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Rococo And Romanticism Essay

927 words - 4 pages

Antoine Watteau's painting, L'Indifferent, 1716, oil on canvas, 25cm x 18cm and Eugene Delacroix's Paganini, 1831, oil on cardboard on wood panel, approx. 43cm x 28cm have been selected to represent the Rococo and Romanticism periods respectively.

Rococo was a style of art that followed on from the Baroque period in the early 18th century. The artists of this style typically depicted themes of "love, artfully and archly pursued through erotic frivolity and playful intrigue". 1 Both the art and interior design of the time displayed a sense of rhythm in which "[e]verything seemed organic, growing, and in motion, an ultimate refinement of illusion". 2 The artists of this period were also ...view middle of the document...

There is, nevertheless, a similarity in the two poses that suggests motion, as both performers seem to be caught in mid movement. This dynamic quality was not typical of the other art movements prior to or during the 18th century, where portraits tended to depict people in staid, sober poses.

Watteau's painting of the dancer seems soft and flouncy, yet it is obvious that it is a well thought out work. The writer's choice of language have indicated the conditional nature of the observations. The colours are used to compliment and support the painting's composition, with the hue of the foliage seemingly reflected in the velvet of the dancer's clothes. The colour used in the cape has also been added to the accessories on the shoe and hat. Both of these examples of the use of colour show how the clever composition of the painting successfully draws the viewer's eye around it. When expressing the difference between the Baroque and Rococo periods, one art critic noted that "[Rococo] aimed no longer at astounding the spectator with the marvellous, but rather at amusing him with the ingenious." 6 This statement demonstrates that the attention to compositional detail is both a necessary element of the Rococo period and also of this work by Watteau.

Delacroix's painting Paganini also displays a strong attention to colour. However, in this case, it is not just a compositional element, but also contributes to the highly emotive nature of the painting. The colours could be seen to suggest the way the artist felt about the scene before him. This portrayal of the dancer's performance, using the poignant yet subtle blends of dark earthy background colours which contrast with the smooth deep black tones in...

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