Guiding Question- How can the realistic world be presented in a fancy way?
Welcome to Year 7 art. In this unit we will looking at the Rococo Art style. Below are some examples of Rococo paintings, interior design, furniture and sculpture from the early 18th Century.
Charles André van Loo, Halte de Chasse, 1737
Pilgrimage Church of Weis, Wieskirche
Cup and Saucer, Serves Porcelain Factory France 1780
Franz Anton Bustelli, Nymphenburg porcelain, 1760
To understand Rococo Art we need to be aware of the social environment of the time.
Baroque-Rembrandt, The Night Watch, 1642
Rococo-François Boucher,’ Le Dejeuner’,1739
At the beginning of the 1700’s France was considered a world power with great influence upon world affairs. The monarch Louis XIV had successfully managed the country to become a powerful global economic, military and cultural powerhouse. The French people enjoyed a period of prosperity where their culture had significant influence over the rest of the Europe as well as their colonial interests in India, Canada and North America. Life was good and people, particularly the rich, made the most of it!
Rococo began in France in the early 18th Century and encompassed a wide area of the Arts including painting, architecture, interior design, fashion, sculpture, music, literature and theatre. It came about due to artists’ rejection of the Baroque style, which they considered overly formal and stiff. The Rococo style symbolized the hedonism of the French upper classes as well as the flourishing French society.
Jean-Honore Fragonard, ‘The Stolen Kiss’, 1788
Rococo themes often revolved around aristocrats at play in idealistic surroundings. Romantic scenes depicting extravagantly dressed men and women flirting, picnicking and frolicking at luxurious country parties. Cherubs where included to create a sense of whimsy. Observe carefully the artists attention to the folds of the dress and scarf. The light catches on the edges of the folds creating a glittering effect. Look at the relationship between the couple, the young boy is confident white the girl is more reserved and appears to be caught off guard, this clever artwork captures the entire incident with one simple gesture.
Jean-Honore, ‘Happy Accidents on the Swing’, 1767-68.
It was the surrounding scenery that captured the artist’s imagination. Events usually took place in lush natural settings, where delicate trees and blossoming flowers were painted using soft light pastels to create a sense of serenity and warmth, which enclosed the human forms. Jean Honore’s painting’ Happy Accidents on the Swing’ is a perfect example how artist started looking at nature more closely started making the natural environment and essential part of the composition. Also in this artwork Honore use light to enhance the joy the young woman is experiencing on the swing. The vibrant pink dress flows as she swings through the air to create a sense of movement. The billowing dress also simulates the forest in the way the branches sway in the breeze.
Burghley-Epergne Centre piece
The lighthearted themes and ornate designs were hugely popular and influenced the way craftsmen designed interiors, ornaments and furniture. The principal aesthetic qualities of Rococo design was the use of asymmetrical organic shapes, where the artists choice of decoration was inspired by nature. Look at the above image of Burghley-Epergne centerpiece. Notice how there are no straight lines and that the natural forms vary in size and shape. While this ornate design maintains a formal balanced appearance, it is only when you look closer you see the wealth of subtle variation that creates a sense of energy and playfulness, which brings this artwork to life.
Rococo Inspired Patterns
TASK: In your work book create a simple Rococo inspired design. Include asymmetrical organic shapes that reflect your natural world in Hong Kong. In pencil, draw your design in as much detail as possible. When you’re finished, outline your design in black felt tip pen. Make sure you fill the whole page and use available space efficiently. You can do more than one design if you like. Look below for some examples of Rococo design.
Contemporary Rococo Inspired Designs
Lino cut is a block print making technique. It is a variation of woodcut printing, where linoleum is used for the relief surface instead of wood.
A design is cut into the surface of the linoleum using a special shaped gauge. The uncarved or ‘raised’ areas will be visible when printed.
Lino cut printing was made popular by the by artists of the Die Brücke in Germany between 1905 -15. The Die Brücke where largely responsible for their revival of woodcut techniques in the early 20th century, but with invention of linoleum they quickly adapted this light weight and soft material to create a new type of block printing.
Karl Schmidt Rottluf, 1910, Woodcut on Creme woven paper, 29.4 x 38.4cm
M.C. Escher, Escher’s father, G.A. Escher, 1916, Linocut print, 22.5cm x 16.4cm
Margret Preston, Circular Quay, 1925, woodcut hand painted with gouache on ivory mulbberry paper
Henri Matisse, La Frégate, 1938, Linocut on woven paper.
Pablo Picasso, Still life with glass under the lamp, 1962, Linocut, 53 x 64cm
Two- colour lino print demonstration