Baroque architecture


The Baroque architecture is a style of construction that began hundreds of years ago in Italy . It was seen as a new way to represent and explore technical aspects of architecture such as light, shadow and intensity. Its proportions were characterized by being large, having central open spaces, columns and theatrical effects. It was a movement that was always linked to the Counter-Reformation, making known the wealth and power that the Catholic Church had.


What is baroque architecture?

Baroque architecture is a type of construction that adopted the Roman style, modernizing it in order to show the people the great power that the Roman Catholic Church had . An architecture that used unfinished elements to show unique characteristics in its works.


What does it consist of

Baroque architecture consists of a type of construction full of dynamism and movement where curves, decoration and complexity predominate in its structures. It can be distinguished from other types of architecture mainly by its well-sculpted surfaces to achieve a three-dimensional appearance . It was a building movement that took into account the vision of the Renaissance but showed it in a more theatrical way to represent the triumph and power of the church.


It was an architectural style that was concerned with showing the circular forms in its naves, giving a greater dramatic use of light and the use of opulent ornaments . They also used frescoes on the ceilings and a series of paint mixes to further highlight the works.

Characteristics of Baroque architecture

Among the main characteristics of Baroque architecture we can mention the following:

  • Facades are given more importance , more decorative elements and it is seen more as a type of architectural decoration.
  • The use of curved lines was adopted instead of straight lines to inject more expressiveness into the works.
  • Circular and elliptical plants were used allowing a better adaptation.
  • It was a form of construction that sought to maintain the correct symmetry of Renaissance architecture .
  • The columns were crooked and were not built for stability but simply as a decorative element.
  • The details that were used for decorations with this style of art were extremely detailed.
  • The forms had a sensation of movement and it was built with different types of windows.
  • There was a greater integration between architecture and painting .
  • The ceilings were decorated using different frescoes, walls and ceilings.
  • The concepts that existed about volume and symmetry were quickly changed by greater dynamism and theatricality .


During the year 1527 in Europe , the Catholic religion dominated the area and had all the power to inform and direct art in society, it was at that time that a movement against the Protestant Reformation originated . After this, it was necessary to find a way to attract new faithful and one of the best options was through art . The artists of the time also decided to revive the ideals of Renaissance greatness especially in music, art and architecture, giving greater importance to the extravagance and the ornate .

This style of art was known as Baroque and was characterized by its details , its high level of visual language and its magnificence in a period that had already been very weak for the artistic world. Little by little it spread throughout Europe and found strong support in the Pope and the Catholic rulers of Italy, France and Spain.

Elements of Baroque architecture

There are several elements considered within Baroque architecture, among them the following are mentioned:

  • Constant search for instability .
  • Movement through different resources such as elliptical-shaped plants, facades full of life and movement, the use of broken lines instead of straight lines, the use of elliptical, oval and mixed walls and arches .
  • The decorative supports such as the Solomonic column and the stipe.
  • Interior and exterior lights .
  • Vaulted roofs.
  • Large Renaissance domes .
  • The use of moldings and pediments .
  • Entrances and exits that allowed the play of space and volume .
  • Interiors that focused on showing the mysterious and the infinite.
  • The use of materials such as stone , brick and stucco .


  • The main styles of Baroque architecture are:
  • Solomonic or helical Baroque that gave a greater lightness to the constructions.
  • Baroque stipe where they built high inverted vertices and was based on four different elements, the base, stipe, the cube and the capital.
  • Purist Baroque that had architectural elements such as classical columns, curves, and secondary elements.
  • Talaveresque Baroque that used glazed tiles and clay, coverings on the façades and domes, and pictorial textures.
  • Stuccoed Baroque , a more decorative and educational style.


The construction of Baroque buildings at the time was made using inexpensive materials but capable of highlighting the beauty and majesty of the work. In most of the constructions the use of stone , brick and stucco predominated . In some buildings it was also customary, in the internal part, to use materials such as marble , in order to provide more luxury. The bronze was another of the materials used in baroque architecture.

Types of buildings

There are several types of buildings that used Baroque architecture to be built. Probably the most important of them was the church , buildings that focused on showing the greatness of architecture , luxury and details . The palaces also used the Baroque for their opulent constructions, in them it was possible to clearly observe the importance of the decoration and the symmetrical centers that were located inside the internal part of the construction which in turn led to a courtyard and an internal vestibule. .

On some occasions this type of architecture was used for urban planning in the area, mainly in Rome, where an attempt was made to give the city more dynamism and openness, seeking the creation of central focuses through domes and obelisks.

Baroque religious architecture

The religious architecture of the Baroque was focused on satisfying the needs that arose after the Counter-Reformation , among which the longitudinal arrangement , the side chapels and a greater space were important. In the churches, the construction of more centralized plants was sought, mainly oval in shape and great importance was given to decoration.

Baroque architecture by country


Baroque architecture in Spain had three important periods, the first during the seventeenth century and it was a time of great sobriety in the structures as well as great decorative elements. The second period corresponds to the second half of the seventeenth century and was a period that was more marked by excessive decoration . Finally, the final period occurred at the beginning of the 18th century and was based on a type of ornament that was freer and full of fantasy, where the more balanced tendencies prevailed in architecture.


It was also known by the name of French classicism and was an architectural style inspired by the Italian Baroque style . Much importance was given to order, to the use of columns and domes as a symbol of power and greatness . They also introduced the use of wrought iron, the inclusion of formal gardens and the construction of monumental squares. It was a movement that from its beginnings sought a way to express the power and majesty of the kings of France.


It was the place of greatest importance for this type of architecture and it was where great changes took place thanks to the ornamental transformations . There was great interest in demonstrating the power of the Catholic Church and curved lines, spirals, concave and convex shapes , more colorful decorations, wider interior spaces and a large number of paintings and sculptures were used with the aim of creating theatrical art.


Among the main representatives of Baroque architecture we can mention:

  • Pietro Berrettini da Cortona
  • Bernini
  • Francesco Borromini
  • Louis Le Vau
  • Jules Hardouin Mansart
  • Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach
  • Bartolomeo Rastrelli

Examples of Baroque architecture

Some examples of Baroque architecture are mentioned below:

  • Church of San Carlo in Rome
  • St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican
  • Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna
  • St Paul’s Cathedral in London
  • The Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg
  • The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain

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