Robert Harbison (Professor of Architecture and Interior Design, University of North London)
This text offers a reinterpretation of the 17th-century Baroque style and the cultural and political interests that gave rise to it. Baroque's many forms spread throughout Catholic Europe, infiltrated Protestant England, Orthodox Russia and even colonial Latin America and Asia. This book traces the complex and divergent origins of Baroque back to forces including 17th-century mysticism and science, personal features of Michelangelo's architecture and a papal wish to reassert the primacy of Rome. The author, Robert Harbison, takes into account the architecture, as well as the art, scenography, music, poetry and literature of the period and he explores the metamorphoses of Baroque ideas and works of art into later styles, particularly the Rococo. He also follows the Baroque idea through the 19th and 20th centuries with analyses of imitations or resemblences in works ranging from Czech Cubism to the architecture of Frank Gehry.