Friday, November 27, 2015


For all the videos in order with a textbook and study guides please visit:

The Last Half of the Baroque French Art 1700 - c1790
The French Baroque, The Enlightenment and Versailles

The movie the "Man in the Iron Mask" was filmed at Vaux le Vicomte which for the film producers was a low rent Versailles.  But the painting at right was an important anachronistic prop!

Hyacinthe Rigaud 
Portrait of Louis XIV (14th) 
1701Oil on canvas 9'2''x7''
Located in Louvre, Paris

Velázquez' 1599-1660 
Pope Innocent X (the Tenth) 1650
oil on canvas Spanish, Baroque 

Hyacinthe Rigaud 
Portrait of Louis XIV (14th) 
1701 Oil on canvas 9'2''x7''
Located in Louvre, Paris
These two paintings are both Baroque renderings of important leaders from the 1600's.  One of them represents the older more theological traditions of Europe and the other represents the "Enlightenment," although after learning about him you may find that he really wasn't.  The way in which they are portrayed are important clues as to how each of these rulers ruled there people and how they saw the world.  You will be given an assignment in which you will be asked to compare and contrast these two paintings and come up with some conclusions as to how each ruler is portrayed formally and iconographically.  You will be asked what this might mean about each ruler and the manner in which they governed.

VELÁZQUEZ 1599-1660 
Pope Innocent X (the Tenth) 1650
oil on canvas Spanish, Baroque 
 Innocent X 
 b. May 7, 1574, Rome d. Jan. 7, 1655, Rome original name GIOVANNI BATTISTA PAMPHILI, OR GIAMBATTISTA PAMFILI, pope from 1644 to 1655. Pamphili was a church judge under Pope Clement VIII and a papal representative at Naples for Pope Gregory XV. He was made ambassador to Spain and cardinal (1626) by Pope Urban VIII, whom he succeeded on Sept. 15, 1644. Having been supported by cardinals who had opposed his predecessor, Innocent reversed Urban's policies, as demonstrated by his condemnation of the Peace of Westphalia--the collective name for the settlements of 1648, which brought to an end the Eighty Years' War between Spain and the Dutch and the German phase of the Thirty Years' War and alienated Catholic lands. But he reigned at a time when popes were no longer consulted by nations in settling war or making peace, and his protest went unnoticed by both sides.  Innocent's relationship with his relatives was questionable, for he was guilty of nepotism, and much of his pontificate was dominated by his avaricious sister-in-law, Olimpia Maidalchini. Innocent supported the Spanish Habsburgs--a branch of one of the great sovereign dynasties of Europe--by refusing to recognize the independence of Portugal, then at war with Spain. In Rome, Innocent attacked Urban's relatives, the Barberini, for extortion and confiscated their property. He clashed with France when the Barberini took refuge in Paris with Cardinal Mazarin, whose threat to invade Italy forced Innocent to yield. In theological matters he intervened in the quarrel between the Jesuits and the Jansenists and in a bull of 1653 condemned five propositions concerning the nature of grace as interpreted by Bishop Cornelius Jansen, the founder of Jansenism. A century of controversy with the Jansenists ensued, which was particularly damaging to the French Church. By the time of Innocent's death, papal prestige had seriously declined. 
 "Innocent X."   Britannica 2001 Standard Edition CD-ROM.   Copyright © 1994-2001 Inc.   December 26, 2002. 
Important clue:  The Vatican is where Pope Innocent lived and worked.

