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Misshapen Pearl: The Baroque Era

December 15, 2006 - December 15, 2006

Curated by Patricia Kidd, Stephen Topfer & Tamara Schweeder

Initially used as a derogatory term by art critics the word baroque is the French translation of the Portuguese word borrocco, meaning misshapen pearl. It was not long, however, before Baroque became synonymous with the darkly shadowed, richly coloured and evocative works of the time following the Renaissance and leading up to the Rococo.

The Baroque period was a pivotal time for social, political, scientific and commercial change. Misshapen Pearl offers a unique glimpse into Baroque society by exploring some of the issues that influenced the time; the religious and political tension, scientific advancement and the emerging power of the merchant class.

Collectively, these forces created a hunger for goods, a quest for knowledge and a creative and economic challenge to what had gone before. Drawing on the Art Gallery’s permanent collection and private loans, the exhibition profiles the decorative and fine arts to illustrate the aesthetic of this vibrant and productive era. It will present a range of styles across Europe including Dutch, French, English and Italian and will include ornately carved chairs, inlaid furniture, exquisitely crafted textiles and gorgeous 17th century costumes exhibited alongside drawings, paintings and intaglio prints,including works by Rembrandt.

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