Best Baroque Paintings
Greatest 17th Century Altarpieces, Classical Landscapes.

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The Descent from the Cross (1612-14)
Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp.
A superb example of altarpiece art
by the Catholic painter Rubens, and
a perfect instance of 17th century
Catholic Counter-Reformation Art.

Best Baroque Paintings (c.1600-1700)


Italian Baroque
Spanish Baroque
French Baroque
Flemish Baroque
Dutch Baroque
German Baroque

The Apotheosis of St Ignatius
(1691-4) Ceiling fresco painting
in the church of San Ignazio, Rome.
By Andrea Pozzo. Arguably one of
the most magnificent examples of
Christian art of the 17th century.

For details of art movements
and styles, see: History of Art.
For a quick guide to specific
styles, see: Art Movements.

See: Best Artists of All Time.


Here is a list of the most important Old Masters working in the idiom of Baroque art, together with some of the greatest paintings of the era. Please note that Baroque painting spanned more than a century, and covered several completely different styles practised by groups and individual artists across Europe. These styles included:

• Grand, dramatic, large-scale religious panel paintings.
See works by Peter Paul Rubens.
• Intense devotional oil painting for monasteries and churches.
See works by Ribera and/or Zurbaran.
• Illusionistic mural paintings in churches, to create sense of infinitude.
See works by Andrea Pozzo and Pietro da Cortona.
• Dutch Realist genre painting, including simple interiors, and still lifes.
See works by Jan Vermeer, Samuel Van Hoogstraten, de Heem, Willem Kalf.
• Realist portrait art.
See works by Rembrandt, Frans Hals and Le Nain brothers.
History painting (and Mythological painting) in the style of academic art.
See works by Nicolas Poussin.
• Classical landscape painting, as well as decorative ceiling frescoes championed by the Bolognese School (1590 on).
See works by Annibale Carracci, Domenichino, Lanfranco and Claude Lorraine.


Best Italian Baroque Paintings

Annibale Carracci (1560-1609)
Classical painter famous for the Farnese Gallery frescos (1597-1608) Rome.

Caravaggio (1571-1610)
Master of dramatic religious paintings, spawned numerous followers, as well as Europeanwide Caravaggism movement.
Judith and Holoferns (1599) Palazzo Barberini, Rome
The Calling of Saint Matthew (1599-1600) San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome.
The Martyrdom of Saint Matthew (1599-1600) San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome.
Conversion on the way to Damascus (1601) Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome.
Crucifixion of Saint Peter (1601) Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome.
Supper at Emmaus
(1601) National Gallery, London.
Death of the Virgin (1601-6) Louvre, Paris.
The Entombment of Christ (1601-3) Vatican Museums.
Amor Vincit Omnia (Victorious Cupid) (1602) Gemaldegalerie SMPK, Berlin.

Domenichino (1581-1641)
Versatile member of the Bolognese School and follower of Annibale Carracci.
The Last Communion of St Jerome (1614) Pinacoteca, Vatican Museums

Il Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri) (1591–1666)
Best known for his early altarpieces; influenced by Carracci and Caravaggio.
Susanna and the Elders (1617) Prado Museum, Madrid
The Return of the Prodigal Son (1619) Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Orazio Gentileschi (1563–1639)
Friend & follower of Caravaggio; worked in Rome, then in London for Charles I.
Annunciation (1622) Gallery Sabauda, Turin

Guido Reni (1575-1642)
Bolognese painter, draughtsman and etcher, noted for his religious art.
Aurora (1614) Casino dell' Aurora, Palazzo Rospiglioso-Pallavacini, Rome
Atlanta and Hippomenes (1625) Museo di Capodimonte, Naples

Giovanni Lanfranco (1582-1647)
Leading figure in the High Baroque, notably the Neapolitan School.
The Assumption of the Virgin (1625-7) Duomo of S. Andrea della Valle, Rome.

Pietro da Cortona (1596-1669)
Noted for trompe l'oeil ceiling frescoes; follower of Raphael and Bernini.
Allegory of Divine Providence and Barberini Power (1633-39) Palazzo Barberini

Artemisia Gentileschi (1597-1651)
Daughter of Orazio, one of the top Caravaggisti.
Judith Beheading Holofernes (1620) Uffizi, Florence

Castiglione (Giovanni Benedetto, "Il Grechetto") (1609-64)
Italian Baroque artist, invented monotype; noted for animal scenes, etchings.
Noah Leading the Animals into the Ark (1655) National Gallery, Washington DC.

Mattia Preti ("Il Cavaliere Calabrese") (1613-99)
Calabrian fresco painter, noted for his influence on the Neapolitan Baroque.
Frescoes in S. Andrea della Valle, Rome (1650-51)

Salvator Rosa (1615-1673)
Noted for flamboyant, dramatic landscape painting.
Self-Portrait (1641) National Gallery, London

Carlo Maratta (Maratti) (1625-1713)
Best known for his Catholic Counter-Reformation art and portraits.
Pope Clement IX (1669) Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg.