Hyacinthe Rigaud 
Portrait of Louis XIV (14th) 
1701 Oil on canvas 9'2''x7''
Located in Louvre, Paris
(See page 757)
 Louis XIV 
 b. Sept. 5, 1638, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Fr. d. Sept. 1, 1715, Versailles byname LOUIS THE GREAT, LOUIS THE GRAND MONARCH, OR THE SUN KING, French LOUIS LE GRAND, LOUIS LE GRAND MONARQUE, OR LE ROI SOLEIL, king of France (1643-1715) who ruled his country, principally from his great palace at Versailles, during one of its most brilliant periods and who remains the symbol of absolute monarchy of the classical age. Internationally, in a series of wars between 1667 and 1697, he extended France's eastern borders at the expense of the Habsburgs and then, in the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14), engaged a hostile European coalition in order to secure the Spanish throne for his grandson. Throughout his long reign Louis XIV (1643-1715) never lost the hold over his people he had assumed at the beginning. He worked hard to project his authority in the splendid setting of Versailles, to depict it in his arrogant motto: "Nec pluribus impar" ("None his equal"), and in his sun emblem. He buttressed his authority with the divine-right doctrines elaborated by Bishop Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet and proclaimed it across Europe by force of arms. Yet he made surprisingly few institutional or administrative changes in the structure of government. Like Richelieu, Louis used the system that he had inherited and adapted it to suit his own personality and outlook. This practice may be seen first in his attitude to the machinery of central government.
. . . the king never allowed the great nobles a similar opportunity for revolt. Versailles became a place of surveillance for pensioned noblemen and their families whose only serious occupation was the traditional one of arms, for the pursuit of which Louis provided ample opportunities. The second rebellious group in the Frondes, the members of the Parlement of Paris, were likewise subjected to stringent controls. In 1673 Louis produced regulations stipulating that the court's remonstrances against royal enactments sent to it could in future only be made after the laws concerned had been registered. By this device the king effectively muzzled the magistrates' criticisms of royal policy. It was equally his intention to overcome the delaying tactics of the provincial courts, especially those situated close to vulnerable frontiers.
 "The age of Louis XIV."   Britannica 2001 Standard Edition CD-ROM.   Copyright © 1994-2001 Inc.   December 26, 2002. 
Important clue:  Versailles is where Louis XIV lived and worked.

mansard roof
Philibert Le Roy: Started Remodeling 
Palace of Versailles 1668-1685
Louis Le Vau: Decorated Facade
Charles Lebrun: Architect/Decorator Coordinated all the decorations
Andre Le Nôtre: Gardens
Jules Hardouin Mansard: Architect
Nicolas Fouquet: Treasurer According to the Brittanica Versailles was,
The original residence, built from 1631 to 1634, was primarily a hunting lodge and private retreat for Louis XIII (reigned 1610-43) and his family. Under the guidance of Louis XIV (1643-1715), it was transformed (1661-1710) into an immense and extravagant complex surrounded by stylized English and French gardens; every detail of its construction glorified the king. The additions were designed by such renowned architects as Jules Hardouin-Mansart, Robert de Cotte, and Louis Le Vau. Charles Le Brun oversaw the interior decoration. Landscape artist André Le Nôtre created symmetrical French gardens that included ornate fountains with "magically" still water, expressing the power of humanity--and, specifically, the king--over nature. Declared the official royal residence in 1682 and the official residence of the Court of France on May 6, 1682, the Palace of Versailles was abandoned after the death of Louis XIV in 1715. In 1722, however, it was returned to its status as royal residence. Further additions were made during the reigns of Louis XV (1715-74) and Louis XVI (1774-92). Following the French Revolutionof 1789, the complex was nearly destroyed; it was subsequently restored by Louis-Philippe (1830-48), but its utility gradually decreased. By the 20th century, though it was occasionally used for plenary congresses of the French parliament or to house visiting heads of state, the primary utility of the palace lay in tourism.
The French Baroque style at Versailles can best be summed up as follows: Almost all the rooms, paintings and ornamentation uses many different kind of materials.  Usually the designs contain almost no straight lines and it use a variety of classical forms.  The designs are also meant to be somewhat theatrical and many of its qualities are meant to be surprising, unexpected and labor intensive.
The palace itself is over a quarter of a mile long
Make sure you read Stokstad "French Baroque Garden Design." page 780 Form:  Overall the gardens and estate take up more than four square miles of land.  Originally the land was swampland and Louis exercising his power as the "Sun King" (He believed he was Apollo on the earth.) drained the swamp and literally transformed the land into a paradise. 
Across this mathematically precise landscape (see Stokstad for an in depth discussion) were radiating pathways that look like star shaped patterns.  There were long flat basins of water as well as fountains that were run by an intricate hydraulic system that ran beneath the gardens. 
Iconography:  The gardens and palace at Versailles are the ultimate expression of the enlightenment and of Louis' power as a monarch.
Enlightenment philosophy is expressed in two ways.  First, it shows man's power over nature.  Literally nature has been transformed through man's enlightened science.  Second, the radiating patterns recall the sun.  Imagery of the sun is often referred to as "solar imagery" and it represents the light of reason.  Solar imagery also represent Louis who referred to himself as Apollo and the "Sun King."
Louis' power is expressed in the solar imagery but also in the cost that was incredible in terms of human lives and it drained the states coffers as well as increased the taxation of the nobles.

