In a world made weary by Donald Trump's tweeted temper tantrums, the last thing needed is more drama. But that's what you get with Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museum show "Caravaggio & Bernini: The Discovery of Emotions," a reference to the art of the 17th-century painter and sculptor. Their work gushes with so much bluster that Hyperallergic art critic Michael Glover saw their exhibit as "battle of the swaggerers."

Big. blustery and typically Baroque

These artists played to their crowd in the 17th-century with actorish figures.

Their theatrics called Baroque can put you in mind of Trump. That said, this show makes history. As the museum's exhibit notes point out, "Never before has a show outside of Italy presented such an extensive collection" - some 70 works in all. But it's not just the size of the exhibit that distinguishes it. There's also the striking contrast between the histrionic work of Caravaggio and Bernini and the harmonious golden oldie of the Renaissance like that of Da Vinci and Michelangelo\, which pales when compared to the high-octane Baroque art-making of Caravaggio and Bellini.

Renaissance art as roadkill

And the sway that this pair held over other artists of their time bears noting. Glover said their influence "spread across Europe like termites...leaving the restrained serenity of classicism dead in a ditch." Agreed. Left like roadkill, the art of the Renaissance is plainly run over by the careening art of Baroque. Just how raw are the emotions conveyed in this exhibit? Consider Bernini who molded marble as if were silly putty and made his stonework appear yielding. What's more, his figures are never static-like, say, Michelangelo's David. Bernini's models never stand or sit still. Instead, they appear coiled as if ready to spring into action.

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Stagecraft complete with props

And Bernini didn't just leave all the action to his figures. The Ecstasy of St. Theresa's swooning form is not alone. There are also beams of light that he carved out of wood and gilded - you know - just in case you miss the point that St. Theresa encountered an angel of God. The bolts of lightening beg the point, which is something Renaissance artists would never do. For example, Da Vinci didn't insert a single prop in his Virgin of the Rocks, not even a halo. Bernini, like any Baroque artist, piled on with stagecraft. It's no wonder that the style called Baroque originated as a slur word.

A scream painting ahead of Edvard Munch's version

Being his best Baroque self, Caravaggio's paintings are downright operatic. Coming to mind is his gritty Sacrifice of Isaac with the boy held fast on a rock to die at the hand of his knife-wielding father Abraham. To add to the drama, Isaac is painted with his mouth open into what you imagine is a guttural scream. And again, the maddening ways of Trump come before you as in a bad dream.

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