Luca Giordano (1634-1705)
Ballroom ceiling fresco (1682-85) Medici-Riccardi Palace, Florence

Andrea Pozzo (1642-1709)
Jesuit painter, architect and art theoretician, noted for his quadratura works.
Triumph and Apotheosis of St Ignatius (1694) fresco, San Ignazio, Rome

Francesco Solimena (1657-1747)
The greatest Neapolitan fresco painter of the late Baroque, early Rococo.
Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple (1725) fresco, Gesu Nuovo, Naples

See: Italian Baroque Artists.


Best Spanish Baroque Paintings

El Greco (1541-1614)
His intense religious paintings made a huge contribution to Baroque painting in Spain. See the Mannerist section in Greatest Renaissance Paintings.

Jusepe Ribera (1591-1652)
Naples-based caravaggist. See: Neapolitan Baroque Painting (c.1650-1700).
The Holy Trinity (1635) oil on canvas, Prado Museum, Madrid
Saint Paul the Hermit (1640) oil on canvas, Prado, Madrid

Francisco Zurbaran (1598-1664)
Pious master of chiaroscuro, known for his monastic religious paintings.
Still Life with Oranges and Lemons (1633) oil, Fondazione Contini-Bonacossi
Christ on the Cross (1627) oil on canvas, Art Institute of Chicago

Diego Velazquez (1599-1660)
Madrid Royal Court painter, outstanding portraitist.
- Waterseller of Seville (1618-22) Apsley House, London.
- Christ Crucified (1632) Prado, Madrid.
- Surrender of Breda (1634-5) Prado, Madrid.
- Rokeby Venus (1647-51) National Gallery, London.
- Portrait of Pope Innocent X (1650) Doria Pamphilj Gallery, Rome.
- Las Meninas (1656) Prado Museum, Madrid

Bartolome Esteban Murillo (1618-1682)
Popular painter of religious and genre-scenes.
Immaculate Conception of the Escorial (1678) Prado Museum, Madrid

See: Spanish Baroque Artists. See also: Spanish Painting.

Best French Baroque Paintings

Simon Vouet (1590-1649)
Master of drawing, noted for portraits, religious and allegorical works.
Presentation in the Temple (1641) Louvre, Paris

Georges de La Tour (1593–1652)
Lorraine-born painter, great colours and tenebrism, influenced by Caravaggio.
St Thomas (1625-30) Louvre, Paris
The Cheat with the Ace of Clubs (1632) Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth
The Payment of Taxes (1643) Lvov Art Gallery, Ukraine

Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665)
French artist, active in Rome; one of the greatest classical academic painters.
Et in Arcadia Ego (1637) Louvre, Paris
Abduction of the Sabine Women (1638) Metropolitan/Louvre
The Holy Family on the Steps (1648) National Gallery, Washington DC

Claude Lorrain (1600-82)
Classical Italianate landscape painter, inventor of Claudean style.
Landscape with Marriage of Isaac and Rebecca (1648) National Gallery, UK

Le Nain Brothers (Louis, Antoine, Mathieu)
Louis Le Nain (c.1593-1648)
Famous for realist peasant scenes in the manner of Velazquez.
Antoine Le Nain (c.1599–1648)
Best remembered for small-scale genre works.
Mathieu Le Nain (1607-1677)
Noted for polished paintings of cavaliers and other genre subjects.

Philippe de Champaigne (1602-74)
Flemish-born French artist, noted for religious paintings and portraits.
Triple Portrait of Cardinal Richlieu (1642) National Gallery, London

Charles Le Brun (1619-90)
French painter, Director of French Academy, Gobelins tapestry factory.
The Adoration of the Shepherds (1689) Louvre, Paris.
Christ on the Cross (1637) Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow.

Hyacinthe Rigaud (1659-1743)
French portrait artist to Louis XIV and Louis XV.
Portrait of Louis XIV in Coronation Robes (1701) Louvre, Paris

See: French Baroque Artists. See also: French Painting.

Best Flemish Baroque Paintings

Rubens (1577–1640)
Arguably the greatest Baroque history painter of the period.
Samson and Delilah (1609-10) oil on wood, National Gallery, London
Descent from the Cross (Rubens) (1611-14) Cathedal of Our Lady, Antwerp
Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus (1618) oil, Alte Pinacothek, Munich
Judgement of Paris (1632-6) National Gallery, London.

Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641)
Pupil of Rubens, famous for his portraiture.
Portrait of Cardinal Bentivoglio (1623) oil on canvas, Palazzo Pitti, Florence
King Charles I of England in Hunting Dress (1635) oil on canvas, Louvre, Paris

Jacob Jordaens (1593–1678)
Active in Antwerp, collaborated on paintings with Rubens.
The Four Evangelists (1625) Louvre, Paris

Jan Bruegel the Elder (1568–1625)
Son of Pieter Bruegel; known as 'velvet Bruegel' for his polished landscapes.
Landscape with Windmills (1607) Prado Museum, Madrid

Frans Snyders (1579–1657)
Still life painter; active in Antwerp, collaborated with Rubens.
The Butcher (1635) Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow

David Teniers the Younger (1610–1691)
Antwerp painter, pupil of Rubens and Elsheimer.
The Archduke Leopold's Gallery (1651) Petworth House, UK

See: Flemish Baroque. See also: Flemish Painters and Flemish Painting.

Best Dutch Baroque Paintings

Frans Hals (1582-1666)
First great portraitist of the 17th century Dutch Golden Age.
The Laughing Cavalier (1624) oil on canvas, Wallace Collection, London

Hendrik Terbrugghen (1588-1629)
Utrecht artist noted for his genre-paintings.
Flute Players (1621) Staatliche Kunstsammlung, Kassel.

Gerrit van Honthorst (1592-1656)
Caravaggist genre painter of Utrecht school.
Christ Before the High Priest (1617) National Gallery, London.

Rembrandt (1606-1669)
World's greatest ever portrait artist; master of etching and chiaroscuro.
Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp (1632) Mauritshuis, The Hague
The Night Watch (1642) Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Aristotle Contemplating the Bust of Homer (1653) Metropolitan Museum, NY
Bathsheba Holding King David's Letter (1654) Louvre, Paris
Portrait of Jan Six (1654) Private Collection, Amsterdam
The Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis (1661) Nationalmuseum, Stockholm
Syndics of the Cloth-Makers Guild (1662) Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Suicide of Lucretia (c.1666) Minneapolis Institute of Arts
The Jewish Bride (c.1665-8) Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Return of the Prodigal Son (1666-69) Hermitage, St Petersburg

Jan Davidsz de Heem (1606-83)
Still life master of the Utrecht/Antwerp School.
A Table of Desserts (1640) Louvre, Paris

Adriaen van Ostade (1610-85)
Painter of peasant scenes, from Haarlem.
The Smoker (1655) Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg.

Harmen van Steenwyck (1612-56)
Foremost exponent of vanitas still life painting.
An Allegory of the Vanities of Human Life (1640) National Gallery, London.

Emanuel de Witte (1616-92)
Dutch painter noted for his architectural paintings of church interiors.
Interior of the Oude Kerk Amsterdam (1669) Private Collection

Willem Kalf (1619-93)
One of the greatest Dutch still life artists.
Still Life with Chinese Porcelain Jar (1662) oil on canvas, Gemaldegalerie, SMPK, Berlin

Aelbert Cuyp (1620-91)
Dutch landscape painter from Dordrecht.
Dordrecht from the North (1650) oil on canvas, Rothschild Collection.
River Landscape with Horseman and Peasants (1658) National Gallery, London

Jan Steen (1626-79)
Leiden artist noted for his tavern genre paintings.
The Christening Feast (1664) Wallace Collection, London.

Samuel Van Hoogstraten (1627-78)
Genre painter, noted for interiors.
View down the Corridor (1662) Dyrham Park, UK

Gabriel Metsu (1629-67)
Leiden painter of small-scale genre scenes.
The Sick Child (1660) Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Pieter de Hooch (1629-84)
Dutch genre painter from Delft. A follower of Vermeer.
Courtyard of a House in Delft (1658) oil on canvas, National Gallery, London

Jan Vermeer (1632-1675)
The greatest Dutch Realist painter; leader of Delft school.
The Little Street (Street in Delft) (c.1657-58) Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Soldier and a Laughing Girl (c.1658) Frick Collection, New York
The Milkmaid (c.1658-1660) Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Woman Holding a Balance (1662-3) National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
Young Woman with a Water Jug/Pitcher (c.1662) Metropolitan Museum, NY
Woman with a Pearl Necklace (c.1663) Gemaldegalerie, SMPK, Berlin
Girl with a Pearl Earring (1665) Mauritshuis, The Hague
Girl with a Red Hat (c.1666-1667) National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
The Art of Painting: An Allegory (c.1666-73) K.M. Vienna
The Lacemaker (c.1669-1670) Louvre, Paris

Rachel Ruysch (1664-1750)
Leading Baroque flower painter.
Flowers, Fruit, and Insects (1716) Palazzo Pitti, Florence.

See: Dutch Baroque. See also: Dutch Realist School and Dutch Realist Artists.

Best German Baroque Paintings

Adam Elsheimer (1578-1610)
Influential German history painter and landscape artist.
Flight into Egypt (1609) oil on copper, Alte Pinakothek, Munich.

For more about painters in Germany and Austria during the 17th century, please see: German Baroque Artists.

The best Baroque paintings hang in the best art museums around the world.

• For the meaning of important oils, frescoes and tempera pictures, see: Famous Paintings Analyzed.
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