Baroque is a particular cultural and artistic period that began in Rome in the early 17th century before spreading across Europe, in various forms, in the second half of the century. The negative connotation attributed to Baroque by 18th-century critics, who also coined the term, was aimed at artists who in their architecture and painting had moved away from the principles of harmony, beauty and functionality found in Renaissance culture.
The Enlightenment theorists and rationalists saw in the artistic experimentalism of the new aesthetic style bizarre, eccentric and fantastic elements in stark contrast with the harmony derived from the rigorous application of geometric and proportional principles used in the Renaissance. The 19th century brought a new appreciation for Baroque art and the end of its negative connotations. A more positive and diluted interpretation of the strong communicative position of Baroque spread from the end of the 19th century, a period that recognised the importance in art of a new perception of space, with its symbolic and scenographic force that was widely accepted by both aristocratic and less affluent classes.