Decorative style - 18th century

Lecture at the National Gallery Oct, 2002

Shallow or Serious?

Oxford definition of Rococo - excessively or tastelessly decorative or florid.

Expresses the British attitude towards this art.

    Shallow Examples

A Rococo Leda and The Swan

The Swan is Jupiter whom impregnates Leda who lays two eggs. Pagan union with God. Similiar to Medici tomb: Night

Goddess Diana by Titian.

Fierce wreaking the landscape. Rococo jewelry of the moon (moon goddess)

Wallis Collection

Artist Boucher. Worked for Madame Pomppador (sp?)

30 yrs ago – no Rococo in painting just architecture and decorative arts.

Serious Examples

The picture of the irish girl for Louis the XV’s (husband of Mdm Poppador) pleasure, the expression on her face, not happy, very real, you feel her fear.

He also talked about Canelletto’s decorative ships (Italian)


Best Rococo architecture is in Germany, Munich.

Spain – Goya, earlier but sinister – Romantic

Influence in England?? Gainsborough??  Hogarth – laughs at French taste, wrote analysis of beauty, the serpentine line is best!- the Rococo line.