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date: 26 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In the minds of many, the word “baroque” calls to mind one thing: ornamentation, and particularly, to modern viewers, what seems like a generous employment of ornamentation in the Baroque era’s art, architecture, and music. Exactly why seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe embraced decoration so eagerly has been difficult to explain. This is particularly true in the modern era, when prevailing aesthetic discourses worked to villainize ornament as unnecessary, wasteful, or degenerate. This chapter examines the role of ornament in baroque art, architecture, and music in order to understand the function it played in each. To achieve this, the chapter concentrates on two areas: ornamented interiors, particularly ecclesiastical ones, and the ornamented musical lines of vocal compositions. Baroque ornament emerges a site of communication and psychic expansion.

Keywords: baroque, ornament, decoration, art, architecture, vocal music

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