1.3.4 Rococo A (1715-1757)

Forward to 1.3.4 Rococo B
Back to 1.3.3 Baroque Index – Back to 1.3.2 High Renaissance and Mannerism
Forward to 1.3.5 Neoclassicism (1750-1830)

QUICK LINKS:
Study of Hands, Largillière
Pilgrimage Isle Cythera, Watteau
Gilles, Watteau
Reading of Molière, de Troy
Abraham Three Angels, Tiepolo
Declaration of Love, de Troy
Halt to the Hunt, Loo
Madame Berthelot, Nattier
Triumph of Venus, Boucher
François Boucher, Lundberg
Milkmaid’s Garland, Hayman
Diana Leaving Bath, Boucher
Marriage Settlement, Hogarth

Banquet of Cleopatra, Tiepolo
Brunette Odalisque, Boucher
Madame de Pompadour, Nattier
Marquise de Pompadour, de la Tour
Mr & Mrs Andrews, Gainsborough
Toilet of Venus, Boucher
Marriage Emperor Frederick, Tiepolo
Allegory of the Planets, Tiepolo
Aqueduct in Ruins, Robert
Mercury wings, Pigalle
Judgement of Paris, Mengs

Rococo infused the world of art and interior design with an aristocratic idealism that favoured elaborate ornamentation and intricate detailing. The paintings that became signature to the era were created in celebration of Rococo’s grandiose ideals and lust for the aristocratic lifestyle and pastimes.

The movement, which developed in France in the early 1700s, evolved into a new, over-the-top marriage of the decorative and fine arts, which became a visual lexicon that infiltrated 18th century continental Europe.

[1340-10]


Image source: Wikimedia commons
This Study of Hands, circa 1715, by grand French master Nicolas De Largillière is a great illustration of one of the most representative details that speak loudly of an artist’s technical abilities and skills, in Italy they used to call it Maestria.

It is on show at the Louvre museum in Paris.
[Source: reddit.com]

TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Study of Hands1715Oil/CanvasGenre Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Largillière, Nicolas de 1656-1746, aged 91French painter ParisRococo
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1340-11]

Musée du Louvre, Paris France65 x 52  
Pilgrimage to the Isle of Cythera. was submitted by Watteau to the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture as his reception piece in 1717.

The painting is now in the Louvre in Paris. A second version of the work, sometimes called Pilgrimage to Cythera to distinguish it, was painted by Watteau about 1718 or 1719 and is in the Charlottenburg Palace, Berlin.
[Source: Wikimedia commons]

Image source: louvre.fr
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Pilgrimage to the Isle of Cythera1717-8Oil/CanvasGenre Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Watteau, Jean-Antoine1684-1721, aged 36French painter ParisRococo
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1340-12]

Musée du Louvre, Paris France129 x 194  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
Completed in the later phase of Watteau’s career, Pierrot is somewhat unusual case in the artist’s body of work. The painting depicts a number of actors portraying commedia dell’arte masks, with one as the titular character set in the foreground.
[Source: Wikimedia commons]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Gilles (aka Pierrot)1719Oil/CanvasPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Watteau, Jean-Antoine1684-1721, aged 36French painter ParisRococo
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1340-13]

Musée du Louvre, Paris France184 x 149  
Jean François de Troy was a French Rococo easel and fresco painter, draughtsman and tapestry designer. One of France’s leading history painters in his time, he was equally successful with his decorative paintings, genre scenes and portraits. He was the inventor of the tableaux de modes (‘paintings of fashions’), which attempted to provide a spirited portrayal of contemporary fashions, pastimes and manners.

