Baroque, which may be either a noun or an adjective, is pronounced in traditional British RP as 'bur-ROCK', IPA: /bə 'rɒk/ - the second syllable chimes with 'rock'. There is also a minority (in the UK) realization which follows the American, which rhymes the second syllable with 'croak' and 'spoke' - 'bur-ROAK', /bə 'rəʊk/.
- Baroque is essentially a term of criticism in the history of fine art. It arose around the division between the 16th and 17th centuries, and, under the influence of the Counter-Reformation, developed an emotional style characterized by sweeping rhythmic motifs, exaggerated lighting effects ('chiaroscuro') and heightened poses in religious painting. Early proponents of the style were Caravaggio (1571-1610) and Carracci (1560-1609); a later master was the sculptor and painter Bernini (1598-1680). The baroque style grew out of Mannerism, and was followed by the rococo - it can be hard for non-specialists to draw a line between these, or distinguish between them.
- In fine art, the style moved beyond the religious, ultimately becoming a matter of decoration, which led to the rococo, with which it is easily confused. The word baroque was also extended to arts beyond the pictorial, such as literature and music; and at times became a term of abuse, meaning 'over-ornate', 'florid', 'fantastical' or 'whimsical'
- Etymological note: baroque is related to 'verruca'. or wart: it was originally a term used in jewellery to mean 'a rough, or mis-shapen, pearl', and came to mean 'oddly shaped' or 'whimsical', 'grotesque'. It was applied as an insulting way to refer to the (then) new style of art.