The Paintings of Rococo, Neoclassicism, and Romanticism

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As the 17th century drew to a close, artists captured the optimistic mood with the Rococo style of painting. It had a cheerful and pastel atmosphere that radiated the affable attitude that accompanied the close of the Renaissance era. "Pilgrimage by Cythera" is one of the finer examples of the Rococo style.


The subjects are well mannered, smartly attired, and joining in lighthearted conversation. "Pilgrimage by Cythera" draws the viewer into the scene with its non-threatening use of composition. Rococo paintings would often use a touch of nudity and coy scenes to elicit a feeling of naughtiness.
The end of the 18th century witnessed a return to a more formal style of painting known as Neoclassicism. More serious subjects replaced the gaiety of Rococo and color became more dark and brooding. The "Oath of the Horatii", commissioned in 1784, was painted by Jacques-Louis David (Jacques-Louis David). It is a sharply contrasted painting with sharp edges and depicting conflict. The painting uses abrupt angles to capture a cold and rigid feeling. In David's painting we see the intricate attention to detail that is displayed in the architecture and the metal swords reflect the sharpness of the tone. The women are sullen as if saddened by an upcoming loss or introspecting on their subservient position that was common of the period.
The period of 1800-1850 saw the introduction of Romanticism in art. The paintings were often directed toward nationalism and regularly used to portray historical events. In Eugne Delacroix's "Massacre at Chios" we see Greeks waiting their impending slaughter by the Turks (Massacre at Chios). ...
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