Art: New World Baroque

The craftsmen of the baroque preferred a curve to a straight line and a contorted curve to a plain one. When the Spaniards brought baroque to the New World, it blossomed in fresh and wonderful variations. Pal Kelemen, Hungarian-born art historian, has spent nearly three years tracing baroque's high-spirited course through Latin America. In a handsome new book with a sky-high price, Baroque and Rococo in Latin America (Macmillan; $16.50), he gives a rich account in words and pictures of what he saw.

Over & over, Kelemen found "a style more baroque in its daring than the baroque of Europe." The New...

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