Baroque architecture was the most popular architectural style during the late 16th century, especially in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Hungary and France. This architecture was often used to demonstrate the triumph of the Catholic Church during the Baroque era and was directly associated with the Counter-Reformation, a Catholic Church movement formed to defy the Protestant Reformation. Baroque architecture exposed the wealth and power of Catholicism especially during the rise of the European colonialism where huge amounts of treasure were brought into Europe to facilitate the construction of massive palaces and monasteries. Here is a list of 25 amazing examples of baroque architecture.
Wenzel Render. Holy Trinity Column. Olomouc, Czech Republic. 1716-1754
Designed by Wenzel Render, the Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc is among the most exceptional examples of the apogee of central European Baroque artistic expression. Its columns are made of unique materials and demonstrate the religious faith of the people of central Europe during the Baroque period.
Jan Santini Aichel. Pilgrimage Church of Saint John of Nepomuk. Czech Republic. 1719-1722
Standing at Zelena Hora, the Pilgrimage Church of Saint John of Nepomuk is based on the aesthetic concept of a perfect central complex characterized by its loftiness and upward orientation.
Jan Santini Aichel, Frantisek Maxmilian Kanka. Karlova Koruna Chateau. Chlumec nad Cidlinou, Czech Republic. 1721-1723
Karlova Koruna Chateau is one of the foremost baroque castles in Czech Republic. It has a cylindrical body occupied by a three-storied main hall to which three wings are linked. Its interiors reveal the history of the Kinsky lineage as well as the history of Kinsky horse breeding.
Francesco Borromini. San Carlo Alle Quattro Fontane. Rome, Italy. 1665-1676
Also known as, The Church of Saint Charles at the Four Fountains, the San Carlo Alle Quattro Fontane is a Roman Catholic Church that served as the first independent commission of Francesco Borromini. It is considered as an iconic masterpiece of Baroque architecture because of its extraordinarily complex design.
Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola, Giacomo della Porta. Church of Gesu. Rome, Italy. 1568-1580
Also known as “The Church of the Most Holy name of Jesus,” The Church of Gesu was the first church ever built by Jesuits. Designed to impress and expose its affluence, its interior is filled with magnificent stuccos, marbles, sculptures and frescoes. Its façade has mostly baroque elements mixed with some Renaissance influences.
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Giovanni Maria Bernardoni, Giovanni Trevano. Saints Peter and Paul Church. Krakow, Poland. 1597-1619
A baroque Jesuit church most popular for the statues of the 12 disciples lining its front fence, Saints Peter and Paul Church of Krakow was the first baroque church in Krakow and remains as one of the most faithful examples of transplanting the baroque architecture of Rome to foreign soil. It is characterized by its fine baroque ornate white façade and great dome.
Carlo Maderno. Santa Susanna. Rome, Italy. 1585-1603
Santa Susanna is an American church in Rome that serves as a monument to art history. Considered as a center for American pilgrims coming to Rome, this church was completed in 1603 and reveals a façade designed by Carlo Moderno. Its foundations are ancient and totally baroque, creating a grand sense of height and depth.
Giovanni de Galliano Pieroni, Andrea Spezza, Niccolo Sebregondi. Wallenstein Palace. Prague, Czech Republic. 1623-1630
The Wallenstein Palace is the first monumental building in style of the ancient baroque in Prague. It was built for Albrecht Vaclat Eusebius of Wallenstein, one of the most powerful and richest Czech noblemen during the post-White mountain period in Czech Republic.
Jean Baptiste Mathey, Giovanni Domenico Orsi. Troja Palace. Prague, Czech Republic. 1679-1685
The Troja Palace is a former chateau that has turned into a gallery of gardens. It is known as the first baroque summer palace in Prague, built by Burgundian architect Mathey. Its garden and chateau are linked by a stairway exhibiting statues of antic gods and goddesses. Its interior is decorated with wall paintings and has a rich ceiling.
Tylmn Gamerski. Branicki Palace. Bialystok, Poland. 1691-1697
Known as the best-preserved aristocratic residence from the Saxon times, the Branicki Palace is a historic building of late baroque architecture in Poland. It is widely considered as one of the most appealing historic buildings in Bialystok as its design refers to the baroque palaces of French kings.
Joao Frederico Ludovice. Mafra Palace. Mafra, Portugal. 1717-1730
The Mafra Palace is considered as one of the most important Portuguese Baroque monuments in Portugal from the 18th century. It involves a basilica and a beautiful convent, as well as an exhibit of exquisite Italian sculptures along its entrance. It has a total of 58 marble statues created by Roman sculptors.
Bartolomeo Rastrelli. Peterhof Palace. St. Petersburg, Russia. 1721-1755
The Peterhof Palace is a masterpiece of baroque architectural style. It serves as the centerpiece of the Russian Versaille of Peter the Great. Long and narrow, its baroque style made way for neoclassicism, characterized by its minimal decoration. It is mostly white and beige and is majestic though not overwhelming.
