Baroque - architectural style definition


Baroque is one of the most important architectural styles that developed in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. It was characterised by grandeur, sumptuous detailing, symmetry and lighting effects. Below, I provide information on the precursors, key features and some well-known buildings in the Baroque style.



The Baroque style originated from several earlier architectural trends, such as the Renaissance, Mannerism and Counter-Reformation. The Italian architect Bernini is considered one of the forerunners of the Baroque, whose works related to architecture and sculpture had a major influence on the development of the style.


Features of the Baroque style

Movement and dynamism: Baroque buildings often appear to move, through the use of curved lines, spirals and shifting architectural elements.

Symmetry: Baroque buildings are characterised by a high degree of symmetry, both in plan and elevation. Axes of symmetry and ornamentation reflecting each other are used.

Splendour and ornamentation: Baroque is a style that is renowned for its rich ornamentation and splendour. Decorative elements such as sculptures, columns, floral ornaments, obelisks, garlands and cartouches are often used.

Lighting effects: Baroque buildings often used plays of light and shadows to emphasise form and architectural details. Large windows, domes and glazing were used to bring natural light into the interiors.


The most popular buildings in the Baroque style

St Peter's Basilica in Vatican City (Rome, Italy): One of the most important Baroque buildings, designed by architects such as Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

Palace of Versailles (Versailles, France): The monumental palace, built on the orders of King Louis XIV, is one of the most famous examples of Baroque architecture.

St Charles-Boromeusz Church (Vienna, Austria): A magnificent church, designed by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, notable for its Baroque details and dome.

Schönbrunn Palace (Vienna, Austria): Another example of a Baroque building in Vienna, it was the summer residence of the Habsburg emperors.

St Peter's Church in Dresden (Dresden, Germany): A magnificent Baroque church, known for its monumental dome and rich decoration.


The Baroque style had a huge influence on the development of architecture and art, and its influence can be found in many other buildings and works of art in Europe and around the world.

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