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Difference Between Baroque Art and Renaissance

Baroque Art vs Renaissance

Art is one of the most interesting subjects to discuss during history lessons. Aside from showcasing artistic talent and creativity, it also gives students and enthusiasts a chance to get a glimpse of how great artists in the past managed to come up with masterpieces that remain unchallenged to this day.

Two distinct periods in history stand out when talking about art and great masters – Baroque and Renaissance. The works created during these times were very similar to each other but with distinct differences; debates about which period produced better art still continue today with supporters from both camps presenting compelling arguments. Perhaps the best way to deal with this is to enumerate the differences between the two.

The Renaissance period for art began in the 1400s in Italy, which today is considered the art capital of the world, together with Paris. This period was considered one of the most important in Europe’s history as it marked the transition from medieval times into early modern age. The Baroque era soon followed in the 1600s, as another transformation came about when the church began to divide between Protestants and Roman Catholics. It is no wonder many creations in this period were recreations of famous works in the Renaissance era.

Many modern artists and art connoisseurs as well as ordinary people are familiar with many of the Renaissance artists like Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci. Baroque period masters however are not so well known to many people. This is indicative of how Baroque art was viewed during its time. Compared to Renaissance creations, it was considered strange and odd, which is roughly what it means in French.

There was once a strong contention among many art enthusiasts that there was no work of great value during the Baroque period. But this was later disproved by the acknowledgement of the works of artists like Bernini and Caravaggio. One reason for the dislike of Baroque art was that many of the painters and sculptors sought to recreate previous works of Renaissance masters.

But the greatest difference between these two important eras in art history is in the style used by artists. Renaissance painters and sculptors were among the first to use perspective in their work. This allowed them to give more realism to their creations. However, this focus on adding depth to their work has made paintings and sculptures seem to lack emotions and failed to capture the emotions that it should depict. This ‘stillness’ was solved by Baroque artists as seen in their famous works. They focused more on the drama of the subject they were trying to showcase.

This opposite treatment of a subject is displayed in the statue of David that Renaissance man Michelangelo first sculpted and recreated by Bernini of the Baroque movement. The first one shows an emotionless David heading into battle with Goliath, which is the exact opposite of Bernini’s work, which showed an intense David raring to fight the giant. This contrasting style shows the biggest disparity between these two periods.


1. Renaissance art began early in the 1400s, while Baroque came later in the 1600s.
2. Renaissance artists like Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci are more famous than Baroque masters Bernini and Caravaggio.
3. Renaissance art works did not completely depict human emotion, while Baroque art focused more on showing them.

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  1. Thank you – very, very helpful.

  2. The writer of this article makes the typical renaissance lack of emotions sound like a bad thing – one that was “corrected” by the baroque period.

    “seem to lack emotions and failed to capture the emotions that it should depict.”

    We should always remember that there are no standards for “proper art”. They didn’t fail to depict something that should be there, they never wanted it to be there in the first place because they wanted to dignify the human figure as much as possible.

  3. I found this information very helpful and i would like to use this concept of explanation as reference for my novel…no copyright intended just i want my readers to understand a bit of these eras… I would only take the concept not ur actual words… So i would be really happy if i can use them as reference

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