By Own work by Louis le Grand on 2006-08, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2347954
The Baroque (US: /bəˈroʊk/ or UK: /bəˈrɒk/) is a highly ornate and often extravagant style of architecture, art and music that flourished in Europe from the early 17th until the late 18th century. It followed the Renaissance style and preceded the Neoclassical style. It was encouraged by the Catholic Church as a means to counter the simplicity and austerity of Protestant architecture, art and music. The baroque style used contrast, movement, exuberant detail, grandeur and surprise to achieve a sense of awe. The style began in the first third of the 17th century in Rome, then spread rapidly to France, northern Italy, Spain and Portugal, then to Austria and southern Germany. By the 1730s, it had evolved into an even more flamboyant variant, called rocaille or Rococo, which appeared in France and central Europe until the late 18th century.