Rococo was a style preeminently evident in small works such as furniture, utensils, and small sculptures. Rococo is the last style of the French monarchies and was carefree and playful. Rococo art centered on romance and love and emphasized tonality, softness and rich colors. Rococo art contrasted Baroque art as it tended to avoid heroic events and religious iconography and emphasized Hedonism. The word Rococo derives from Rocaille, which means shell, and Rococo art used curvaceous, swirling forms.
Watteau’s “Return from Cythera” features well drawn figures that show slow movement from difficult and unusual angles, to show poised and refined albums. Watteau’s choice of colors are bright and show the iridescence of materials. The significance of this painting is that behind the theme of love and happiness, is wistfulness and melancholy, unusual in Rococo art. Boucher’s “Cupid a Captive” is significant in its full range of Baroque devices; crisscrossing diagonals, curvilinear forms and slanting recessions, but also that he dissected the Baroque curves into sensual playfulness. Fragonard’s “The Swing” is a typical “intrigue” picture and is a classic example of Rococo art. It shows Fragonard’s skills as a colorist and his talent in conveying sensuality.
The Enlightenment was a new way of thinking about the world and humankind and was based on using reason to reflect on the results of physical experiments and was grounded in empirical evidence. Philosophy, society, science and technology played important roles in the Enlightenment. Philosophy was rediscovered and was believed that the accumulation of knowledge could advance humanity to a happier state than ever before. Science and technology progressed, as the thirst for knowledge grew larger. The human body was at the center of study and dissections were done for scientific progress for the practice of surgeons and physicians. Electricity, steam power, and combustion led to the...
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