The Baroque is a style of architecture, music, dance, painting, sculpture and other arts that flourished in Europe from the early 17th century until the 1740s. In the territories of the Spanish and Portuguese empires including the Iberian Peninsula it continued, together with new styles, until the first decade of the 1800s. It followed Renaissance art and Mannerism and preceded the Rococo (in the past often referred to as "late Baroque") and Neoclassical styles. It was encouraged by the Catholic Church as a means to counter the simplicity and austerity of Protestant architecture, art and music, though Lutheran Baroque art developed in parts of Europe as well.
The Baroque style used contrast, movement, exuberant detail, deep colour, grandeur and surprise to achieve a sense of awe. The style began at the start of the 17th century in Rome, then spread rapidly to France, northern Italy, Spain and Portugal, then to Austria, southern Germany and Russia. By the 1730s, it had evolved into an even more flamboyant style, called rocaille or Rococo, which appeared in France and Central Europe until the mid to late 18th century.