Week 9.rococo and neoclassicism overview


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  • On opposing sides, we have the Austrian Hapsburg Holy Roman Emperors and their allies Ferdinand I and II and King Philip IV, King of Spain and cousin to the Ferdinand’s THEN Denmark, France, Holland, and Sweden. German principalities fight on both sides. The fight is political—The Peace of Augsburg is violated, which had resolved legally the war between Lutherans and Catholics, and Denmark, Sweden, France, and Spain are all vying for more and more of German lands The fight is also religious—Lutherans, Catholics, and Calvinists are all at war at different times
  • Modern History Sourcebook: Salon Life Although the leading figures of the Enlightenment were all men, the social context was the highly-civilized "salon", usually presided over by a women with some independent wealth. From Memoir of MarmontelThe circle was formed of persons who were not bound together. She had taken them here and there in society, but so well assorted were they that once there they fell into harmony like the strings of an instrument touched by an able hand. Following out that comparison, I may say that she played the instrument with an art that came of genius; she seemed to know what tone each string would yield before she touched it; I mean to say that our minds and our natures were so well known to her that in order to bring them into play she had but to say a word. Nowhere was conversation more lively, more brilliant, or better regulated than at her house. It was a rare phenomenon indeed, the degree of tempered, equable heat which she knew so well how to maintain, sometimes by moderating it, sometimes by quickening it. The continual activity of her soul was communicated to our souls, but measurably; her imagination was the mainspring, her reason the regulator. Remark that the brains she stirred at will were neither feeble nor frivolous: the Coudillacs and Turgots were among them; d'Alembert was like a simple, docile child beside her. Her talent for casting out a thought and giving it for discussion to men of that class, her own talent in discussing it with precision, sometimes with eloquence, her talent for bringing forward new ideas and varying the topic-always with the facility and ease of a fairy, who, with one touch of her wand, can change the scene of her enchantment-these talents, I say, were not those of an ordinary woman. It was not with the follies of fashion and vanity that daily, during four hours of conversation, without languor and without vacuum, she knew how to make herself interesting to a wide circle of strong minds. From Letter of Julie de Lespinasse to the Comte de Guibert.I love you too well to impose the least restraint upon myself; I prefer to have to ask your pardon rather than commit no faults. I have no self­love with you; I do not comprehend those rules of conduct that make us so content with self and so cold to those we love. I detest prudence, I even hate (suffer me to say so) those "duties of friendship" which substitute propriety for interest, and circumspection for feeling. How shall I say it? I love the abandonment to impulse, I act from impulse only, and I love to madness that others do the same by me. Ah! monDieu! how far I am from being equal to you! I have not your virtues, I know no duties with my friend; I am closer to the state of nature; savages do not love with more simplicity and good faith. The world, misfortunes, evils, nothing has corrupted my heart. I shall never be on my guard against you; l shall never suspect you. You say that you have friendship for me; you are virtuous; what can l fear? I will let you see the trouble, the agitation of my soul, and I shall not blush to seem to you weak and inconsistent. I have already told that I do not seek to please you; I do not wish to usurp your esteem. I prefer to deserve your indulgence-in short, I want to love you with all my heart and to place in you a confidence without reserve....From Letters of Julie de Lespinasse, Katherine P. Wormley, trans. (Boston: Hardy, Pratt and Co., 1903), p9,. 34-35, 75.On Madame GeoffrinMadame Geoffrin was married to a rich man. His money seems to have been the main benefit she found in the marriage. She used it to help her philosophefriends. From Memoir of d'AlembertMuch has been said respecting Madame Geoffrin's goodness, to what a point it was active, restless, obstinate. But it has not­been added, and which reflects the greatest honour upon her, that, as she advanced in years, this habit constantly increased. For the misfortune of society, it too often happens that age and experience produce a directly contrary effect, even in very virtuous characters, if virtue be not in them a powerful sentiment indeed, and of no common stamp. The more disposed they have been at first to feel kindness towards their fellow creatures, the more, finding daily their ingratitude, do they repent of having served them, and even consider it almost as a reproach to themselves to have loved them. Madame Geoffrin had learnt, from a