For convenience the baroque period is divided into three parts:Early Baroque, c.1590–c.1625
The early style was preeminent under papal patronage in Rome where Carracci and Caravaggio and his followers diverged decisively from the artifice of the preceding mannerist painters (see mannerism). Bernini abandoned an early mannerism in his sculpture, allowing him to express a new naturalistic vigor. In architecture, Carlo Maderno's facades for Sta. Susanna and St. Peter's moved toward a more sculptural treatment of the classical orders.
The exuberant trend in Italian art was best represented by Bernini and Borromini in architecture, by Bernini in sculpture, and by da Cortona in painting. The classicizing mode characterized the work of the expatriate painters Poussin and Claude Lorrain. This period produced an astonishing number and variety of international painters of the first rank, including Rembrandt, Rubens, Velázquez, and Anthony van Dyck.
During this time Italy lost its position of artistic dominance to France, largely due to the patronage of Louis XIV. The late baroque style was especially popular in Germany and Austria, where many frescoes by the Tiepolo family were executed. The extraordinarily theatrical quality of the architecture in these countries is best seen in the work of Neumann and Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach. From Europe the baroque spread across the Atlantic Ocean to the New World. Gradually the massive forms of the baroque yielded to the lighter, more graceful outlines of the rococo.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.