Word of the Week: Baroque

Baroque (adj.), it comes to English and French through the Spanish (barrueco), but no one knows where it originated. Likewise, I have no idea why this word is on my mind. Dates back to the late 1700s and is still used today.

The Spanish word refers to an imperfect or misshapen pearl. And likewise the word itself refers to the irregular, the asymmetrical, the grotesque, and the odd. It’s often used pejoratively. The term usually gets applies to 17th and 18th century arts to describe the emergence of noise and exaggeration that had been lacking in previous periods.

But despite the pejorative sense, there are things of great beauty in the Baroque. Technical perfection leaves us cold. Perfect symmetry verges into the uncanny. A little emotion, a little excess, and a little imperfection can do us a lot of good.

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