Baroque: The term Baroque was originally used in the history of art, and later also in cultural history, to denote a European style of the 17th and 18th centuries characterised by a strong element of display and pomp. In the fine arts, the period is initially marked by a predominance of architecture, which subsequently tended to merge with painting and sculpture to form a gesamtkunstwerk ("total work of art") frequently with considerable theatrical effect. In Austria, the period after the Counter-Reformation saw a first flowering of court culture in all the disciplines of art under the highly musical and artistically-minded emperors Leopold I, Joseph I and Karl VI. Austrian Baroque architecture in the 17th century predominantly manifested itself in religious buildings and was greatly influenced by artists of Italian origin. The principal creations of that period were the cathedral of Salzburg by S. Solari, the Mausoleum of Ferdinand II in Graz by P. de Pomis, various buildings by F. Lucchese (façade of the church Am Hof and the Leopoldinischer Trakt wing of the Hofburg in Vienna), as well as by C. A. Carlone (St. Florian) and V. D. Martinelli (Liechtenstein Garden Palace). A special place was occupied by Baroque church builders belonging to the School of Vorarlberg with the Beer, Kuen, Thumb and Moosbrugger families of master-builders, who worked in the Austrian Forelands, Switzerland and Southern Germany well into the 18th century. As well as itinerant artists from abroad a number of Austrian artists were entrusted with decorating and furnishing all these buildings, but they did not yet rise to the height of the achievements of their Italian and Dutch models. The development of the arts in Austria and in particular in Vienna, the Imperial residence, was characterised by the wave of building activity that set in after the end of the Second Siege of Vienna by the Turks in 1683, when centuries-old hostilities came to an end and large tracts of land were gained for the Austrian empire. In the decades that followed, J. B. Fischer von Erlach and L. von Hildebrandt became the chief architects of the High Baroque. Before the backdrop of political rivalry with France and its roi soleil, Louis XIV, the countries competed with one another for excellence in the arts, and Austria produced such achievements as Fischer von Erlach's plans for Schoenbrunn Palace and Hildebrandt's buildings for Prince Eugène of Savoy. These architects and their assistants and disciples set the tone for architectural work up to the mid-18th century, not only in respect of edifices erected for nobility, but also for the church, the towns and the bourgeoisie. J. Prandtauer stands out as the architect of major monasteries in Austria (Melk and others), to be followed by J. Munggenast and J. M. Prunner. The second half of the century was frequently marked by a Classicist undertone and given to structural modifications of older buildings which typically resulted in architectural activity all but coming to a standstill. The era of Maria Theresia is generally seen as the period of Late Baroque and the transition to Rococo and Classicism and Historicism (N. Jadot and N. Pacassi).
The most prominent characteristic of Baroque painting is to be seen in wall and ceiling decoration. Starting with Andrea Pozzo, a typically Austrian tradition of fresco painting developed in all parts of Austria, from such artists as J. M. Rottmayr and D. Gran to B. Altomonte and numerous followers. They found a rich field of activity in religious buildings, where they propagated and glorified the aims of the Counter-Reformation, and in the construction of palaces for nobility, where they paid tribute to the world of the rulers in allegorical and mythological paintings. F. A. Maulbertsch, the leading painter of the second half of the 18th century, continued this tradition, while the true-to-nature style of landscape painting of J. C. Brand already heralded the art of the 19th century. 18th century Baroque sculpture in Austria reached its zenith in the works of G. R. Donner. Other sculptors adhered either to the tradition of the court (M. Zuern the Younger) or pursued a more alpine-rustic direction (T. Schwanthaler). Typically, the spirit of the Baroque permeated all forms of art and all of the Austrian territories, from Imperial palaces to rustic architecture, from festive decorations of the High Baroque to rural decorative arts. In this sense the Baroque has had a more decisive and lasting effect on Austria's artistic and cultural landscape than any other style.
Literature#O. Redlich, Kunst und Kultur des Barock in Oesterreich, Archiv fuer oesterreichische Geschichte 115, 1943; K. Garzarolli-Thurnlack, Oesterreichische Barock-Malerei, 1949; B. Grimschitz, R. Feuchtmueller and W. Mrazek, Barock in Oesterreich, 1965; Das barocke Wien, exhibition catalogue, Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien 1966; E. Neubauer, Lustgaerten des Barock, 1966; Groteskes Barock, exhibition catalogue, Altenburg 1975; F. Endler, Wien im Barock, 1979; G. Brucher, Barock-Architektur in Oesterreich, 1983; K. Gutkas (ed.), Prinz Eugen und das barocke Oesterreich 1985 (with bibliography by H. Leitgeb); Welt des Barock, exhibition catalogue, St. Florian 1986; G. Brucher (ed.), Die Kunst des Barock in Oesterreich, 1994.