Art History - Essay Example

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Mannerism was an art form that emerged towards the end of the Renaissance in Italy in 1600’s before Baroque art; Rococo was an 18th century French art movement focusing on style and was more popular in furniture, architecture and sculpture than in paintings.
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Art History
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1. Explain the differences and the similarities between Mannerism and Rocco. Mannerism was an art form that emerged towards the end of the Renaissance in Italy in 1600’s before Baroque art; Rococo was an 18th century French art movement focusing on style and was more popular in furniture, architecture and sculpture than in paintings.
One of the major similarities between Mannerism and Rococo is that both had asymmetric features about their art works, unlike the unity and symmetry found in the Renaissance art. Mannerism was not “balanced and harmonious” like the Renaissance art (“Art History: Mannerism: (1520 - 1600)”, 2009).In fact, Rococo style loved asymmetry, though it was new to the European art. It considered this unbalanced or asymmetrical aspect is a style effect, and called it as “contraste”.
Another subtle similarity could be their love of exaggeration and decoration. Mannerism was inclined to portray anything, especially human form, in an exaggeratedly than realistically; they used artificial colors and unrealistic proportions. In most cased, the figures were exaggerated, placed in unimaginable poses. It was “unsettling and strange”. Rococo loved decoration, though it did not focus on human forms. For example, Rococo paintings had an element of “naughtiness or impurity in the behavior of their subjects”, which can be associated with unrealistic nature of the objects of Mannerism.
The first difference between Mannerism and Rococo is that Mannerism is not “natural, graceful” like the high Renaissance art; it uses “clashing colors, disquieting figures with abnormally elongated limbs, (often torturous-looking) emotion and bizarre themes”, however, Rococo uses “undulating lines and S-curves prominent in Rococo are the basis for grace and beauty in art or nature; (“Rococo”, 2009; “Art History: Mannerism: (1520 - 1600)”, 2009). So Rococo is more akin to Renaissance in portraying the gracefulness in nature than Mannerism.
Yet another difference is that Mannerism “combines Classicism, Christianity and mythology”, but Rococo’s use of curved lines was “unlike the straight line or the circle in Classicism” (“Rococo”, 2009; “Art History: Mannerism: (1520 - 1600)”, 2009).
Mannerism was often considered “technically masterful” whereas the critics of Rococo had pointed out its frivolous nature due to its focus on decorative arts and interior design and the importance it gave to the style component, despite its taste for the complex and intricate forms of Baroque art. Rococo had light hearted themes depicted in a fashionable style.
As Rococo is more known for its style and decoration that explains its popularity in architecture and indoor design, especially in France, the upper class patronized this art form, which had “metal work and frills” (“Rococo”, 2009). So, many critics have pointed out at its superficiality, which is yet another difference between Mannerism and Rococo.
To add to the list, the depiction of landscape was often “pastoral” and as places for “outings of aristocratic couples”, but Mannerism portrayed landscape with “menacing colors”; for example, the sky in Mannerism “was filled with flying animals, malevolent putti, Grecian columns” while Rococo would have had it pleasant and perfect as a clear sky (“Rococo”, 2009; “Art History: Mannerism: (1520 - 1600)”, 2009)
2)Describe the similarity/difference the style and politics between the Goyas "Family of Charles IV" and Courbet, "The Burial at Ornans”
Both the paintings, one of the royal family and the other of a group of mourners at a burial ceremony have been portrayed as “a mocking, satirical…as ornately dressed puppets rather than as real, meaningful individuals” (Benson, 2001); “in the group of The Family of Charles IV, Goya, despite his position as court painter, has portrayed the ugliness and vulgarity of the principal figures so vividly as to produce the effect of caricature”(The Family of Charles IV”, 2009). Similarly, Courbet’s painting does not add any expression of grief or mourning in the face of the people portrayed and they just seem to be caricatures.
Though Goya’s painting is Romanticist in its style, it can also be called a realistic portrayal because of the “disinclination to flatter” (Weems, 2006). In this sense, it is similar to the realistic nature of “The Burial at Ornans”.
Another subtle similarity is that Goya has the painter at the easel at the background and the family in the foreground depicting a “united, strong, and regal monarchy, and a shockingly naturalistic—in some cases even grotesque—group portrait”, while also is intent on satire of governments (Voorhies. , 2003).
The first significant difference between Goya and Courbet in the two given paintings, with reference to their styles, is that they are Romanticist and Realistic respectively. Goya’s “Family of Charles IV” exemplifies Romanticism and is seen in the “free, painterly brushstrokes characteristic of the Romantic movement…in the implied but indistinctdetails of the embellished clothing in The Family of Charles IV” (Benson, 2001); however, Courbet, is an anti-romanticist in his style, and in particular in his “The Burian at Ornans” he declares that it is “the burial of Romanticism." Courbet’s painting is realistic unlike the romanticist style of Goya.
Politically, both the paintings differ in their ideology and concepts. Goya was a court painter and worked for the Royal family, but never strived to flatter them in the paintings. He has captured the “political and social views of the Enlightenment in his painting” (Benson, 2001), while Courbet propagated socialist and democratic ideas and wanted to be free of any government.
“Art History: Mannerism: (1520 - 1600)” 2009. 15 Nov. 09 .
Benson, Julia E. “Romanticism as Embodied by Goya and Turner” 2001. 15 Nov 2009 “Rococo”. 2009. 15 Nov 2009
"The Family of Charles IV." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 15 Nov. 2009 .
Voorhies, James. "Francisco de Goya (1746–1828) and the Spanish Enlightenment". In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. (October 2003)
Weems, Erik E. “The Family of Charles IV” 2006. 15 Nov 2009 . Read More
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