more reflected study of mankind, from taking a view of them more enlightened by reason and justice, that they are more weak and vain than wicked; that we ought to compassionate their weakness, and bear with their vanity, that they may bear with ours.... The passion of giving, which was an absolute necessity to her seemed born with her, and tormented her, if l may say so, even from her earliest years. While yet a child, if she saw from the window any poor creature asking alms, she would throw whatever she could lay her hands upon to them; her bread, her linen, and even her clothes. She was often scolded for this intemperance of charity, sometimes even punished, but nothing could alter the disposition, she would do the same the very next day.... Always occupied with those whom she loved, always anxious about them, she even anticipated every thing which might interrupt their happiness. A young man, [note: yhis young man was d'Alembert himself] for whom she interested herself very much, who had till that moment been wholly absorbed in his studies, was suddenly seized with an unfortunate passion, which rendered study, and even life itself insupportable to him. She succeeded in curing him. Some time after she observed that the same young man, mentioned to her, with great interest, an amiable woman with whom he had recently become acquainted. Madame Geoffrin, who knew the lady, went to her. "I am come," she said, "to intreat a favour of you. Do not evince too much friendship for * * * * or too much desire to see him, he will be soon in love with you, he will be unhappy, and I shall be no less so to see him suffer; nay, you yourself will be a sufferer, from consciousness, of the sufferings you occasion him." This woman, who was truly amiable, promised what Madame Geoffrin desired, and kept her word. As she had always among the circle of her society persons of the highest rank and birth, as she appeared even to seek an acquaintance with them, it was supposed that this flattered her vanity. But here a very erroneous opinion was formed of her; she was in no respect the dupe of such prejudices, but she thought that by managing the humours of these people, she could render them useful to her friends. "You think," said she, to one of the latter, for whom she had a particular regard, "that it is for my own sake I frequent ministers and great people. Undeceive yourself,-it is for the sake of you, and those like you who may have occasion for them...."From Memoir of Baron de GrimmWhether from malice or inattention, one who was in the habit of lending books to the husband of Madame Geoffrin, sent him several times in succession the first volume of the Travels of Father Labbat. M. Geoffrin with all the composure possible, always read the book over again without perceiving the mistake. "How do you like these Travels, Sir?"-"They are very interesting, but the author seems to me somewhat given to repetition."- He read Bayle's Dictionary with great attention, following the line with his finger along the two columns. "What an excellent work, he said, if it were only a little less abstruse."-"You were at the play this evening, M. Geoffrin, said one, pray what was the performance?"-"I really cannot say, I was in a great hurry to get in and had no time to look at the bill."- However deficient the poor man was, he was permitted to sit down to dinner, at the end of the table, upon condition that he never attempted to join in conversation. A foreigner who was very assiduous in his visits to Madame Geoffrin, one day, not seeing him as usual at table, enquired after him: "What have you done, Madam, with the poor man whom | I always used to see here, and who never spoke a word?"-"Oh, that was my husbandl-he is dead."From Baron de Grimm, Historical and Literary Memoirs and Anecdotes, (London: Henry Colburn, 1815), Vol. 3, pp. 400-405, 52­53. This text is part of the Internet Modern History Sourcebook. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts for introductory level classes in modern European and World history. Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use of the Sourcebook. (c)Paul Halsall Aug 1997 halsall@murray.fordham.edu
  • This is really a scene of aristocratic living—luxurious colors, curvilinear lines of the female form through sedantary lifestyles and plush dinners,
  • Week 9.rococo and neoclassicism overview

    2. 2. In the last chapter we determined… The Baroque period should be governed by:  Emotion  (Counter-Reformation)  Observation  (Optics)  Reason  (Rene Decartes) This leads to this week’s question.
    3. 3. Guiding Question(s)… What is Revolution? What precipitates Revolution? How do art, literature, music serve the purpose of Revolution? We will look at this question primarily through political venues. Religious questions are becoming less frequent.
    4. 4. Guiding Historical Events Industrial Revolution American Revolution  Continental Congress French Revolution  National Assembly  Bastille Day Scientific Revolution Women’s Revolution Emanicpation ―Revolution‖ WHAT LEADS TO THE NEED FOR REVOLUTION?
