16th Century: Baroque Architecture Analysis

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The 16th Century was the beginning of baroque architecture. It was defined by new explorations in lighting and shadow as well as form. Sant’Agnese in Agone also called Sant’Agnese in Piazza Navona was built in Rome in the 17th Century. Architects Girolamo Rainaldi and Carlo Rainaldi, with the help of Francesco Borromini, began construction in 1652 under the action of Pope Innocent X. As stated by John Galloway (2015) in his book “15 Insane But True Things About Architecture” he describes Baroque style as an almost theatrical form of architecture. “TAKING THE RENAISSANCE ARCHITECTURE AND MODIFYING IT TO A NEW THEATRICAL, SCULPTURAL FASHION, BAROQUE ARCHITECTURE BECAME A VERY FANCIFUL, EXTRAVAGANT STYLE OF STRUCTURAL DESIGN.” (GALLOWAY, 2015)…show more content…
Therefore the church became a family chapel of sorts and an opening in the dome of the church was made so the family could participate in the churches activities. Although Borromini had to work according to the plans made by Rainaldi, he was not afraid to make changes. Positioning columns toward the sides of the dome which caused the broad base as opposed to the usual roman way for doing things by using a pointed base. At the passing of Innocent X, Borromini lost interest in the project and resigned in 1657 before he could be dismissed by Pope Alexander VII. After this resignation Carlo Rainaldi was again in charge, the more creative style of Borromini was discarded in favour of a more conventional design. It was a point in the churches lifetime when progress was at its slowest.
There are many distinctive features which allow us to identify a baroque building. Oval naves and ceiling frescos are just some, along with the dramatic use of light, usually by means of strong contrasts between light and shade. Many countries have their own distinctive baroque features. For example the pear shaped domes in Poland and Ukraine and the roman plans based on the Italian paradigm. It was Italy that really set the standard in baroque architecture which eventually made its way through the pyrenes to Spain. Bazin (1964)

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