An Age of Reason, An Age of Passion Essay

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An Age of Reason, An Age of Passion

The period following the Renaissance focused the human attention toward the beauty of nature. It was man’s turn to be part of the nature and not the other way around. The term picturesque—or “compared to a picture” as Michael Woods defines it — defines new characteristics of the art from this period.

This period, “An Age of Reason, An Age of Passion,” had a dual nature—rational, responsive to reason, but also anti-rational, responsive to emotion.
“Making one’s way through the intellectual history of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, one must be aware of the shifting meaning of such words as rationalism, naturalism, classicism, romanticism. Like dancers in a reel, they combine and
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Taste became a “value above morality” (Stewart et. al., 156). Rococo main themes focused on leisure, love, and fashion. These themes and the “dramatic verve of Rubens gave way to the lyrical tone of Rubens’ great followers, Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721), Frangois Boucher (1703-1770), and Jean-Honor6 Fragonard (1732-1804), the outstanding masters of three generations of Rococo painting in France” (Stewart et al., 156).

When it comes to Fragonard and his paintings, I have to mention that he is one of my favorite painters. Paintings like “The Swing” (1766), “A Young Girl Reading” (1776), “The Study” (1769), “The Lover Crowned” (1771-73), “The Meeting” (1771-73) and so many more hold a special magic for me. Every time I look at his paintings, it is like looking at a magic world. It is more like a dream world, or like an old-fashioned story that never loses its charm for a child’s ears. Because of

Fragonard’s talent, I can also “listen” to his magic stories: a stolen kiss, a flirtation giggle, the sound of the wind browsing through a lovely garden with a magic swing.

From this period, although not a Rococo artist, we have to mention Jean-Baptiste Chardin (1699-1779). “While his contemporaries painted their high-style works of the ‘upstairs’ aristocratic life, Chardin painted the ‘downstairs’ ” (Stewart et. al., 160): kitchen or pantry copper pots, earthenware jugs, and raw food.

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