Hello. Let’s take a look at a time of drastic change, the 18th century in Europe and the New World. Art and architecture reflected and mediated these changes in philosophy, politics, and even fashion. The YOLO values of the pampered aristocracy gave way to revolts against the Empires of France and Great Britain. The scientific advances of the 17th century, laid the groundwork for the Industrial Revolution. And the philosophy of Rationalism reduced the role of the church, even as the middle class grew stronger.
In the French royal court, Louis XIV died and some power began to shift to the emerging middle class. The Sun King ran a very stuffy and boring court, so the upper class was glad to have a more relaxed approach to enjoying their lives. The Baroque interest in royal palaces shifted to Paris style hotels, or townhouses, which build on the elaborate Baroque style.
In painting, the artworks have lovely pastel colors, delicate forms, and shimmering fabrics. The subjects are light hearted, like romance or the rich enjoying a beautiful picnic, as seen in the Pilgrimage to Cythera by Watteau.
Artists like Fragonard had upper class women as patrons, for example, Mme Du Barry, the mistress of Louis XV. Fragonard’s beautiful color palette and brushstrokes inspired Disney animators in make the movie Tangled. In The Swing, we see the beautiful young lady enjoying a swing in the garden, and giving the young man in the bushes, a little peek up her skirt.
By the middle 1700s, Enlightenment philosophers like Diderot, John Locke, and Jefferson were promoting life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This philosophy rejected royal and aristocratic authority, which eventually led to revolutions in America and France. At the same time, the ruins of the Roman town of Pompeii were discovered, which led to a revival of the classical Greek and Roman styles in art and ladies’ fashions.
The Salons and Academies ruled that History Paintings were the highest form of art, and artists such as David made this a lasting trend. Even portraits used classical allusions or classical dress.
18th Century : Rococo to Roman Revival Rococo and The EnlightenmentThe Reader, Fragonard Am I Not a Man and a Brother?, Wedgwood
Early 18th Century Rococo Architecture• Shift of power after Louis XIV died• Emerging middle class• Paris townhouses (Rococo style hôtels)• Style spread to European painting and sculpture Salon de la Princesse, Hôtel de Soubise , 1732
Rococo Architecture: More is MORE Dynamic and moving spatial environment No empty spaces Unified art & architecture Imperial Hall, Wurzburg, Balthasar Neumann with Fresco by Tiepolo