Archive for the ‘Rococo’ Category

Surrealists Inspired in Dreams – Rene Magritte

Friday, June 6th, 2008

Rene Magritte - Les AmantsAnother famous artist who was inspired by his own imagination and inner thoughts was Rene Magritte. He was born into a middle class family, his father, a tailor, and his mother a milliner.

Rene Magritte was a Belgian artist, born at the end of the 19th century. He began to draw in 1910 when he began to take private art classes. When he was 12 his mother committed suicide, and many of his first paintings, a series of paintings of people with cloths obscuring their faces, may have been influenced from his witnessing the retrieval of his dead mothers body from the river.

In 1927 he had his first surreal exhibit and was criticized terribly for it. His failure caused him to move to Paris where he continued to show his paintings.

As it occurs in many other cases, most of the interest in his work did not occur until some time after his death. His work is mostly fantasy based, but has a somber mood and style to it. It is said that his work may have influenced the Pop, conceptual, and minimalist art movements. His work showed with younger contemporaries who later took on the fauvist and pop style.


A reflection of Societies Values in the Rococo Period

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

François Boucher - Le dejeunerThe Rococo period succeeded the Baroque style. It was the reflection of the new king Louis XV’s rise to the throne. The previous king had lived in an era where architecture and art were rich, elegant, and huge as the Baroque style deems. But with the new reign of a young vivacious King the style changed which led to the Rococo era.

Court life moved away from rigid restrictions and beliefs. It shifted away from the high court, and headed into the private salons, and the art, decorations, and architecture reflect this change.

Rococo is now considered to be in complete concordance with the rich excesses of Louis the XV’s life style. The early 1720’s and 30’s are considered to be the height of the Rococo movement.

Rococo still maintained some elements of the Baroque period, including the need for intricate detail, but it also began to integrate other elements from other parts of the world, such as influences from oriental designs and asymmetrical compositions.


Rococo Architecture

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

Hermitage Winter Palace in St. Petesburg - Rococo architectureRococo architecture came about as a reflection of the times. It followed the Baroque style and was known for its feminine curves, intricate designs, and flamboyance. It was a much lighter style of architecture than the dark heavy Baroque style and emphasized by intricate details and very light colours. The style was meant to be a reflection of the times, meaning a time that was frivolous, happy and uneventful.

Rococo architecture became known as the French style and really did not do as well in other countries as it did in France. The Rococo architecture style took its creativity from nature, referring to clouds, flowers, shells, sea, coral, scrolls, spray, etc. Most of the colors that were used in the buildings of the times were pastels or very light colors.

Among some of the most noted buildings of the period and which are still standing are the Hotel de Matignon, and the Hotel d’Evreux, the Place Louis XV designed by Jacques Ange Gabriel which we now know as the Place de la Concorde.

Besides intricate designs and frivolous detail the Rococo architecture also brought many improvements to architecture; sanitation was improved, chimneys were made more efficient and rooms were better organized to offer more privacy.


Rococo’s influence

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

Rococo furniture & decoration - Room from the Hôtel de Varengeville, Paris.The Rococo movement influenced other arts including painting, architecture and sculpture. Its playful nature, delicate strokes and feminine style influenced also greatly furniture, tapestry, interior design and clothing.

The themes became very light-hearted and within the decorative arts most Rococo pieces were very intricate. That is why it worked best with small scaled items, which differed greatly to the large Baroque sculpture and architecture of previous eras. Rococo was best used indoors and was adapted to porcelain figures, frills, metal work, and furniture.

The architectural, interior design and even the clothing of the Rococo style was very common in the Marie Antoinette period. In her palace you will note that the rooms were done entirely in the Rococo style and are considered to be works of art themselves. Rococo furniture is known to be very ornate. Tapestries, mirrors, ornaments and paintings done in the same style were used to complement the Rococo architecture. As the period ended, much of the style was looked upon derogatively and considered to be too frivolous.


Best paintings of the Rococo

Monday, February 18th, 2008

The Swing by Jean Honore FrangonardRococo began in the 17th century and found its height in the 18th century. It is characterized by its light airy and feminine lines. The style was known for its arabesque forms, shells, elaborate curves and asymmetric composition.

Among the most influential & representative paintings of the Rococo was the Swing by Jean Honore Frangonard which is a good example of the frivolity, eroticism and gallantry of the paintings of the time. In this painting, aristocrats are shown interested only in pleasurable pursuits and completely unaware of the social problems of the times, which would later give rise to the French Revolution. The painting shows intricate detail & ornamentation as was quite common to the Rococo period.