De Troy forged a successful career with his large-format historical and allegorical compositions. His history paintings and mythological scenes were executed in a colourful and fluent style, which was indebted to both Veronese and Peter Paul Rubens.
[Source: Wikimedia commons]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Reading of Molière, (A La lecture de Moliere)1728Oil/CanvasHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
de Troy, Jean François1679 – 1752, aged 73French painterRococo
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1340-14]

Collection late Marchioness of Cholmondeley, Houghton72 x 91  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
This painting presents an event mentioned in the book of Genesis (18, 1. 19). Tiepolo had depicted this subject earlier in a painting from the series he painted for the palace of the Archbishop of Udine in 1726.

Here, however, it is presented in a more modern manner, with a contained equilibrium among all parts of the composition and a harmonious coexistence of neoclassical values with others marked by a curious pre-Romantic spirit.

Abraham is shown in a worshipful posture before the miracle that has taken place in his own house: the angels who have come to announce that his aged wife, Sarah, will soon conceive a son. As such, he is one of a series of old men with long beards that people Tiepolo’s works. Both Abraham’s posture and that of the other two angels are dynamic, contrasting with the solemnly hieratic stance of the angel who occupies the most outstanding position in the group. The background is interesting for its severe character and the peculiar still life formed by the objects in the lower right corner.
[Source: museodelprado.es]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Abraham and the Three Angelsc1730Oil/CanvasHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Tiepolo, Giovanni Battista1696-1770, aged 74Italian painter VeniceRococo
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1340-15]

Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid Spain197 x 151  
This is a genre of painting known as tableaux de mode (paintings of fashionable society) established by de Troy. Rejecting religious or mythological subjects, artists represented the latest interior decoration, clothing, etiquette, and social mores. Mars and Venus, relegated here to wall decoration, cue the narrative to unfold, while the eager dog hints none too subtly at the passions concealed behind delicate gestures. In the 1720s, the meticulous rhyming of curves among picture frame, chair-rail, and sofa was extremely in vogue, but in de Troy’s composition it also underscores the theme of physical union.
[Source: metmuseum.org]


Image source: metmuseum.org
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Declaration of Love, The (Die Liebeserklärung)1724Oil/CanvasPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
de Troy, Jean François1680 – 1752, aged 73French painterRococo
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1340-16]

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY USA65 x 53  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
This painting by Charles André van Loo on show at the Louvre. He was the most famous member of a successful dynasty of painters of Dutch origin. His oeuvre includes every category: religion, history painting, mythology, portraiture, allegory, and genre scenes.

Van Loo’s subject, a supremely elegant hunting party of the kind enjoyed by Louis XV and his court, derives from Watteau’s fêtes galantes, but teems with contemporary detail.
[Source: Wikimedia commons]

TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Halt to the Hunt1737Oil/CanvasGenre Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Loo, Charles-André van1705-1765, aged 60French painterRococo
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1340-17]

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY USA250 x 220  
Nattier was influenced by Nicolas de Largillièrre and brought about the revival of the Fontainebleau school through his depiction of the aristocratic women of the court in the guise of mythological figures.

This is a typical example from his large production of this type of work. Here the model is shown as the personification of rivers or springs. This elegant image with its silvery gray tonalities allows us a glimpse of Nattier’s technique, although at the time he was criticized for his over-idealisation of the model.
[Source: artsandculture.google.com]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Madame Marie-Henriette Berthelot de Pléneuf, Portrait of 1739Oil/CanvasPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Nattier, Jean-Marc1685-1766, aged 81French painterRococo
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1340-18]

Musée National des Beaux-Arts de l’Occident, 7-7 Ueno Imperial Grant Park, Taitō, Tokyo, Japan102 x83  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
The goddess Venus emerges from the sea, carried aloft on a wave upon a mother-of-pearl shell and surrounded by admirers. Naiads, nymphs, and gods float among dolphins and doves, winged cupids floating above them.

