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By Germain Bazin

The 17th and eighteenth centuries have been years whilst the humanities of Western civilization reached their so much diverse and richest expression, while all the eu peoples invented the inventive types most sensible suited to its personal genius. during this long-awaited quantity on Baroque and Rococo paintings, Germain Bazin, leader Curator of the Louvre Museum in Paris, strains the a number of achievements of these exuberant and paradoxical times—the wealth of masterpieces in sculpture, portray, structure, and ornamental arts that mirrored the expansive diverseness of the Baroque and Rococo inventive impulse.

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In the first a districts, governor remained half of the seventeenth century these Archduke Albert of Austria and first which who was usually governors were ostentatious and maintained a Court the latter, his at Brussels. wife the Archduchess The Isabella, governors of the Southern Netherlands in the seventeenth century, extended their protection to Rubens, as did their successor. None the less, the main artistic centre was not at Brussels but at Antwerp. In 1648 the closing of the Scheldt reduced the economic power of this city, yet during the second third of the century its wealth made a great centre of the arts possible.

Luigi dei Francesi, Rome was painted by Caravaggio before the Martyrdom. It represents a scene of low life on a monumental scale, and in it Caravaggio seems to be taking leave of his early, 'worldly' (detail) r» xV. # evidence of an empirical and impulsive method. But untrue that it is he was trying to break with what had gone before, that he was trying to destroy the Renaissance idea the art of antiquity, of art. many borrowings from His from Savoldo, from Michelangelo, and even from Raphael, prove the contrary.

Presence, was In his effort to recover the full force of this corporeal which had vanished led to seek it where it has in the deliquescence its indeed, the Carracci were also doing * perate way. When of Mannerism, he elementary power - in the people; this, though in a more tem- he had to paint sacred scenes, the parts in these were played by poor people. He returned, in a way, to the spirit of the Gospels, and this sanctifying Populism, this implication that the humble are nearer in^piri^to the truth, was to give life to a consider- able part^ the more profound part - of seventeenth-century religious The people in Caravaggio's paintings are bound together by dramatic relationships which raise all the problems of life, grief, painting.

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