Other representative paintings of the Rococo were Watteau’s, Pilgrimage to Cythera. The painting represents a group of happy go lucky people starting a pilgrimage to Cythera (the city were Venus was born) in search of love. Watteau’s style mixed a lot of reality & fantasy in his work. Reality was represented in the form of the aristocratic outings of the time, like that of going on picnics, hunts, or even boat rides. The fantasy is represented by the inclusion of the mythological elements.


Rococo Portraits

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

François Boucher’s portrait “Marquise de Pompadour”There were many artists that were and still are known from the great Rococo period. The Rococo period started in France in the 17th century evolving from the Baroque and continued throughout the 18th century, but was soon followed by the neoclassical period. Rococo was a lighter, clearer and more optimistic period and the art, especially the portraits of the time reflect this.

Among the most renowned portrait artists of the period were Sir Joshua Reynolds and François Boucher. They portrayed mainly members of the aristocrat society, dressed with sophisticated clothes. The painters of the time captured the smallest details in their portraits. This is noted in Boucher’s portrait “Marquise de Pompadour” where the painter paid attention to all the details in the fashions of the time and the decorative styles.

During this period, portraits became very popular among the aristocratic society of France, England, Italy and Spain. These artists began to portray what life of the aristocracy was really like. The painters of this period chose lighter images and became inspired by mythology, romance and femininity. Portraits were painted in light, vibrant colors, and subjects were painted in frivolous and fun scenes. Painters used a more feminine stroke and lighter colors verging on the pastel. Rococo painters generally portrayed rich people and members of the aristocracy. People were portrayed dressed in their beautiful and elegant clothes and intricate detail was added to the paintings.

It has been noted by many art experts that most portraits of the time were painted with the owners hunting dogs when the subject was male and women were painted with their lap dog. When peasants were painted, which was seldom, there is usually a stray mutt or two in the portrait.


What is Rococo?

Saturday, February 16th, 2008

Jean-Honoré Fragonard - Colonel Acland and Lord Sydney, The ArchersRococo comes from the word “rocaille”, which in french means “Rock” or shell. This movement was named for its use of curves and lights similar to those represented in shells. The Rococo movement began in the 17th century in France and continued through the 18th century evolving from the Baroque era. This was a time full of optimism in French society and French politics, and the painting of the time reflected this. The style reflects the joy and optimism of the times. Rococo affected many areas within the arts including painting, architecture, sculpture and interior design. Rococo was the chosen artistic style by the rising middle class.

As all art movements reflected the times and the political social atmosphere, so did Rococo. It was the end of a more stagnate and strict period of time and an era full of optimism for the future. The arts began to pursue themes of interest and of amusement.

Among the most famous Rococo painters were Jean Antoine Watteau, Francois Boucher & Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The style was meant to appeal to the emotions and themes were related to mythology, romance, fantasy and everyday life. This movement was extremely off the wall, and modern for the times. After all, previous art work had dealt solely with religious and historical subjects and ideas. Rococo was light, entertaining and ornamental - totally against all previous traditional art work.

The elements that stand out in this movement are gracefulness, femininity, light and furtive colors, all extreme changes from the previous periods.


The Most Influential Painters of the Rococo Movement

Friday, February 15th, 2008

Jeane Antoine Watteau - Pilgrimage to CytheraRococo is known as the art movement that took place in the 17th century and among the most famous painters of the movement were Jeane Antoine Watteau, François Boucher and Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Watteau’s work emphasizes the care free attitude of the times through his idyllic paintings and Boucher is known for his wonderfully designed tapestries.

Rococo pieces are noted most for the light colors, curvaceous forms, and graceful lines and Jeane Antoine Watteau was a master at his art form.

His compositions were innovative in style in that he always started with asymmetrical compositions, which contributed greatly not only to the Rococo style but to design in general. Through his art he became known as the inventor of the “Fetes galantes”. He painted idyllic scenes, with happy go lucky people dancing, enjoying themselves in beautiful settings.

This great artist is credited for renewing interest in color and movement within art. Jean Antoine Watteau’s was one of the main figures of the Rococo movement. Unfortunately, Jean Antoine Watteau’s art career was short lived. He was born in 1684 and named an associate of the French Academy in 1712. Unfortunately he died of tuberculosis in 1721 at a very young age. His work is know to epitomize the Rococo movement.


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