Rococo, French Baroque and Classicism - Essay Example

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The essay "Rococo, French Baroque and Classicism" explores in what ways was rococo art a reaction against the French Baroque and Classicism and howow did rococo art represent the prerogatives of the aristocracy and, why were Enlightenment philosophers critical of this movement…
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Rococo, French Baroque and Classicism
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In what ways was rococo art a reaction against the French Baroque and icism?  Rococo was derived from the French word rocaille, for rock and shell garden ornamentation and as an art movement developed in 18th century and emphasized “pastel colors, sinuous curves, and patterns based on flowers, vines, and shells. Painters turned from grandiloquence to the sensual surface delights of color and light, and from weighty religious and historical subjects” (, nd). It was a reaction against the French Baroque and Classicism that emphasized strict rules, symmetry and grandeur. Unlike in the French Baroque and Classicism, Rococo used a more jocular, graceful and assymetrical approach to the Baroque.
Neoclassicism art can be said to be an academic art from which philosophical meanings can be derived such as the parts sums up the whole where relationship of a figure is derived, thus the importance of symmetry and as a final result, an idealized figure is formed. Rococo art form goes against this artistic perspective because instead of following regulations in art form, it rather emphasized elegance, movement and aesthetics and does not strive for any philosophical meaning in art other than its aesthetic appeal.
How did rococo art represent the prerogatives of the aristocracy?
Rococo art is characterized by elegance compared to the classical approach which emphasized grandeur and symmetry making it a prerogative and preference of the aristocracy. It is more ornate whose approach complements the overall architecture and paintings of a home or structure and is praised for its aesthetic qualities. It objective is to appeal to the senses of its audience rather than evoke or stimulate the intellect. It strives for no deeper meaning other than to be beautiful and ornamental. Thus, it serves the elegant taste and ornamental use of the aristocrats making it their prerogative.
For example, the murals that adorn the buildings and the homes of the aristocrats in the eighteenth century were Rococo in approach attesting their preference and for the art movement.
 Why were Enlightenment philosophers critical of this movement?
The Rococo as an art movement was not received well from its inception and had been criticized as superficial owing to its ornamental and aesthetic approach. This criticism came from the perspective of the prevailing art genre during that time which was French Baroque and Classicism. As an art movement, it even took a while for Rococo art to be formally recognized by art historians that only in the mid nineteenth century was it formally recognized.
Having said this, philosophers became critical of the Rococo movement because it emphasizes elegance and aesthetics which run in contrast to philosophy which emphasizes depth and search for meaning. Philosophy is also particular about rules, symmetry and harmony which Rococo as an art movement was created to go against. Instead, it emphasized asymmetry, fluidity and movement rather than the idealized form of a figure. Thus, philosophers criticized it as superficial, vain and even sensual because it ptutatively does not elevate the soul nor develop the mind.
18th-Century France: The Rococo and Watteau. (n.d.). 18th-Century France: The Rococo and Watteau. Retrieved July 23, 2014, from Read More
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