Art is an intrinsic part of the culture of a place and as well as helping to define the way that a place looks it also tells a part of the history of that place. The Alpine style, particularly in the Savoyard area, is very distinctive and immediately recognisable and permeates the culture of the area.
The French word Baroque comes from the Portugese word ìbarrocoî or the Spanish word ìbarruecoî, which translates as a ìrough or imperfect pearlî. With regards to the art movement which took its name, Baroque means an elaborate style The style originated in Italy around the year 160 before spreading throughout the rest of Europe. The Catholic church was a great supporter of the style, as it contrasted with the plainer style of the reformation churches. The Catholic church had decided, at the Council Of Trent, that art should represent religious themes. The dramatic and opulent art was also a way to impress visitors. The name was not used at the time, but only applied to the movement by later scholars who studied the movement.
The Savoyard Baroque style developed in the Duchy of Savoie from 1600 till the middle of the a8th century. The style can be seen most prominently in the churches of the high Alpine valleys, although other buildings from the period also reflect the style. The style arose following an end to the occupation of Chablais, Faucigny and Northern Geneva by Bernese Protestant troops. The Protestants had taken the area in 1536 before the Treaty Of Lausanne in 1564 and the Treaty Of Thonon in 1569 had returned the area to Duchy Of Savoie. This particular movement arose as a celebration of a return to the Catholic religion as well as a celebration of their liberation and a sense of their identity, although the movement borrowed heavily from similar movements in France and Spain, as well as some of the neighbouring Italian states. The local tradesmen learnt techniques from across Europe and brought them back to the area, adapting them to their unique surroundings, using local resources such as wood and rock to bring their own style to the area and celebrate the area they inhabit. The Fondation Facim has set up the ìVilles Et Pays DíArt Et LíHistoireî in conjunction with the Conseil General De Savoie bringing together eighty buildings in the Savoie region that represent the style - churches, chapels and oratories which best show the historic style.