Andrew is guest blogger for this post.
This semester we have been researching the Baroque works in Rome. The Baroque is a period shortly (considering the medieval period was about 1000 years) after the Renaissance. Usually it is considered to have begun after the counter reformation (council of Trent - 1545 -63) of the Catholic Church. The church encouraged and promoted a tremendous amount of art and architecture as propaganda to the illiterate. In addition to the general appeal to the raw emotions, the work was characterized by much more dynamic, and fluid geometry influenced by advancements in mathematic and scientific reasoning. This was in direct opposition to the anthropomorphic pure, self-referential geometries of the Renaissance. The Baroque is also interesting specifically to Rome because this period marks the last time when Rome was at the forefront as the cultivator of western culture with such figures as Francesco Borromini, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Caravaggio, Galileo Galilei and others.
As a studio we have analyzed this work by documenting it, modeling it and writing computer scripts to access the parameters of the equation based geometries. From there the students are re-inventing the baroque taking into contemporary concerns and advancements in technology. Their final project is to design a museum dedicated to the art and architecture of the Counter Reformation (a.k.a the Baroque) located in the heart of the historic Rome along the Tiber.
Here are some of the works the students were assigned to analyze:
I will start with the posterchild of the Baroque; Borromini and his most famous San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane. This is an amazingly small little church, but in my opinion the most formally sophisticated Church in Rome.
Borromini – Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza
Borromini – Sant’Andrea delle Fratte (Borromini took over the design late in it planning so his impact is only on the exterior)
Bernini – Sant’Andrea al Quirinale
Bernini – piazza and colonnade of St. Peters
Bernini – Baldachin – St. Peters
Rainaldi - Piazza del Popolo and the “Twin Churches” –
Pietro da Cortona – Santa Maria della pace
Filippo Raguzzini – Sant’Ignazio Piazza and Palaces