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Excerpted from The Beader’s Color Palette (Watson Guptill, June 2008)


Artists’ Historical Palettes:
The Baroque Period
by Margie Deeb




Following the age of discovery that marked the Renaissance, the Baroque age of expansion encompasses 17th and early 18th century European art. As its art spread outward from Rome, each country added its influence to come up with a Baroque style of its own. The various styles became complex and contradictory, but underlying them all we find drama, vitality, movement, tension, and emotional exuberance. In general, the goal of Baroque art was to evoke emotion by appealing to the senses in dramatic ways. Much of the Italian Baroque tended toward overwhelmingly grandiose displays, like Bernini’s opulent and extravagant chapel and adornments of St. Peter’s Basilica.

“Spirit Dancer” Frieda Bates’ gold and dichroic glass necklace takes its sensual richness from Baroque interiors. Photo by Margie Deeb.



Baroque painters were fascinated with light, be it in sharp and sudden bursts, or slightly shifting modulations. The intense drama of Caravaggio’s paintings come from his sharply defined light with deep obscuring shadows. Rembrandt’s work relies on dramatic golden light to portray spiritual stillness.

Vermeer, a poet of light and color, rendered color amazingly true to life, filling dark shadows with color, and modifying reflective color.

The Palace of Versailles, France


Suggested Palettes Inspired by Baroque Art.


Baroque Granduer. A sensuous palette of ivory, gold, and marble grayed-pinks mirror the grandeur of the Baroque. The architectural elements of Herrenchiemsee palace hall (below) share warmer versions of these colors, and its palette of ceiling murals includes myriad pastel and muted tones.Delicas: DB-203, DB-253, DB-728, DB-210, DB-031



Baroque4bwBaldacchino. Bernini, one of the most imaginative and brilliant artists of the Baroque, is considered its most characteristic and sustaining spirit. This combination of metallics and black is inspired by Bernini’s baldacchino for St.Peter’s Basilica, constructed of extravagantly detailed gilt bronze.Delicas: DB-310, DB-011, DB-022, DB-254, DB-031



Baroque4cwCaravaggio’s Drama. The most influential painter of the Baroque, Caravaggio took the depiction of light and shadow to new levels with his revolutionary technique of tenebrism: dramatic illumination of selected forms from out of dark shadow. This high contrast palette of limited hue honors his contribution to art.Delicas: DB-734, DB-011, DB-280, DB-654, DB-1302, DB-353


About The Author

MargieDeeb_portrait_3Artist, designer, musician, and color expert Margie Deeb is the author of several beading books, including the popular The Beader’s Guide to Color and The Beader’s Color Palette.

She teaches color courses for artists, interior designers, and beaders and her free monthly color column, “Margie’s Muse,” is available on her website. She produces a free graphically enhanced podcast, “Margie Deeb’s Color Celebration,” available on iTunes.

Her articles have appeared in Bead & Button and Beadwork magazines and BeadBugle.Com, and she writes a regular color column in Step-by-Step Beads. She has appeared on the PBS show “Beads, Baubles, and Jewels” speaking about color. Visit Margie’s website for her books, patterns, jewelry, inspiration, and more:



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