Hydraulic Network beneath the gardens


The Orangerie
Iconography:  The Orangerie is somewhat portable and extravagant orchard of orange trees.  The orange relates to solar imagery in that in terms of mythology, oranges were considered the "golden apples" of the sun and are therefore linked to Apollo.  Fresh fruit and oranges in particular were also a luxury item and this is an expression of Louis' power just to have them.
The "Basin of Apollo" and the statue of Apollo surrounded by fountains are also part of this solar imagery.  The basin and the statue face east (where the sun rises) and tie in with the myth of Apollo who rides the chariot of the sun across the sky. 
The fountain would have been activated when Louis went for his walks in the morning and the chariot's jets would have made it appear as if the horses on Apollo's great chariot were sending up sprays of water.
Again the control of nature and resources such as water combined with hydraulic technologies would be both an expression of Louis' power and also of enlightenment thinking which was perceived as rationality over disorder.

parterre -- a level and patterned garden

Hyacinthe Rigaud 
Portrait of Louis XIV (14th) 
1701 Oil on canvas 9'2''x7''
Located in Louvre, Paris
Iconography:  If you look closely at Louis' robe you will see the same "flower" on his garment as is sculpted into the topiary of the parterre.  This symbol is called the fleur de lis.  According to the Brittanica,
also spelled FLEUR-DE-LYS, OR FLEUR-DE-LUCE ("lily flower"), stylized emblem or device much used in ornamentation and, particularly, in heraldry, long associated with the French crown. Strictly, it consists of three petals or leaves--the central one erect, the other two curving right and left away from it--joined by a horizontal band below which the smaller feet of the three petals are visible. Variant forms are the fleur-de-lis au pied coupé, or au pied nourri, in which the feet are absent or are replaced by a trapezoid pedestal, and the fleur-de-lis remplie, or florencée, or épanouie, with stamens shown between the petals and with the petals themselves divided like flowers at their upper extremities. If a lily is represented naturalistically in heraldry, it is called a lis-de-jardin ("garden lily") to distinguish it from the stylized fleur-de-lis. An emblem similar to the fleur-de-lis is often found in art from the earliest times in many parts of the world and may not always signify a flower. The principal importance of the emblem, however, derives from its long association with the French royal arms. There is a legend that a lily, emblematic of purity, was sent from heaven to the Frankish king Clovis (c. 466-511) at his Baptism, and it has been suggested that the name fleur-de-lis is a pun on fleur de Louis (Louis-Clovis); but perhaps the figure was derived from that of a dove descending, symbolic of the Holy Spirit. Louis VI of France used the device both as his seal and on coins; Louis VIII wore blue vestments embroidered with gold lilies at his consecration; and soon a blue shield sprinkled with golden fleurs-de-lis was adopted as the royal arms. Charles V of France in 1376 limited the number of fleurs-de-lis to three, in honour of the Holy Trinity. The association of the device with the French crown led to its inclusion in the arms of numerous gentlemen and municipalities in France, and the English kings during the Hundred Years' War began quartering the French arms with their own to represent their claims to French sovereignty; they were to remain until George III's time. The red lily (fleur-de-lis épanouie) is the badge of Florence in Italy. 
Louis rather liked this emblem because the fleur-de-lis is pun on "fleur de Louis" (Louis-Clovis) fit his name as well.


