- Modern term, used most frequently in art history, to describe a post-Renaissance style that continued many of the elements of High Renaissance style while developing and exaggerating other characteristics. Some art historians also insert a transitional phase, which they call mannerism. Both of these terms were originally applied in a pejorative sense: "mannerism" or "mannered style" implies "artificial," while the word "baroque" originally meant "contorted" or "grotesque." In a rough sense, mannerism is used to categorize the work of some Italian artists of the middle and late 16th century, while baroque is conventionally applied to the art of the 17th century. But these delimitations are vague, and the terms themselves are debated.Even more debatable is the effort of historians of other subjects to extend the terms mannerism and baroque to fields other than art, though in the history of music the term baroque has become well established. Particularly in the case of baroque art, there are sharp regional differences. Some art historians identify three different lines of development, a "Counter-Reformation" style found in Spanish, Italian, south German, and Flemish painting from the late 16th through the 17th century; a "Protestant Baroque" style, exemplified chiefly in the 17th-century art of the Dutch Republic; and a "Courtly Baroque" style in the art of France and England. The term baroque is standard in discussions of art and music of the 17th century.
Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. Charles G. Nauert. 2004.