The Baroque is a term used loosely to describe the arts in Italy in the seventeenth century. In painting, it is characterised by dramatic subjects, compositions and lighting, intended to provoke an emotional response.
The reinvigoration of art in Rome was due primarily to two influential artists, Annibale Carracci and Caravaggio. Both based their practice on study from life. Annibale admired the artists of the Renaissance, particularly Raphael, Correggio and Titian, while Caravaggio broke from the past with his starkly lit realism.
Most of the Baroque paintings in this exhibition were acquired by Charles I (reigned 1625-49), some by artists he persuaded to work in England, such as Orazio Gentileschi and his daughter, Artemisia, who may have presented her Self-portrait to the King.