Nicola Salvi. Trevi Fountain. Rome, Italy. 1732-1762
Located in Rome, Italy, Trevi Fountain is the largest Italian Baroque fountain in the city and is dubbed as the most beautiful in the world. Its design is based on three architectural elements—a façade, sea reef made of travertine, and statues made of carrara marble.
Teodoro Ardemans and Filippo Juvarra. Palace of La Granja. Segovia, Spain. 1720-1740
The Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso used to be the summer residence of the kings of Spain. This 18th century palace is in a restrained baroque style and is surrounded by magnificent and vast gardens in the French manner and sculptural fountains. This palace now stands as a public museum in Spain.
Sir John Vanbrugh. Blenheim Palace. Woodstock, England. 1705-1722
Completed in 1722, the Blanheim Palace is a masterpiece of Baroque architecture. It is popular for the imposing vastness of its Great Hall and the complexity of its State Rooms. Its interiors demonstrate a beautiful balance of portrait collections, as well as tapestries and ancient furniture.
Matteo Alberti. Schloss Bensberg. Bergisch Gladbach, Germany. 1703-1711
Schloss Bensberg is a historical building in Bensberg, Germany and is part of Bergisch-Gladback. It currently accommodates a 5-star hotel from the Althoff Hotels Group. This palace was originally commissioned by Johann Wilhelm for his wife Anna Maria Luisa de Medici, who basked in the elevated scenery of the site and was designed by Italian Baroque architect Matteo Alberti.
Jakob Prandtauer. Stift Melk. Melk, Austria. 1702-1736
Characterized by a symmetric symbiosis of an abbey building and exterior grounds, Stift Melk is a significant part of the baroque monastic ensemble. Its park was designed as a baroque park following the completion of the abbey building in 1736. This garden pavilion served as a sanctuary for the monks during the baroque era.
Filippo Juvarra, Juan Bautista Sacchetti and Ventura Rodriguez. Royal Palace of Madrid. Madrid, Spain. 1738-1755
More commonly known as the Palacio Real De Madrid, the Royal Palace of Madrid is the official residence of the Royal Family of Spain. It is the largest palace in Europe in terms of floor area and is most notable for its wealth of art. Its interior is made of several fine materials and is filled with paintings by the most preeminent painters in Europe.
Guarino Guarini. San Lorenzo (Turin). Turin, Italy. 1666-1679
The Church of San Lorenzo Turin was originally built for the Theatine Order, of which Guarino Guarini was a member. Its baroque architecture is remarkable for its curved bays and central dome space and is referred to by John Julius Norwich as “a masterpiece of ingenious construction.”
Jules Hardouin Mansart. Les Invalides. Paris, France. 1679-1708
Les Invalides sits in the 7th arrondissement of Paris and is remarkable for its museums and monuments that reveal the military history of France. The most popular part of this structure is the Dome des Invalides, a gold-domed building that now serves as a burial site for the war heroes of France.
George Bahr. Frauenkirche. Dresden, Germany. 1726-1738
Known as the symbol of the city of Dresden, Germany and the protestant church construction, the Franuenkirche Church is a remarkable example of sacred baroque architecture because of the overall appearance of its exterior and its interior arrangement characterized by a centralized pulpit, altar, organ and baptismal font.
Johann Fischer von Erlach. Karlskirche. Vienna, Austria. 1715-1737
Designed to glorify the Habsburg Empire, Karlkirche is one of the greatest and most interesting buildings in Vienna, Austria. Its creative design combines architectural elements from ancient Greece, ancient Rome and contemporary Viennese Baroque. Its baroque façade reveals great columns depicting scenes from the life of St. Charles Borromeo.
Balthasar Neumann. Wurzburg Residence. Wurzburg, Germany. 1720-1740
The Wurzburg Residence is one of the foremost Baroque ensembles of Europe. It is characterized by the unity of its style, magnificent sequence of rooms and unsupported vaulted ceiling features. Built by Balthasar Neumann, this is considered as one of the finest south German baroque palaces.
Christopher Wren. St. Paul’s Cathedral. London, England. 1675-1710
St. Paul’s Cathedral in London is recognized for its 111-meter dome. It has a baroque interior design that is just as imposing as its exterior, highlighted by mosaics and tombs of notable people in history. Its large façade consists of a large pediment and portico flanked by two towers.
Michelangelo, Giacomo Della Porta, Carlo Maderno. St. Peter’s Basilica. Vatican City. 1506-1615
A Late Renaissance church in Vatican City, St. Peter’s Basilica is known today as one of the largest and holiest churches in the world. It was used as the burial site of Saint Peter and underwent reconstruction in 1506 to replace the Old St. Peter’s Basilica of the 4th century.