Boucher’s Triumph of Venus is an archetype of Rococo style, from the mythological subject that is playfully imbued with eroticism, to the cool palette, dynamic, pyramidal composition, and series of interlocking arabesques. The painting is a celebration of love and lust, the sensuous flesh of the figures rendered in modulations of creams and pinks. A female figure at left seems to throw back her head in ecstasy, a white dove perched suggestively between her legs.
[Source: theartstory.org]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Triumph of Venus1740OilHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Boucher, François1703-1770French painterRococo
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1340-19]

Nationalmuseum, Stockholm Sweden130 x 162  
Lundberg was a Swedish rococo pastelist and portrait painter. He trained and worked in Paris and later was appointed court portrait painter in Stockholm.

Lundberg established himself as one of the leading portrait painters in Paris. He painted Louis XV and his Queen Maria Leszczyńska, and the Queen’s parents, deposed King Stanisław Leszczyński and his spouse. He portrayed many of the Swedes visiting Paris, and befriended Count Carl Gustaf Tessin, the Swedish ambassador, art collector and member of the famous family of architects, who let him stay in his palace. In addition to his many portraits of French and Swedish aristocracy,

He is also known for his paintings of colleagues, French Rococo artists Charles-Joseph Natoire and François Boucher.
[Source: Wikimedia commons]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
François Boucher, Portrait of1741Pastel/CnvPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Lundberg, Gustaf1695-1786, aged 90Swedish painter, ParisRococo
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1340-20]

Musée du Louvre, Paris France65 x 50  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
One of the ancient customs observed on May Day that persisted until the early 19th century was the ‘Milkmaid’s Garland.’

The milkmaids would dress in their best clothes and dance in the streets for their customers. A donation from the customers and from passers-by was expected. A ‘garland’ – a pyramid of borrowed silver tankards, plates and flagons decorated with flowers – was paraded by the milkmaids or carried, as in this painting, by a porter. Francis Hayman also included another May Day custom in his picture: that of the young chimney-sweeps noisily beating their brushes and shovels.
[Source: collections.vam.ac.uk]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Milkmaid’s Garland, The1741-2Oil/CanvasGenre Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Hayman, Francis1707-1776, aged 68English painterRococo
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1340-21]

Victoria and Albert Museum, London UK0  
Diana Bathing or Diana Getting out of her Bath is a 1742 painting by François Boucher, depicting the Roman goddess Diana. It was acquired in 1852 by the Louvre, where it now hangs.
[Source: Wikimedia commons]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Diana Leaving her Bath1742OilHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Boucher, François1703-1770French painterRococo
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1340-22]

Musée du Louvre, Paris France57 x 73  
Image source: tate.org.ukThis is the first in Hogarth’s series of six paintings titled Marriage A-la-Mode. They were painted to be engraved and then sold after the engravings were finished.

For centuries, the English have been fascinated by the sexual exploits and squalid greed of the aristocracy, and these are the subjects of the six-part series Marriage A-la-Mode, which illustrates the disastrous consequences of marrying for money rather than love.

The basic story is of a marriage arranged by two self-seeking fathers – a spendthrift nobleman who needs cash and a wealthy City of London merchant who wants to buy into the aristocracy. It was Hogarth’s first moralising series satirising the upper classes.
[Source: nationalgallery.org.uk]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Marriage Settlement (Marriage a la Mode 1)1742-4Oil/CanvasHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Hogarth, William1697-1764, aged 66English painterRococo
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1340-23]

National Gallery, London UK70 X 91  
Sat at a grand table, Cleopatra, ruler of Egypt, is about to dissolve one of her priceless pearls in a goblet of vinegar, showing her contempt for wealth to the Roman general Mark Antony, who, dressed in red, recoils in surprise.

The moment is described by the Roman historian Pliny in his Natural History (Book IX). The tension in the scene is increased by the efforts of the servant in the bottom left to control a fine white horse, and the onlookers watching in suspense.