The first floor, the Salon de la Guerre (Room of War)
Form:  The palace at Versailles is arranged symmetrically and utilizes an expensive range of materials.  The multi-media use of materials is somewhat similar to Bernini's use of materials in the Vatican and for his Cornaro Chapel 1647-1652.  Here Mansard and Le Brun have used, leaded crystal, marble, wood parquet flooring (a type of wood inlay) stucco, plaster, gold leaf, bronze and silver backed mirrors.  See Stokstad for more about the mirrors. Iconography:  The materials used are an expression of wealth and power.  The overall symmetrical design and classical vocabulary is a reference to the ideas of rationalism and classical balance however, the theatrical gaudiness of the structure is an attempt to show wealth and power in an almost irrational manner.
The Hall of Mirrors (center) is flanked by the Salon de la Guerre (Room of War) and the Salon de la Paix (Room of Peace).  In a way, this a reference to the Apollonian/Dionysian powers the monarch had.  It is an attempt to show through the design of the building, the powers of the Louis but also that he was a balanced ruler who had both attributes at his disposal.
In the center of the Salon de la Guerre (Room of War) is an equestrian portrait (figure on horseback) of the king.  Notice how large the kings body is in comparison to the horses.  This is very similar to the depictions of the Lapiths and Centaurs from the metopes of the Parthenon and could mean similar things.  Most likely though, the size scale difference between the horse and its rider is to show the supremacy of the king over the animal he controls and to literally make im larger than life.  Notice below the same image occurs in a rejected sculpture by the Italian artist Bernini below.

Lapith Fighting a Centaur,
metope relief from the Doric frieze 
on the south side of the Parthenon c440 BCE
British Museum, London
Clay model and presentation drawing of an 
Equestrian Portrait of King Louis XIV by Bernini These two images were commissioned by Louis of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, however, Bernini after submitting some of his designs to the king was rejected.  Bernini returned to Italy to work on bigger and better projects.

Stokstad discusses the "Hall of Mirrors" in some depth.  Check out what she has to say.


Form:  The King's Bedchamber is located in the center of the palace on the first floor where the windows of the room face the east.   Across the center of the room is ornate low banister that separates the room in two sections. As in every other room in the palace, the multi-media use of materials is somewhat similar to Bernini's use of materials in the Vatican and for his Cornaro Chapel 1647-1652.  The architects have used, leaded crystal, marble, wood parquet flooring (a type of wood inlay) stucco, plaster, gold leaf, bronze and silver backed mirrors.  See Stokstad for more about the mirrors.
Iconography:  The materials used are an expression of wealth and power.  The overall symmetrical design and classical vocabulary is a reference to the ideas of rationalism and classical balance however, the theatrical gaudiness of the structure is an attempt to show wealth and power in an almost irrational manner.
The placement of the room in the overall structure of the building literally is designed to make the king the center of Versailles's universe.  The room faces east so that it meets the rays of the rising sun which is also a reference to Louis' conception of himself as the "Sun King." 
Context:  This room was used also as the starting point of a day in Versailles.  According to Herbert Broderick, a professor at Lehman College in New York, guests would be ushered into the room before sunrise where they would stand way from the bed kept separate by the low banister.  When the sun rose, the curtains of Louis' bed would be thrown back and the sun and the king would both rise.  This kind of theatricality was a common sort of event at Versailles and Louis loved the attention.  Apparently Louis also performed in semi ballet dance performances and was also an accomplished guitarist.


