The Artistic Movement: Rococo Essay

2561 Words11 Pages
“I have just completed a forty-two-day voyage around my room. The fascinating observations I made and the endless pleasures I experienced along the way made me wish to share them with the public… Be so good as to accompany me on my voyage.” Xavier de Maistre

Renee L. Winter
University of Calgary
Word count: 2044

This paper looks at the artistic movement known as Rococo in France after the death of Louis XIV. Artwork by France’s Jean-Antoine Watteau, and Jean-Antoine Fragonard, as well as artwork done by Italian artist Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini, and will be discussed to demonstrate that Rococo and the themes of the pictures represented a form of escapism for the aristocracy in Europe.

According to Pignatti (1988,
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(Blunt 1953, p.183). Blunt also argues that by entering into this world of the imagination, they were able to change their own every day world. The picture shows many cupids, surrounding the young couples on the island, with the story beginning in the foreground. Janson claims that the meaning of the picture reads like a story, unfolding from left to right, which also informs us that they are about to board the boat: two lovers are still engaged in their amorous tryst; behind them another couple rises to follow a third pair back down the hill as the reluctant young woman casts a wistful look back at the goddess’ sacred grove. Watteau’s figures are slim and graceful; it appears that they move with the studied assurance of actors who play their roles so superbly that they touch us more than reality ever would. Robb (1951) describes this work as lingering on one idea: men and women, not playing at the game of love, but whose whole existence is dedicated to love. They are dressed for the part; they exercise restraint lest the passion burn out and avoid everything gross and uncultivated, displaying their seductions with the greatest delicacy and charm. Robb (1951) believes the picture contains all that Watteau had to say, couples in a “fantastic landscape overhung with a magical atmosphere…” (p. 374). Janson (1991, p.605) argues that those portrayed in paintings by Watteau recapture an earlier ideal of “mannered” elegance. Kalnein (1972, p. 17) asserts
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