Baroque was the style dominating the art of Europe and certain European colonies in the Americas throughout the 1600s, and in some places, until 1750. Baroque art encompasses vast regional distinctions. It may seem confusing, for example, to label two such different artists as Rembrandt and Michelangelo Caravaggio as baroque; yet despite differences, they shared certain baroque elements, such as a preoccupation with the dramatic potential of light.
Among the general characteristics of baroque art is a sense of movement, energy, and tension (whether real or implied). Strong contrasts of light and shadow enhance the dramatic effects of many paintings and sculptures. Intense spirituality is often present in works of baroque art. Infinite space is often suggested in baroque paintings or sculptures. Painters sought a grander sense of space and truer depiction of perspective in their works.
Realism is another integral feature of baroque art; the figures in paintings are not types but individuals with their own personalities. Artists of this time were concerned with the inner workings of the mind and attempted to portray the passions of the soul on the faces they painted and sculpted. The intensity and immediacy of baroque art and its individualism and detail-observed in such things as the convincing rendering of cloth and skin textures-make it one of the most compelling periods of Western art.