    5. 5. Rococo Period When Louis XIV dies, the aristocrats become the power players  In its wealth, this aristocracy prefers to commission lavish, fanciful and carefree arts  It intentionally rejects the seriousness of the Baroque Age The Rococo period FRANÇOIS DE CUVILLIÉS, Hall of describes this Mirrors, the Amalienburg, Nymphenburg preference Palace park, Munich, Germany,  From the words rocaille, (pebble or shell) and barocco
    6. 6. Salon Society  Hosted by wealthy women  High society meetings of discussion and art GERMAIN BOFFRAND, Salon de la Princesse, with painting by CHARLES- JOSEPH NATOIRE and sculpture by J. B. LEMOINE, Hôtel de Soubise, Paris, France, 1737–1740.
    7. 7. Salon Society Women Prefer the following kinds of paintings: Watteau’s Pilgrimage to Fragonard’s The Cythera, 1717 Meeting, 1771Fête galantes depicting an outdoor party Frivolous subject Lush gardens Soft, pastel colors
    8. 8. and Boucher’s Bath of Diana, 1742 Female nudity justified in mythological scenes Diana here NOT the huntress but a sensual, pampered woman This is really a scene of aristocratic living— luxurious colors, curvilinear lines of the female form through sedentary lifestyles and plush dinners
    9. 9. Manufacturing and Mass Production/ Distribution CONSEQUENCES: Rift arises between poor and wealthy classes Family structure changes—parents now leave home for work Industrial RevolutionWatt Steam Engine and Wedgwood ceramic vase
    10. 10. Abraham Darby III, Severn River Bridge, 1779, Coalbrookdale, England Industrial Revolution made technological advances in use of IRON. Why? It is both practical and aesthetic—replaces heavy and expensive stone materials and can mimic the pattern of Roman architecture, as seen in Coalbrookdale.
    11. 11. Revolutions of Europe 1705—1809 The lavishness of the Rococo indulgence and the rift in classes caused by the Industrial Revolution lead to revolutions throughout Europe and the bourgeoning US colonies
    12. 12. The US in 1800
    13. 13. With Revolution comes a new style to support the cause--NeoclassicismRococo Neoclassicism Essentially rubenistes  Essentially poussinistes Lush landscapes with  Classical subjects with pastel colors primary colors Frivolous subjects for  Civic subjects for entertaining women revolutionaries  Greco-Roman themes will be used to arouse the sympathies of French Revolutionaries
    14. 14. But why return to the Classical? Archeological digs at Pompeii bring about a fetish for the Greco-Roman—woman begin wearing toga-like , muslin gowns and decorated their homes with replicas of Italian cities. We see this idealizing in writing of the time, as seen below.Johann Joachim Winckelmann,Reflections on the Imitation of Greek Works in Painting and Sculpture (1755)______________________________________________________________________________“The only way for us to become great, or, if this be possible, inimitable, is to imitate the ancients....In the masterpieces of Greek art, connoisseurs and imitators find not only nature at its mostbeautiful but also something beyond nature, namely certain ideal forms of its beauty, which, asan ancient interpreter of Plato teaches us, come from images created by the mind alone...... The first development of the Greeks was influenced by a mild and clear sky; but the practice ofphysical exercises from an early age gave this development its noble forms... These exercises gavethe bodies of the Greeks the strong and manly contours which the masters then imparted to theirstatues without any excess....The general and most distinctive characteristics of the Greek masterpieces are, finally, a noblesimplicity and quiet grandeur, both in posture and expression. Just as the depths of the seaalways remain calm however much the surface may rage, so does the expression of the figures ofthe Greeks reveal a great and composed soul even in the midst of passion.” Polykleitos, Spear Bearer (Doryphoros), Roman copy after original bronze of c. 450-440 BCE
    15. 15. This Neoclassical dress can be seen in contemporary paintingsÉLISABETH LOUISE DAVID, Madame RécamierVIGÉE-LEBRUN, Self-Portrait
    16. 16. Greco-Roman originals will inspireNeoclassical content, as seen below Apollo Belvedere, Roman copy of a Greek original MENGS, Parnassus, 1760-61, Villa Albani, Rome
    17. 17. In subsequent presentations, youwill learn more about: Social Criticism of Hogarth, an English painter Global Revolutions occurring in the 18th centuryThese presentations will prepare you to incorporatethe information in the assignments and assessmentsfor the week