The Museum of the Enlightenment

A look into how life was like in the 1700s

The 1700s

The Enlightenment was a movement in western society that dramatically changed the way people thought about science, philosophy, and politics. This intellectual movement took place throughout the 1700s. During the 1700s, art changed greatly with periods such as the Baroque period and the Rococo period. Music also changed with composers such as Mozart and Bach leading the way to new forms of music and opera.

Peasant Life

During the 1700s, peasants made up the largest part of society. Peasants were poor people who had to work extremely hard to make a living. They lived in poorly built homes with earth floors. Peasants had to pay to live in their homes and own their land so, they had to pay rent to their landowner which was the person that owned the land in which the peasants lived and worked on. Most peasants worked in the country where they could grow crops but there were still many peasants who couldn't find jobs in the country. These peasants went to different towns or they went to the city to find work. If they were lucky, they could become an apprentice to someone who was looking for one. After being an apprentice for seven years, the peasant had the freedom to open their own business. If they could afford it, peasants enjoyed watching cockfighting or bear bating for their entertainment. The crime rate during this time was very high because of the peasants. Because there was so many poor peasants, many of them would steal which brought the crime rate up.


Art: The Baroque and Rococo Periods

Throughout the Enlightenment, there were two main periods of art. The first period was the Baroque period. The Baroque period was first seen in Italy during the 16th century but this art form was also seen in most of Europe. Artists during this period tried to portray emotion, movement, and variety into their paintings in order to appeal to the senses. Famous artists that were around during this period of art is Caravaggio and Annibale Carracci. The Rococo period followed after the Baroque period. The Rococo period was popular in France but it was also seen throughout Europe. Art created in the Rococo period had a very light, elaborate, and decorative style. Many times, mythical creatures, such as cherubs, could be seen in the paintings.