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Entries in Rococo (7)


The Cats’ Meow!

Six studies of a cat - 1765-70 - Black and white chalk on grey paper, 310 x 447 mm - Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (click photo for larger image)Here we see we see extremely lifelike images of a cat in typically feline poses—masterfully rendered by the great English painter Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788). Considered the most versatile painter of the 18th century—and best known for his portraits and landscapes, this chalk drawing is unusual for the artist. He seldom portrayed animals. Tradition holds that the artist produced this drawing as a gift to his hostess while staying at her home. Gainsborough did not typically sign his drawings, but he signed this one, which probably confirms it as a gift.



Canaletto - Venice: The Bacino from the Giudecca - c. 1740 - Oil on canvas, 130 x 191 cm - Wallace Collection, London (click photo for larger image)Venetian painter Giovanni Antonio Canal (1697-1768) was the son of a well-known scenery painter, Bernardo Canal. The artist soon came to be called 'Canaletto' (meaning small canal). Canaletto received his training in the studio of his father and his brother, with whom he continued to collaborate for several years. He became the most famous “view-painter” of the 18th century. The painting featured here is a very fine example of the master’s work.


The Italian Rococo

Francesco Guardi - Il Ridotto (The Foyer) - 1755 - Oil on canvas, 108 x 208 cm - Museo del Settecento Veneziano, Ca' Rezzonico, Venice (click photo for larger image)Italian Rococo painter Francesco Guardi (1712-1793) was the best known among a family of artists and definitely one of the most famous painters of the 18th century. Although he is best known as a “view painter” — he tacked a wide array of subjects during his career, particularly earlier on. Venetians would gather in the “ridotti" (foyers) of theaters to socialize and engage in various pastimes. The Senate issued repeated proclamations banning their use as gambling halls. This painting features the Sala Grande of the foyer at the Palazzo Dandolo, prior to  a 1768 refurbishment.


Time Unveiling Truth

Jean-Françoise de Troy - An Allegory of Time Unveiling Truth - 1733 - Oil on canvas - National Gallery, London (click photo for larger image)Jean-Françoise de Troy (1679-1752) was a French Rococo painter and tapestry designer—and one of a family of painters. Something of a heavy handler—his results could often be a curious blend of the prosaic and the painterly, as instanced in the Allegory of Time unveiling Truth. There is something ludicrous about Time's would-be flying figure, suspended so awkwardly and with his legs oddly detached. Altogether, as allegory, the composition remains prosaically earthbound.


The Delicate Rococo

Actors from the Comédie Française - Watteau - c. 1720 - Oil on canvas, 57 x 73 cm - Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (click photo for larger image)The Progress of Love: The Pursuit - Fragonard - 1773 - Oil on canvas, 318 x 216 cm - Frick Collection, New York Designations: Rococo and 18th Century European Painting (click photo for larger image)The grandeur and extravagance of the Baroque era was replaced by Rococo Art, in Europe, during the early days of the 18th century. It was most popular in France, and is generally associated with the reign of King Louis XV (1715-1774). The Rococo is a light, elaborate and decorative style of art--and much more intimate in terms of size and subject matter. Two quintessentially Rococo artists are Jean-Antoine Watteau and Jean-Honoré Fragonard.

Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721) was regarded as the greatest French painter of his period and one of the key figures of the Rococo.

Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806) ( ) developed, from his beginnings as a pupil and follower of François Boucher, into the most brilliant and versatile artist in 18th-century France.