Rococo Art Exhibition
Taken from the Wallace, Clark, and Thyssen-Bornemisza collections and the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., this exhibition takes us back to Rococo period Europe during the eighteenth century, featuring paintings, engravings, and architecture from Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Giambattista Tiepolo, Francois Boucher, Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli and Antoine Aveline.
The Rococo period is extremely reminiscent of the detail oriented, manneristic Baroque period. But unlike Baroque style art, painters and architects approached their pieces more playfully and floridy, using lighter colors, asymmetry, and curvature.
The exhibition highlights the subtle beauty of one of the most overlooked periods in art history taking place from the Death of Louis XIV in 1715 to the Revolution of 1789. An exploration of a variety of mediums including canvas, panel, and laid paper contributed to the flourishing of a truly remarkable evolution of art.
The Swing, The Swing, ca. 1767; Rococo Period
Oil on canvas - 81 x 64.2 cm
Ownership of the painting began with M.-F. Ménage de Pressigny, a tax farmer who died in 1794. It was then taken by the revolutionary government and later acquired by the marquis des Razins de Saint-Marc and the Duc de Morny. After Morny’s death in 1865 is was bought in an auction by Lord Hertford, the founder of the Wallace collection.
The Swing became one of Fragonard’s best paintings and one of the masterpieces of the Rococo era. But this “frivolous” style of artwork was soon heavily criticized by philosophers of the Enlightenment, who wanted more serious art that showed man's’ nobility.
Vulcan Presenting Arms to Venus for Aeneas, 1756; Rococo
Oil on canvas - 41.2 x 45.3 cm
The painting was first exhibited in the Paris Salon in 1757 and then owned by the marquis de Marigny, an art administrator for King Louis XV and owner of the Clark collection, who appointed Boucher and three other artists to produce a series of four paintings devoted to the loves of the gods.
This painting, a favorite of Boucher himself, depicts the moment in the eighth book of Virgil’s The Aeneid where the goddess Venus collects the weapons that she seduced her husband, Vulcan, to craft. Boucher uses the dream-like brushstrokes and rich color reminiscent of the previous Baroque period to bring life to this epic moment in The Aeneid.
The Death of Hyacinthus, ca. 1752; Rococo
Oil on canvas - 232 x 287 cm
The painting was acquired by Baron Wilhelm Friedrich Schaumburg-Lippe in Bückeburg directly from Tiepolo. While in possession of his heirs, the princes of Schaumburg-Lippe, it was included in an exhibition in Berlin of Italian painting. The painting was held by the family until 1934 when it entered the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection.
The painting shows a lot of the irony that Tiepolo became famous for; having the two subjects posed in such a dramatic way while the audience remains silent, and the statue of Pan peering over at the scene as to not miss the event. While the painting encompasses many of the styles and techniques of other Rococo period paintings, this is the first to have illustrated death by a tennis match.
l'Heureux Moment, 1736; Rococo
Etching with engraving on laid paper - 33.2 x 25.4 cm
Saint Andrew’s Church, 1747-1762; Rococo
Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli
The church was constructed by the order of Russian empress Elisabeth as a part of Ksiv Tsar’s Residence.
Rastrelli, a master of Baroque style architecture, successfully combined the styles of Russian, Western and European Baroque creating a style known as Rastrelli’s or Elizabeth’s Baroque. St. Andrew’s church remained a masterpiece in its style and served to later inspire hundreds of religious edifices to be built.
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"L'heureux Moment." British Museum. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.