Baroque is a period in the history of Western arts roughly coinciding with the 17th century. It's also a style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music. The style started around 1600 in Rome, Italy and spread to most of Europe. For example, some traits and aspects of Baroque paintings which can allow one to differenciate this style of art from other styles are the abundant amount of details, the often bright polychromy, the less realist faces of subjects, and an overall sense of awe, which is one of the artist's overall goals in the painting.

Laughing Cavalier - 1624 Henrietta Maria - 1632-1635 Painting by Peter Paul Rubens - 1609-1610 Anne of Austria - 1621-1625
Painting by Peter Paul Rubens - 1625 Henrietta Maria - 1633 Painting by Frans Hals - 1643 Charles I - 1635

Fashion in the period 1600-1650 in Western European clothing is characterized by the disappearance of the ruff in favor of broad lace or linen collars. Waistlines rose through the period for both men and women. The silhouette, which was essentially close to the body with tight sleeves and a low, pointed waist to around 1615, gradually softened and broadened. Sleeves became very full, and in the 1620s and 1630s were often paned or slashed to show the voluminous sleeves of the shirt or chemise beneath. Other notable fashions included tall or broad hats with brims and for men, hose disappeared in favor of breeches.

Margareta Maria de Roodere - 1652 Painting by Gabriel Metsu - 1663 Comtess Mailly - 1698 Painting by Bartholomeus van der Helst - 1661
Painting by Caspar Netscher - 1662 Portrait of Susanna Huygens by Caspar Netscher - 1667-69 Elegant Couple - 1678 Painting - 1690s

Fashion in the period 1650-1700 in Western European clothing is characterised by rapid change. Following the end of the Thirty Years' War and the Restoration of England's Charles II, military influences in men's clothing were replaced by a brief period of decorative exuberance which then sobered into the coat, waistcoat and breeches costume that would reign for the next century and a half. In the normal cycle of fashion, the broad, high-waisted silhouette of the previous period was replaced by a long, lean line with a low waist for both men and women. This period also marked the rise of the periwig as an essential item of men's fashion.


For women, the wide, high-waisted look of the previous period was gradually superseded by a long vertical line, with horizontal emphasis at the shoulder. Full, loose sleeves ended just below the elbow at mid century and became longer and tighter in keeping with the new trend. The body was tightly corseted, with a low, broad neckline and dropped shoulder. In later decades, the overskirt was drawn back and pinned up to display the petticoat, which was heavily decorated.