Rococo Portraits

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.

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