Kubrick's Neobaroque Spectacle: An Aesthetic Analysis of Artificiality and Violence in A Clockwork Orange

  • Biljana Purić
A Clockwork Orange, Stanley Kubrick, neobaroque topoi, aesthetic analysis, spectacle, violence


This article examines Stanley Kubrick’s film A Clockwork Orange through the concept of neobaroque. Starting with the basic elements of mise-en-scène such as costumes, scenography, and positioning of the body inside the shots, the aesthetic analysis of the film will move towards more abstract concepts such as spectacle and violence. By identifying these elements inside the film, the film itself could be understood, I argue, as a neobaroque film. Neobaroque film neither refers to a genre or a period in film history. It is an aesthetic term, with implicit references to changes in modern society, denoting a specific but also dynamic constellation of expressive and thematic elements in a given film. Occasional references to Baroque art are included not to make closer ties between two periods or forms of expression, but to suggest and show more clearly where neobaroque concepts stand in relation to the Baroque ones. A Clockwork Orange is not of the only neobaroque film. However, one thing that singles out A Clockwork Orange, is the number of traits, or neobaroque topoi, which are condensed in it. In this article, I will point out the most prominent ones, which are firmly embedded in the aesthetics of the film.  


Download data is not yet available.


Bailey, Gauvin Alexander. 2003. Between Renaissance and Baroque: Jesuit Art in Rome 1565-1610, Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Bernardi, Sandro. 2000. Kubrick e il cinema come arte del visibile. Milano: Editrice il castoro.

Bornhofen, Patricia Lynn. 1995. “Cosmography and Chaography: Baroque to Neobaroque: a Study in Poetics and Cultural Logic”. PhD Diss., University of Wisconsin- Madison.

Calabrese, Omar. 1992. Neo-Baroque: A Sign of Our Times. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Cubitt, Sean. 2004. The Cinema Effect. Cambridge, Mass., London: MIT Press.

Degli-Esposti, Cristina. 1996. “Sally Potter’s “Orlando” and the Neo- Baroque Scopic Regime.” Cinema Journal 36 (1): 75-93.

Degli-Esposti Reinert, Cristina. 2008. “Neo-Baroque Imagining in Peter Greenaway’s Cinema.” In Peter Greenaway’s Postmodern/ Poststructuralist Cinema edited by Paula Willoquet-Maricondi and Mary Alemany-Galway, 57-78. Lanham, Maryland; Toronto: The Scarecrow Press.

Dickens, Charles. 2011. Pictures from Italy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Falsetto, Mario. 2001. Stanley Kubrick: A Narrative and Stylistic Analysis. Westport, Conn.; London: Greenwood Publishing Group.

Focillon, Henri. 1992. The Life of Forms in Art. London: Zone Books.

Lambert, Gregg. 2004. The Return of the Baroque in Modern Culture. London; New York: Continuum.

Maravall, José Antonio. 1986. Culture of the Baroque: Analysis of a Historical Structure. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

McQuiston, Kate. 2008. “Value, Violence, and Music Recognized: A Clockwork Orange as Musicology.” In Stanley Kubrick: Essays on His Films and Legacy edited by Gary D. Rhodes, 105-122. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland& Co.

Metlić, Dijana. 2016. „Kjubrikovo čitanje Bardžisa: Značaj kostima za razumevanje Paklene pomorandže.” Etnoantropoloski problemi 11 (1): 477-495.

Naremore, James. 2006. “Stanley Kubrick and the Aesthetics of the Grotesque.” Film Quarterly 60 (1): 4-14. Accessed May 5, 2010. doi: 10.1525/fq.2006.60.1.4.

Ndalianis, Angela. 2004. Neo-Baroque Aesthetics and Contemporary Entertainment. Cambridge, Mass., London: MIT Press.
Rasmussen, Randy. 2001. Stanley Kubrick: Seven Films Analyzed. Jefferson, N. C.; London: McFarland.

Rhodes, Gary Don ed. 2008. Stanley Kubrick: Essays on His Films and Legacy. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland& Co.

Willoquet-Maricondi, Paula and Mary Alemany-Galway. 2008. Peter Greenaway’s Postmodern/ Poststructuralist Cinema. Lanham, Maryland; Toronto: The Scarecrow Press.

Wittkower, Rudolf. 1985. Art and Architecture in Italy 1600-1750. Middlesex, England: Penguin.

Wölfflin, Heinrich. 1964. Renaissance and Baroque. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press.
How to Cite
Purić, Biljana. 2017. “Kubrick’s Neobaroque Spectacle: An Aesthetic Analysis of Artificiality and Violence in A Clockwork Orange”. Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 12 (2), 489–503. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.21301/eap.v12i2.7.