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



Italian men’s suits – why are they so special?

A debate on whether a man in a suit generates appeal might last a minute or two. The same debate on a man in an Italian suit would be over before I...

A Renaissance tradition becomes popular again: Florence and its buchette del vino

Florence’s streets are filled with secrets and curiosities: some of them are known to those into history and local legends, others are so obscure...

Italy’s lighthouses – new lights for old treasures

There seems to be a shared fascination with lighthouses the world over. These austere pillars of hope and guidance, most often planted on precarious...

The neglected gem of Italy’s heel: Bari

Puglia needs no special introduction. Its sea, the baroque grandeur of Lecce, its olive oil and fresh cheeses: all in the region of Italy’s “heel”...

Which side are you on? The many rivalries of Italy

The very fact you’re reading this article right now means you are or feel connected in some way to Italy and that you, very likely, love this amazing...

Weekly in Italian

Recent Issues