Arzigogolato: a fantastic word for the Baroque Art!

Arzigogolato: a fantastic word for the Baroque Art!

Paolo de Matteis, Triumph of the Immaculate, Oil, 1710-1715

I have always liked the word “arzigogolato”. First, I think its a fantastic word to pronounce. When you say “arzigogolato” you have to use all the muscles in your mouth as well as your tongue. I think the sounds roll around the mouth in a very pleasant way.

 The meaning of the word is also fantastic and always makes me think of Baroque Art. The word means tortuous, winding, elaborate, complicated byzantine, bizarre! It remains uncertain the origin of the word “baroque”, which probably derives from the same end of the scholastic logic, Baroque, which had become synonymous with pedantic reasoning, bizarre, convoluted. Since Baroque works of art are generally characterized by a theatrical exuberance that draws the observer in and involves him  in an emotionally charged visual experience.

For example, look at the impressive ceiling frescoes of Andrea Pozzo in Sant’ignazio Church in Rome. The church was dedicated to the founder of the Jesuit order, Saint Ignatius important players in the Counter-Reformation movement. Pozzo created the illusion that Heaven is opening up above the viewer in the nave of the church, who, at the time of this painting, would have been a worshipper. To accomplish this huge feat, Pozzo took advantage of the church’s architecture, painting an extension of it in the ceiling. As Heaven and Earth blend, Christ receives Saint Ignatius. Figures from the four corners of the world, scattered throughout the painting, watch this event. In the nave of the church, a disk marks the spot where the viewer should stand in order to experience the entire illusion.

Receive More Stories Like This In Your Inbox



A Venetian Carnevale: the Marega family and the mascareri tradition

There are two words that truly define the essence of Italian Carnevale : the first is maschera , or mask; the second is — of course — Venezia. While...

Italian inventions: the utilitarian table fork, once a “scandalous” innovation

In most western households, forks are a basic part of a table setting — unless you’re all eating is soup. The relationship Italians have with the...
Temple of Neptune. Paestum archaeological site in Italy— Photo by Dogstock

Cilento: Ancient, artisanal and authentic

Compared to the Amalfi Coast, its bustling neighbor in the province of Salerno, Cilento might seem like land that time forgot. Long stretches of its...

The heart and soul of Naples: history and poetry of the Quartieri Spagnoli

“Napule è mille culure, Napule è mille paure, Napule è a voce d’ ‘e creature che saglie chiano chianu e tu saje ca nun si sulo:” Naples is a thousand...
The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci (Milan 1495-1496) is one of the world's most famous paintings

A Visit to Leonardo’s Last Supper

T he Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci is undoubtedly one of the most iconic, most famous works of art of all times. As such, it has always attracted...

Weekly in Italian

Recent Issues