Andre Boulle King's Commode 1708 Form:  Notice how this cabinet uses many different kind of materials. 
It exemplifies the French Baroque style found at Versailles because it 
contains almost no straight lines and it uses a variety of classical forms. 
Its style is also somewhat theatrical and many of its qualities are meant 
to be surprising, unexpected and labor intensive.
According to the Brittanica, 
Boulle, André-Charles  b. Nov. 11, 1642, Paris, France d. Feb. 29, 1732, Paris Boulle also spelled BOULE, OR BUHL, one of France's leading cabinetmakers, whose fashion of inlaying, called boulle, or buhl, work, swept Europe and was heavily imitated during the 18th and 19th centuries. An architect as well, he also worked in bronze and mosaic and designed elaborate monograms.  As a young man Boulle studied drawing, painting, and sculpture; his fame as the most skillful furniture designer in Paris led to his being chosen, in 1672, by Louis XIV to succeed Jean Macé as royal cabinetmaker at Versailles. Boulle created much of Versailles's furniture. His masterpiece, however, was his decoration of the dauphin's private study with flooring in wood mosaic and extraordinarily detailed paneling and marquetry (1681-83; now destroyed). Allowed also to execute private commissions, he included among his patrons such eminent royalty as King Philip V of Spain, the duke of Bourbon, and the electors of Bavaria and Cologne. 
Boulle's style is characterized by elaborate adornment with brass (occasionally engraved) and tortoiseshell marquetry. Although the technique of marquetry was originally used by 16th-century Italian craftsmen, Boulle developed it to its ultimate. He incorporated exotic woods from India and South America. His personal collection of master drawings, from which he extracted much of his inspiration, included works by the 15th-16th-century Italian artist Raphael, the 17th-century Flemish artist Rubens, and the 17th-century Italian engraver Stefano della Bella. On retirement Boulle left his studio to his four sons, among whom were the notable cabinetmakers André-Charles Boulle II (d. 1745) and Charles-Joseph Boulle (d. 1754). His collection was destroyed by fire in 1720; his account of the precious loss reveals an enormous production in addition to what had already gone to other collections. He returned to his studio, directing it until his death. In 1754 Charles-Joseph had hired the brilliant German furniture designer Jean-François Oeben, from whom the Boulle tradition was inherited by Jean-Henri Riesener. His style continued with tremendous success in France during the 18th century and under Napoleon III. Such was its popularity that any piece with some copper inlay on a black or red ground came to be described as buhl.
 "Boulle, André-Charles."   Britannica 2001 Standard Edition CD-ROM.   Copyright © 1994-2001 Inc.   December 26, 2002.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Chardin and Greuze: Genre Scenes and Moralizing Art in the 1700's

For all the videos in order with a textbook and study guides please visit:

Jean-Baptiste Siméon Chardin
Self Portrait at the Easel, 1771, 
pastel on blue paper over canvas stretcher, 
Musée du Louvre, Paris
Jean- Baptiste Simeon Chardin- 
Grace at Table
(also called Le Bénédicité "Benediction")
1740 o/c

Jean-Baptiste Siméon Chardin. 
Soap Bubbles, c1733
oil on canvas, 36 5/8 x 29 3/8 in.
French Rococo
Context according to the Brittanica,
Chardin, Jean-Baptiste-Siméon 
b. Nov. 2, 1699, Paris, Fr. d. Dec. 6, 1779, Paris 
French painter of still lifes and domestic scenes remarkable for their intimate realism and tranquil atmosphere and the luminous quality of their paint. For his still lifes he chose humble objects ("Le Buffet," 1728), and for his genre paintings modest events ("Dame cachetant une lettre" [1733; "Lady Sealing a Letter"]). He also executed some fine portraits, especially the pastels of his last years. He was nominated to the Royal Academy of Painting in 1728.Born in Paris, Chardin never really left his native quarter of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Little is known about his training, although he worked for a time with the artists Pierre-Jacques Cazes and Noël-Nicolas Coypel. In 1724 he was admitted to the Academy of Saint Luc. His true career, however, did not begin until 1728 when, thanks to the portrait painter Nicolas de Largillière (1656-1746), he became a member of the Royal Academy of Painting, to which he offered "La Raie" ("The Skate") and "Le Buffet," both now at the Louvre Museum.
Although not yet established, he was beginning to gain a reputation. In 1731 he married Marguerite Saintard, and two years later the first of his figure paintings appeared, "Dame cachetant une lettre." From then on Chardin alternated between paintings of la vie silencieuse ("the silent life") or scenes of family life such as "Le Bénédicité" ("The Grace") and half-figure paintings of young men and women concentrating on their work or play, such as "Le Jeune dessinateur" ("Young Man Drawing") and "L'Enfant au toton" ("Child with Top," Louvre) (and Soap Bubbles, c1733). The artist repeated his subject matter, and there are often several original versions of the same composition. Chardin's wife died in 1735, and the estate inventory drawn up after her death reveals a certain affluence, suggesting that by this time Chardin had become a successful painter.
In 1740 he was presented to Louis XV, to whom he offered "La Mère laborieuse" ("Mother Working") and "Le Bénédicité." Four years later, he married Marguerite Pouget, whom he was to immortalize 30 years later in a pastel. These were the years when Chardin was at the height of his fame. Louis XV, for example, paid 1,500 livres for "La Serinette" ("The Bird-Organ"). Chardin continued to rise steadily on the rungs of the traditional academic career. His colleagues at the academy entrusted him, first unofficially (1755), then officially (1761), with the hanging of the paintings in the Salon (official exhibition of the academy), which had been held regularly every two years since 1737 and in which Chardin had participated faithfully. It was in the exercise of his official duties that he met the encyclopaedist and philosopher Denis Diderot, who would devote some of his finest pages of art criticism to Chardin, the "grand magicien" that he admired so much.
An anecdote illustrating Chardin's genius and his unique position in 18th-century painting is told by one of his greatest friends, the engraver Charles-Nicolas Cochin, who wrote a letter shortly after Chardin's death to Haillet de Couronne, the man who was to deliver Chardin's eulogy to the Academy of Rouen, of which Chardin had been a member.

