The word "Baroque" comes certainly from the Portuguese word "barucco", which means "irregular pearl". This style appeared by the end of the 16th century, after Mannerism, and it was founded by the Italian artist Caravaggio. He developed a realistic and dark style that was completely innovative at that time. During the same period, Carraci was also active in Rome and his work had a big influence on the early ages of baroque. Art critics were the ones to name this style "Baroque", years later after its first appearance. This style is characterized by exaggerated movement, overcharged decoration, dramatic effects and exuberance.
Baroque expanded to other European countries through the Roman Catholic Church in order to promote religious themes. Believers were marked by the emotion and energy transmitted by this type of artworks.
Besides the previously mentioned artists, Fleming artists were the ones that marked Baroque painting: Rubens, Rembrandt, Vermeer. Some French and Spanish painters were also very important for the diffusion of this art style (Lorrain, Velasquez).
In 1730, Baroque style was replaced by Rococo style. The transition is not very obvious since Rococo style is described as a "late Baroque".