How Rococo and Neoclassicism Illustrate the Process of Deciding in their Paintings

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How Rococo and Neoclassicism Illustrate the Process of Deciding in their Paintings

The artists Jean-Honore Fragonard and Jaques-Louis David both successfully embody their respective stylistic differences. Fragonard’s style of painting is Rococo, which is characterized by its softness, asymmetry and curviness. Contrasting these ideals is David’s style of painting, Neo-Classicism. Neo-Classicism is synonymous with strong gestures, symmetry, and solidness. Two works that best exemplify the ideals of each style of painting are Fragonard’s The Swing, 1767 and David’s The Death of Socrates, 1787. Although at first glance, it is easier to focus on how each work is different to the other, one can argue that they are similar in theme. Both
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The colors used in The Swing are soft pastel-like colors that best illustrate the painting’s femininity. The masculine ideals imposed by Neo-Classicism are even evident in David’s use of color. The colors presented in his work are solid, which suggest a male’s ability at making a solid and just decision. On the other hand, the colors used in The Swing are not pure but mixed. Mixing red, yellow, and white probably created the shade of pink in the young woman’s dress. This lack of purity conveyed in the colors of The Swing makes it clear to the viewer that a female’s decision lacks solidness as well as clarity. The forms used in the painting also illustrate how the process of deciding is dependant upon which style of art is representing the process. As we continue to utilize this theme of femininity versus masculinity, we can see how the composition of each painting depicts each contrast. The Swing places the viewer inside an outdoors setting that is clearly soft, curvy, and feminine. The Death of Socrates takes place in an indoor setting marked by its attention to geometry, straight lines, and 90-degree angles. When looking at the setting in Fragonard’s work, we can see that there is no sense of order or structure, the same that are conveyed in David’s The Death of Socrates. This lack of order or structure was used by the Neo-Classicist to repudiate Rococo. By giving their form of art
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