Rococo and Neoclassical Art 1Running head: Rococo and Neoclassical Art Rococo and Neoclassical Art Phase #4, Assignment #7, Discussion Board #4 TSgt Loren Karl-Robinson Schwappach Colorado Technical University Prepared for Tammy Starzyk HUM140-0804A-08 Art Appreciation 31 October, 2008
Rococo and Neoclassical Art 2 Abstract From the early 16h to the late 18th century Europe was captivated by a sense of rebirthand enlightenment, which is why this period, is sometimes referred to as the “Age of Reason”.In this enlightened period two new forms of art scoped new visions of creativity. Two uniquestyles of art were born, the rococo style in the early 1700s and the neoclassical style in the late1700s. This short essay offers a small glimpse into these two creative styles and tasty sample ofeach art form.
Rococo and Neoclassical Art 3 Rococo art was born as a 17th century style of French artwork known for its lightness,delicacy, and decoration. The style quickly spread during the reign of Louis XV throughoutEurope, particularly in Germany and Austria. Rococo art is a mixture of asymmetry, the French“rocaille” or “shell”, due to the rococo styles graceful and delicate shell like curves and theItalian baroque style, used in 17th century Italian paintings. The baroque style was used deeplyin Christian artwork to illustrate the deeply expressive religious scenes. Rococo art saw itslargest popularity in the early 1730s in France and was quickly replaced in popularity by the late1780s by neoclassical art, discussed later. Rococo art was prominently used to decorate doorsand windows as well as other ornamental structures. Rococo art is distinguished from otherstyles of art through its’ use of soft, delicate, often warm pastel colors and curving forms thatexemplify the form. Rococo art generally displays serene, happy, and romantic scenes, oftendepicting the lusting and sinful behaviors of its subjects. The first revolutionary rococo painter isthought to be Jean-Antoine Watteua. Watteua’s painting of a Pilgrimage to Cythera (see image 1, below) is a prime example ofthe rococo style.Image 1: Jean-Antoine Watteua: Pilgrimage to Cythera: Rococo style: Image taken on 31 Oct 2008 fromTheCaveOnline.com at http://www.thecaveonline.com/APEH/cythera.html
Rococo and Neoclassical Art 4 The Pilgrimage to Cythera illustrates many of the themes of rococo style paintings. Thecouples in the painting have been transported to the mythical island of Cythera a land of beautyand love and desire, home to the Greek goddess of love Venus. In the painting Venus looks overthe couples while her son cupid fires arrows at them. From the light, warm atmosphere, to theromantic pastels, delicate curves, and sensual theme this painting is a perfect portrayal of therococo style. Neoclassical art appeared in France in the late 1780s as a rigid, severe, and unemotionalalternative style in contrast to the serene, happy, warm, and delicious rococo style and quicklyreplaced the rococo style in popularity throughout Europe until it was replaced by romanticism.The growth of neoclassical art gave credit to the grandeur of ancient Greece and Roman art. Theneoclassical artist used sharp colors, logical patterns, and strict moral themes to capture theobservers’ imaginations. The style personified the period of enlightenment known as the Age ofReason though it’s much more refined, conservative, moralistic appeal. The Age of Reasonencouraged Europeans that deep human thoughts could conquer all of humanities problemsincluding social and moral problems this led to a more conservative flair to art as personified bythe Neoclassical style. One of the most prominent leaders in neoclassical art was Jacques Louis David, and hispainting of the Death of Socrates (see image 2, below) is a perfect example of the style. Thepainting illustrates the famous Greek philosopher Socrates in prison surrounded by his manyfollowers. As illustrated by the painting Socrates was condemned to drink a poisonous hemlockas a punishment for his radical beliefs. This painting was a lesson of truth, courage, and sacrificeset for the populace of the French revolution. It encouraged the observer to stand for their
Rococo and Neoclassical Art 5beliefs. Its rigid, severe, serious and moralist structure, as well as the sharp colors used were indrastic contrast to rococo style art and perfectly exemplifies the neoclassical style.Image 2: Jacques Louis David: Death of Socrates: Neoclassical style: Image taken on 31 Oct 2008 fromartarhive.com at http://www.artchive.com/artchive/d/david/socrates.jpg.html In summary the light, delicious, romantic, pastel colored rococo style was in deepcontrast to the dark, moralistic, serious, sharp colored neoclassical style. Both styles offeredamazing new perspectives of arts use in society. My personal favorite is the rococo style due tothe free, truthful, and romantic nature.
Rococo and Neoclassical Art 6 ReferencesStokstad, M. (2007). Art: a brief history (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.Harden, M. (2008). Neo-Classical Art, Retrieved from Artchive.com on October 31, 2008 at http://www.artchive.com/artchive/neo_classical.htmlCythera (2008). Watteau Pilgrimage to Cythera, Retrieved from TheCaveOnline.com on October 31, 2008 at http://www.thecaveonline.com/APEH/cythera.html