The baroque Artist's began depicting the 'Psychological' shift from superstition and totalitarian thuggery to the Secularization and Psychic VOID of man's attachment to a world that gave birth to..but has no further attachment for it's children. Where in fact the whole conception of parent-child relationships are completely of man's preconception. Thus also the need for a God comes from the child-father attachment; the youth's psychic need to hold onto the comfort of the parent(s) that took care of and taught the baby.
Here an alienation scenario caused by the detachment of the child from this protective parent relationship instills a VOID for which the creation of a God has become the Psychic answer for. Thus , also, the continuance of this scenario extends with a continuing narration connecting the child to the parents. The son following in the foot steps of the father assures this pathos. But then there has been another story line of the fatherless and even parent less child who set up against the 'cosmic' reality around us, has manifested the mystic and religious; the philosopher, the Artist... what I call "THE STARCHILD" (copyrighted) scenario. This mystic relationship with the world develops internal mechanisms of the seeker, diviner, a character which is more in contact with this mental gymnastic than the person who is instructed in a following of preset rules and duties to a constructed society with its conforming outline.
In the period of the baroque (late 1590s thru to 1720s) the differences between our entity of "man" and the "environment" we inhabit with all it's fertility we know as Nature, became more apparent as the superconsciousness of 'man' shifted from the previous Ego-pocentric Renaissance where everything existed to define 'man' :: to the baroque consciousness of Self-Doubt (Descartes-HUME-Spinoza) or skepticism about what we know about anything. This also coincided with significant new understandings of an early Scientific type made by men like Copernicus and Galileo. Primarily that this earth is not the center of the universe or even our own solar system. That we exist in a universe with no actual center. From this new mind expanding knowledge a Psychoanalysis of the Human Race had begun. The world of ignorance and superstition fell to the newer world of discovery and "scientific" analysis.
The baroque Age became this Age of scrutiny and analysis. Previously in the Age of the Renaissance the physical world was grounded by selfism, geometry, and the visual shift from the Roman pagan gods toward Monotheism and Christian pathos. As the walls of certainty fell and a greater 'cosmic' consciousness became the involvement of Intellectuals; Artist became excited by this freedom to exercise and explore their Imaginations. With serious and erudite accomplishment Artists began the wonderous journey of seeing what could be seen. Slowly critical analysis will develop yet the grip of Church and State totalitarian rule continued to punish and put to death these voices up to the American Revolutionary Period.
The Spanish writer Pacheco wrote in 1649, " Considering the aim of the painter as a Christian...the MODERN PAINTER's principal goal will be to achieve a state of Grace through the study and practice of the profession :: because the Christian; born to achieve high things, is not content to restrict his activities to lower things, attending only to human rewards and earthly comfort..." . The ART of the baroque was pictorial ART, but in it's higher forms it's objectives wholly transcended delineation. As MODERN ART has detached itself from the obligations of literalism, the whole achievement of the baroque has been revalued as well as the achievement of individual artists.
The baroque is also the Great Age of the COMMON FOLK. The seventeenth century Artists generally were bound by the demands of pseudo-authorities : kings, nobles, ecclesiastical princes and various rich bourgeois. From Caravaggio to Hogarth would develop movements concerned with the homely and simple, the ugly and the brutal...then with painful martyrdoms and subjects like the Rape of Lucretia, Susanna and the Elders, or St. Sabastian all becoming popular subjects. Throughout Europe the great painters were turning from Mythology, court life, and rich patrons to portray peasants, workers, tavern lounges, vagabonds, and gamins of the street :: or the COMMON FOLK.