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Styles & Periods
Rococo

In the 18th century, the opulence of the Baroque developed into the Rococo, meaning ‘pebble-work.” Artists of the Rococo sought a more personal relationship to art, in opposition to the grand theatricality of the Baroque. These periods, however, are linked in their images of fantasy. As its name suggests, Rococo works with great curlicues and decoration prevailed, and much of the subject matter was concerned with eroticism and whimsy. In comparison to the Baroque, these subtle shifts resulted in enormous changes. Most importantly, the spectrum of humanity was broadened, and for the first time the family was treated as an important subject, as were scenes of amusement. Although the movement certainly was not contained to France, French artists dominated. Two groups of artists, the Poussinistes and Rubénistes, soon developed and engaged in a longstanding debate over line versus color. The Poussinistes believed that line and drawing appealed to the mind, and was therefore a superior technique around which to construct paintings. The Rubénistes preferred color because of its emotional connection to nature. The best known artist of the Rococo is Antoine Watteau, whose Rubéniste style lent his groundbreaking with elegance and comedy.


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