Let’s get Physical – The Rococo


Francois Boucher

Bacchus and Erigone, 1745

The paining featured above is a classic example of the style from the moment of the Rococo. Here we see two ladies lounging with their breasts exposed, as you do, doing what most artists of this time did; turning something of classical mysticism into something that would make more sense when turned into scenes of ravished innocents, and I am sure the commissioner agreed.

So what are the key features to look out for when looking upon art from this intriguing era of art? First of all the period of Rococo came about in the early 18th century  and stems from the French word ‘rocaille’ meaning ‘shell-work’, a recurring motif in Rococo interior decoration. It was also designed to reflect the cultivated and sophisticated society with it’s aristocratic patrons, it was a brief supreme.

The style is recognized by its light colours, deft brushwork, shimmering surfaces and the depiction of rich fabrics, melting skin-tones and rich backgrounds. Rococo belongs mainly as a sub-style to the Baroque and was perhaps the most popular in France and favoured the intimate mythological scenes.

A personal favourite from this era is Jean Honore Fragonard’s Young Woman Playing with Dog (1765-1772)



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