ignored the exuberant curvilinearity of Italian Baroque in favor of its heaviness and grandiose scale. Other countries, such as Germany and Spain, went even further than the Italians in their exploitation of elaborate decorative and spatial qualities.

The final phase of the Baroque is often called the Rococo. Emerging in the early and mid-18th century, the Rococo displayed a delicacy, lightness and elegance (and often radical asymmetry), that has been interpreted as a reaction to the heaviness of the Baroque. First developed as furniture and decoration in the court of Louis XV, Rococo was mostly applied to the interiors of Baroque buildings, and cannot really be considered as a separate style of architecture.

France
Vaux le Vicomte, South of Paris, 1657-6, Le Vau architect, Andre Le Notre landscape designer, Foquet patron; East front of the Louvre, Paris, 1667-74, Claude Perrault architect, Louis XIV patron.

England: Like the Frence, the British were often reluctant to exploit the dynamic curvilinearity of the Italian Baroque, e.g. St. Paul's Cathedral, 1675-1710, London, Sir Christopher Wren architect; St. Stephen Walbrook, London, 1672-7, Wren arch.; St. Brides, London, 1670-84, Wren arch. A few British baroque designers developed a rectilinear Baroque language using exaggerated or odd details and violently contrasting scales, e.g. Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, England, 1705-22, Sir John Vanbrugh & Nicholas Hawksmoor architects; Christ Church, London, 1713-29, Hawksmoor arch.

Germany and Central Europe:Influenced by the spatial dynamics of Guarino Guarini, architects in Central Europe developed interior spaces of great drama, fluidity and complexity that in many later cases was combined with extravagant Rococo decoration; e.g. S. John Nepomuk (aka Asamkirche), Munich, Germany, 1733-46, the Asam Brothers (Egid and Cosmas) architects; Melk Abbey, Melk, Austria, 1702-27, Jacob Prandtauer architect; pilgrimage church of Vierzehnheiligen, (Rococo), Germany, 1743-, Balthasar Neumann, et. al.architects; grand staircase at the Residenz, Wurzburg 1737-42, Neumann arch.; Amalienburg (Rococo), Munich, 1734-9, Francois Cuvillies architect; "Die Wies," pilgrimage church, Germany, 1745-54, Domenikus Zimmerman architect; S. Miklaus, Prague, Czech Republic, 1703-53, Christoph and Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer architects; S. John Nepomuk, Z'dar, Czec Rep., 1720-23, J.B. Santini-Aichel architect.

Spain and its Colonies: The most exuberant forms of Hispanic baroque architecture are sometimes called Churrigueresque and feature the use of complex, faceted estipite pilasters, e.g. facade of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 1738-; San Sabastian y Santa Prisca, Taxco, Mexico, 1751-8, José de la Borda patron, various architects; San Francisco Acatepec and Santa Maria Tonantzintla, both c. 1750 and near Cholula, Mexico; San Francisco, 1669-74, Lima, Peru, Constantino de Vasconcelos architect; San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo, San Antonio, Texas, 1768-82, Pedro Huizar sculptor; San Xavier del Bac, Tuscon, Arizona, 1784-1797.


Palace and Gardens of Versailles

Location: Versailles, France

Vers1

Old Chateau Before Louis XIV's Alterations


Date: 1662-1690
Location: Versailles, France
Architects: Louis Levau & Jules H. Mansart
Patron: Louis XIV

Plan of the Palace


Date: 1662-1690
Location: Versailles, France
Planner and Landscape Designer: André Le Nôtré
Architect: Louis Le Vau
Patron: Louis XIV

Early Painted View from Louis XIV's Bedroom
Toward the New Town of Versailles

View of the Great Entrance Courtyard


Date: 1662-1690
Location: Versailles, France
Planner and Landscape Designer: André Le Nôtré
Patron: Louis XIV

17th Century Painted View of the Main Axis in Garden


Date: 1662-1690
Location: Versailles, France
Landscape Architect: André Le Nôtré
Patron: Louis XIV

Engraving of the Gardens from the 1770s

Main Axis in the Garden with
the Fountain of Latona in the Foreground


Date: 1662-1690
Location: Versailles, France
Architect: Jules H. Mansart
Landscape Architects: André Le Nôtré
Patron: Louis XIV

West Side of Palace with Professor Brack in the Foreground


Date: 1662-1690
Location: Versailles, France
Interior Designer: Charles Le Brun
Patron: Louis XIV

Interior View
"The War Room"


Plan for the Rebuilding of London After the Great Fire of 1666

Date: 1647-
Location: London, England

Engraved Bird's Eye View of London in 1647 by Wenzel Hollar Before the Great Fire of 1666,
Featuring Old St. Paul's Cathedral and the London Bridge


Date: 1666-
Location: London, England

Map of Area Destroyed by the Great Fire of 1666


Date: 1666-
Location: London, England
Architect: Christopher Wren

Christopher Wren's Unexecuted Plan


Date: 1700-
Location: London, England

View of London circa 1710 showing Wren's Many New City Churches


Date: 1666-
Location: London, England
Architect: Richard Newcourt

Richard Newcourt's Unexecuted Plan


St. Paul's Cathedral

Date: 1675-1710
Location: London, England
Architect: Christopher Wren

Initial Plan

Section Diagram of the Dome

Dome Span Comparison Diagram

Aerial View

Interior View - Nave


Blenheim Palace

Date: 1705-1722
Location: Woodstock, England
Architects: Sir John Vanbrugh & Nicholas Hawksmoor
Patron: The Duke of Marlborough

Plan of the Palace

Aerial View

Gate into the Great Courtyard

Garden Facade

Interior View - Great Hall


Christ Church

Date: 1713-1729
Location: Spitalsfields, London
Architect: Nicholas Hawksmoor

Plan

19th Century View

Elevation

Detail of Elevation

Rear Elevation

Interior View


Asamkirche

Date: 1733-1746
Location: Munich, Germany
Architect: Asam Brothers

Elevation

Interior View

Interior View of the Frescoed Ceiling


Vierzehnheiligen

Date: 1743-
Location: Germany
Architect: Balthasar Neumann, et. al.

Plan Including the Vaulting Plan

Aerial View

Elevation

Interior View

Interior View - Painted Vaults

Interior View - Painted Vaults


San Sebastian y Santa Prisca

Date: 1751-1758
Location: Taxco, Mexico
Architect: Architect Unknown
Patron: José de la Borda

Distant View

Elevation

Detail of Facade

Interior View

Detail of Retablo