One theory has it that the Baroque style was a kind of Catholic propaganda, designed to impress the peasants so much that they wouldn’t be tempted by dreary old Protestantism.
You can’t help thinking there’s a bit of that attitude going around today, with the tabloid lives of the celebrity super-rich filling in for bold paintings and magnificent churches.
Economic crisis, environmental disaster, yeah, yeah, but how about Michelle Obama’s dress, huh?
That’s probably where your anti-capitalist demonstrators go wrong. Many come from well-off backgrounds, so you can understand why they see dressing like peasants from the middle-ages as a big statement of rebellion.
Unfortunately for them, the YouTube world would likely be more impressed if it saw thousands of designer-clad types trying to smash their way into the Bank of England. Revolt into style, as they used to say about the 60s.
Baroque 1620-1800: Style in the Age of Magnificence is on at the Victoria and Albert Museum from 4 April to 18 July.