Tiepolo painted Cleopatra’s banquet several times, and this small painting may be an early oil sketch for his famous fresco in the Palazzo Labia in Venice, which he completed in around 1746. As a preliminary study, his style is much looser than in his finished works, but he still uses a delicacy of colour in Cleopatra’s cream dress, the architectural details in subtle pinks and stronger tones of the onlookers’ clothing.
[Source: nationalgallery.org.uk]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Banquet of Cleopatra, The1743-4Oil/CanvasHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Tiepolo, Giovanni Battista1696-1770, aged 74Italian painter VeniceRococo
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1340-24]

National Gallery, London UK46 x 67  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
The Brunette Odalisque is a painting of c1745 by François Boucher, now in the Louvre in Paris. The painter’s signature is engraved on the low table. He later produced two other works in the odalisque genre, both known as The Blonde Odalisque.

An odalisque is a mistress, a female slave and this dark-haired [brune] odalisque is one of several portraits by Boucher who, in painting them, was accused of ‘prostituting his own wife’.
[Source: Wikimedia.commons]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Brunette Odalisque, The ( L’Odalisque brune)c1745Oil/CanvasPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Boucher, François1703-1770French painterRococo
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1340-25]

Musée du Louvre, Paris France53 x 64  
Nattier was noted for his portraits of the ladies of King Louis XV’s court in classical mythological attire.

This portrait was painted in 1746, shortly after the Marquise’s official presentation at Court in September 1745, when she became one of the mistresses of Louis XV.
[Source: Wikimedia commons]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Madame de Pompadour as Diana the Huntress1746Oil/CanvasPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Nattier, Jean-Marc1685-1766, aged 81French painterRococo
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1340-26]

Palace of Versailles, France102 x 82  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
This large pastel is a remarkable and famous portrait commissioned from La Tour by the mistress of Louis XV.

It is on show at the Musée du Louvre, Paris.
[Source: wga.hu]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Marquise de Pompadour1748-55Pastel/PprPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
de la Tour, Maurice Quentin1704-1788, aged 73French painterRococo
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1340-27]

Musée du Louvre, Paris France177 x 130  
This portrait of Mr Robert and Mrs Frances Andrews is the masterpiece of Gainsborough’s early career.

It has been described as a ‘triple portrait’ – of Robert Andrews, his wife and his land.

Behind Mr and Mrs Andrews is a wide view looking south over the valley of the River Stour. Robert Andrews owned nearly 3,000 acres and much of the land we see here belonged to him. Gainsborough has displayed his skills as a painter of convincingly changing weather and naturalistic scenery, which was still a novelty at this time.

The unpainted patch on Mrs Andrews’s lap may have been reserved to later paint a baby.

Surrounded by the beauty of the woods and clouds of the Essex countryside, self-consciously posing beside their fertile harvest field and well-stocked pastures, Mr and Mrs Andrews live on in a moving evocation of themselves at home in their own landscape.
[Source: nationalgallery.org.uk]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Mr and Mrs Robert Andrews1750Oil/CanvasPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Gainsborough, Thomas1727-1788, aged 60English painterRococo
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1340-28]

National Gallery, London UK70 x 119  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
Boucher executed this painting for Madame de Pompadour, the powerful, official mistress of Louis XV and Boucher’s most significant patron from 1747 until her death in 1764.

It originally decorated the bathing apartments (a luxurious suite of three rooms) in Pompadour’s Château de Bellevue. The construction of her château prompted many of the most important commissions of Rococo painting and sculpture.

For a subject that became synonymous with both Boucher and Pompadour, the artist devised a summary of the movement’s key features: overt theatricality, voluptuous flesh, and an asymmetrical unfurling of luxurious furniture, fabric, flowers, and pearls.
[Source: metmuseum.org]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Toilette of Venus, The1751Oil/CanvasHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Boucher, François1703-1770French painterRococo
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1340-29]

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY USA108 x 85  
During the early 1750s, the Venetian artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo painted a series of frescoes for the archbishop’s palace in Würzburg in Germany. This picture is a small oil sketch after one of those scenes, probably made by his son Domenico.

