A Baroque Morning

Fall                                 Waning Back to School Moon

Down to Ada’s Deli this am for fried matzo and egg with onions and lox.  My mystery guest (Kate’s retirement gift) told me her kids loved fried matzo with syrup.  Hmm…not with lox and onions for this gentile.

We had a spirited hour long discussion.  Very high energy, Deb is.  Her fiance deals in the secondary metals market, aluminum.  She’s in favor of retirement, wants to travel with her new love.  She used to live in Hyde Park and brightened when I said we could have met at Jimmie’s.  Gonna be good, I know for sure.

When we finished, I walked out on Wabash to Washington.  Orthodox Jewish men here with black satchels.  Jeweler’s Row.  Up Washington to Michigan Avenue, south a block of Michigan and over to the Art Institute.  Great weather and I considered just heading into Grant Park, but the Institute was right there.

Wandered in the European Art before 1900, finding many Baroque paintings, some wonderful Renaissance works, too.  Overall, our collection compares well, not in quantity but in quality.  Baroque is a propaganda art form like Socialist Realism; the Roman Catholic church wanted to counter the rising tide of the Protestant Reformation.  One branch of that counter reformation effort emphasized images that spoke of particularly Catholic themes, at least as the Catholic church saw it:  forgiveness, assumption of Mary, saints, crucifixion scenes.

They were lucky that some of the very best painters in the Western tradition came to the task with energy and invention.  Many well known names were Baroque painters:  Vermeer, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Poussin, Rubens and Vermeer.

The Baroque painters select the climactic moment to depict. They use rich, deep colors, often lots of shadow. wanting to arouse emotion, a commitment of faith in the religious insistence.

Religious painting does not exhaust Baroque themes, however.  Our own Lucretia by Rembrandt is a Baroque work that features a historical them from Roman history.

These are wonderful paintings, romantic in a sense, calling the viewer to participate, to feel, to decide.  Glad I had the chance to see more examples here in Chicago.

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