Baroque and Rococo

The world was on the cusp of a new era. More profound than a stylistic change, this would transform the very paradigm through which the world was understood; agrarian Europe was being overtaken by an industrial Europe. That change was in the air was palpable, but as in so many grand events being aware of the phenomenon at the time doesn't make understanding it any easier. As the old and new struggle to coexist there is a constant undercurrent of turbulence in everything from politics to economics. Was there a place for the new in a world ruled by tradition?

The Baroque emerges as an era of magnificent excess. Aristocratic palaces flaunt prestige and power with an ostentatious pomp becoming evermore grotesque in magnitude. Renaissance naturalism disappears under a cloud of Baroque contortions sometimes leaving the viewer overwhelmed by a dizzying array of twisting putti and breathless music. Bourgeois Capitalists - still in their infancy - were generating unfathomable wealth creating a challenge to the Aristocratic worldview still based on an antiquated feudalism long past its prime. The Renaissance may have given the world the Protestants, but it was left to the Baroque to come to terms with its challenge to Catholicism. Religious strife combined with an entrepreneurial spirit fed into the colonial experiment yet again complicating the new landscape of old and new. Everywhere seeds were being planted, but it would be left to a later age to harvest the revolutions.


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