Frederick Barbarossa was Holy Roman Emperor from 1155 to 1190, and married Beatrice of Burgundy in 1156. This painting doesn’t reflect twelfth-century fashions, however the setting and costumes are of a sixteenth-century style, and the figure of the emperor is based on Prince-Bishop Karl Philipp von Greiffenklau, who commissioned the fresco.

Most of the surrounding figures gaze towards the bishop who conducts the ceremony, but not everyone is paying attention. A man on the right and a boy to the left look out of the picture, while a court jester climbs the steps towards a barking dog.
[Source: nationalgallery.org.uk]

Image source: wga.hu
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Marriage of the Emperor Frederick and Beatrice of Burgundy1751FrescoHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Tiepolo, Giovanni Battista1696-1770, aged 74Italian painter VeniceRococo
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1340-30]

Würzburg Residence, Residenzplatz 2, 97070 Würzburg, Germany400 x 500  

Image source:
astrologyandart.wordpress.com
The canvas, which is among Tiepolo’s largest and most dazzling oil sketches, represents Apollo about to embark on his daily course across the sky. Deities around the sun god symbolize the planets and allegorical figures on the cornice represent the Four Continents.

On April 20, 1752, Tiepolo presented this preliminary sketch to Carl Philipp von Greiffenklau, prince-bishop of Würzburg, as his proposal for the decoration of the staircase ceiling of the Residenz, often considered the artist’s greatest achievement and a landmark of European painting.
[Source: metmuseum.org]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Allegory of the Planets and Continents1752Oil/CanvasHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Tiepolo, Giovanni Battista1696-1770, aged 74Italian painter VeniceRococo
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1340-31]

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY USA185 x 139  
Almost all of the paintings from the Hôtel Rouillé de l’Étang apparently include a water feature, in this case a basin overflowing into a stream forded by a flock of sheep.

To the left is a shepherd with his dog, and to the right, a boy who washes his hat at the fountain. The curving aqueduct occupies the middle distance.
[Source: metmuseum.org]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Aqueduct in Ruinsc1753Oil/CanvasLandscape
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Robert, Hubert1733-1808, aged 74French painterRococo
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1340-32]

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY USA82 x 138  

Image source: louvre.fr
Among the sculptors of France in the 1700s, Jean-Baptiste Pigalle achieved unprecedented honors and wealth. Pigalle’s beginnings, however, were humble. Like many French artists, Pigalle traveled to Rome. But the young sculptor came from a family of artisans so he paid his own way there.

After studying in Rome for five years, Pigalle returned to France in 1740 where he conceived the model for his most well known sculpture, a seated statue of Mercury. This graceful and animated rendering was an immediate success. Pigalle was accepted into the Académie Royale and soon began receiving commissions from Louis XV and his entourage.
[Source: getty.edu]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Mercury attaching his wings1753MarbleSculpture
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Pigalle, Jean-Baptiste1714-1785, aged 71French sculptorRococo
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1340-33]

Musée du Louvre, Paris France58 x 35 x 33  
Mengs was a German (Saxon) painter, active in Dresden, Rome and Madrid, who while painting in the Rococo period of the mid-18th century became one of the precursors to Neoclassical painting, which replaced Rococo as the dominant painting style.

At Mengs death this painting was unfinished.

Formerly in the collection of Catherine the Great, today the painting is on show at the Hermitage.
[Source: hermitagemuseum.org]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Judgement of Paris1757Oil/CanvasHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Mengs, Anton Raphael1728 – 1779, aged 51German painterRococo
LOCATION:SIZE (cms):  
State Hermitage Museum, Palace Square, 2, St Petersburg, Russia, 190001226 x 296  

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Back to 1.3.3 Baroque Index – Back to 1.3.2 High Renaissance and Mannerism
Forward to 1.3.5 Neoclassicism (1750-1830)

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