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Texas A&M University
Spring 2009
ARCH 441 - 500
ARCC 207, MWF 10:20AM – 11:10AM
Gabriela Campagnol, Assistant Professor [
Office hours, Langford A404, M, W, F by appointment
The Baroque conception/idea can designate an artistic, literary or musical style or a chronological
period or even a certain mentality. The source of the term is controversial. It may have come from
the name given by craftsmen to an irregular pearl, which was associated in France with a bizarre or
extravagant one.
However, in both meanings there is an evident negative signification, which
remained associated with the word for a long time.
Only at the end of XIX century, several European scholars, such as the German Heinrich Wölfflin,
came to rescue the baroque nomenclature designating one artistic style, which was situated
between the end of the High Renaissance and Neoclassicism, between the end of XVI and the
middle of the XVIII century. Equally applied to the Music and Literature, it was applied by
historiographers, who identified in the expression “Baroque Age” a comfortable term to designate
the tumultuous period. This was the source of a vast bibliography, above all in Italy, German and
the Iberian Peninsula. Generally speaking, Baroque was a didactic, theatrical, dynamic, and
dramatic style.
Traditionally, Il Gesù Church, designed by Vignola and completed by Della Porta in Rome for the
Jesuits, beginning in 1568, is considered the first significant expression of the Baroque aesthetic,
and much of its form and ornament are associated with works produced within the Council of Trent
environment (1545-63), which was a sign of The Catholic Counter-Reformation. However, it is also
possible to identify those forms in the work of Protestant artists from Germany, France,
Netherlands, and England.
The Jesuits’ presence in Portugal certified the introduction of Baroque aesthetics and The São
Roque Church in Lisbon, like Il Gesù in Rome, was a model of Jesuit churches. The American
Baroque aesthetic had been present in México, Peru and in other regions of Spanish colonization.
It was also present in Brazil. It was two hundred years after the discovery of Brazil before the
explorer Antônio Dias de Oliveira found gold in Minas Gerais. Taking advantage of great number of
little villages or urban nuclei typically from Minas’ occupation, that movement mobilized an
extraordinary amount of money and specialized masons and craftsmen producing a unique cultural
environment, which was called “
Barroco Mineiro”
[Minas’ Baroque].
The ingenious mulatto Antônio Francisco Lisboa, otherwise known as Aleijadinho
, was born in
Ouro Preto in 1730 (or 1738), leading Minas Gerais its greatest Baroque expression. He was
responsible for the design and façades of the most impressive churches in that area, and his work
culminated in the famous sculpture of the twelve prophets and the steps of the Bom Jesus de
Matozinhos Sanctuary in Congonhas do Campo, MG.
Nevertheless, from 1760 on, some scholars have emphasized that the predominant style of Minas
Gerais was no longer the Baroque, but the Rococo – a term derived from France’s
means shell, or a kind of decoration utilizing shells. The great interior ornamentation, the elaborate
façades, and the release of churches from a quadrangular plan might point out a stylistic evolution
that is located within the Rococo’s dominion.
His nickname “Aleijadinho” means “Little Cripple”, because he suffered from a kind of bone degeneration,
probably leprosy.