Rococo vs. Neoclassicism

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Jasmine Platt
Professor Hauch
Humanities: 15th to 20th Centuries: 352685
07 November 2011
Rococo vs. Neoclassical
France is known for being one of many artist powerhouses of the 18th century. The art styles reflected the attitude and culture of the time. Two major styles, Rococo and Neoclassical varied in similarities and differences such as theme, style, and whether the artist was influenced politically or philosophical. It’s true that Rococo was taken by storm over night at the dawn of Neoclassical. However both of the styles suited it’s era from the carefree life styles of the aristocracy to the inner nature of the people of the revolution. Theme in art is basically concepts covered in the artists work. Rococo spanned over the first to three quarters of the 18th Century, heavily reflecting the people and their thoughts in the Rococo era. The artwork showed more intimate settings such as Jean-Antoine Watteau’s, (1684-1721) Pilgrimage to Cythera. {Figure 16.3} The painting shows the styles of 18th c. France in a Romantic dream like setting. The theme borderlines invention and fantasy; it appeals to the eyes, treating it in way. The setting is realistic, however because of the presence of the cupids, it leads towards fantasy. The intimate relationship of the people in on the island of love can easily be depicted through their body language as well as their reluctance to leave. When Neoclassicism came into play, it ditched the feelings of decadence and fantasy brought about by Rococo, returning to a more Greco-Roman style prompted by the rediscovery of Herculaneum and Pompeii in the midst of the mid 18th century. (Arts and Culture 2 vol. 3rd Ed., pg. 178) Returning to the more heroic themed base art, Neoclassicism focused mainly on stories and history, and later themes about the social order with another French Revolution approaching. Jacques-Louis David ‘s (1748-1825) Oath of the Horatii {Figure 16.13} is a perfect example of revisiting the stories of...
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