One day, an artist was making a big show of the method he used to purify and perfect his colors. Monsieur Chardin, impatient with so much idle chatter, said to the artist, "But who told you that one paints with colors?" "With what then?" the astonished artist asked. "One uses colors," replied Chardin, "but one paints with feeling."

He was nearer to the feeling of meditative quiet that animates the rustic scenes of the 17th-century French master Louis Le Nain than to the spirit of light and superficial brilliance seen in the work of many of his contemporaries. His carefully constructed still lifes do not bulge with appetizing foods but are concerned with the objects themselves and with the treatment of light. In his genre scenes he does not seek his models among the peasantry as his predecessors did; he paints the petty bourgeoisie of Paris. But manners have been softened, and his models seem to be far removed from Le Nain's austere peasants. The housewives of Chardin are simply but neatly dressed and the same cleanliness is visible in the houses where they live. Everywhere a sort of intimacy and good fellowship constitute the charm of these modestly scaled pictures of domestic life that are akin in feeling and format to the works of Jan Vermeer.
Despite the triumphs of his early and middle life, Chardin's last years were clouded, both in his private life and in his career. His only son, Pierre-Jean, who had received the Grand Prix (prize to study art in Rome) of the academy in 1754, committed suicide in Venice in 1767. And then too, the public's taste had changed. The new director of the academy, the all-powerful Jean-Baptiste-Marie Pierre, in his desire to restore historical painting to the first rank, humiliated the old artist by reducing his pension and gradually divesting him of his duties at the academy. Furthermore, Chardin's sight was failing. He tried his hand at drawing with pastels. It was a new medium for him and less taxing on his eyes. Those pastels, most of which are in the Louvre Museum, are highly thought of in the 20th century, but that was not the case in Chardin's own time. In fact, he lived out the remainder of his life in almost total obscurity, his work meeting with indifference.
It was not until the middle of the 19th century that he was rediscovered by a handful of French critics, including the brothers Edmond and Jules de Goncourt, and collectors (the Lavalard brothers, for example, who donated their collection of Chardins to the Museum of Picardy in Amiens). Especially noteworthy is the LaCaze Collection donated to the Louvre in 1869. Today Chardin is considered the greatest still-life painter of the 18th century, and his canvases are coveted by the world's most distinguished museums and collections.
 "Chardin, Jean-Baptiste-Siméon."   Britannica 2001 Standard Edition CD-ROM.   Copyright © 1994-2001 Inc.   December 28, 2002. 

Jean- Baptiste Simeon Chardin- 
Grace at Table (also called Benediction)
1740 o/c
Robert Campin (the Master of Flemalle) 
Merode Altarpiece c. 1425
Form: Chardin's paintings differ from those of his Rococo contemporaries in many ways.  Chardin's use of color is closer to the Renaissance painters than the Rococo.  In these paintings he uses a low key earth toned palette.  His compositions, like this one, often deal with interior scenes that are dimly lit.  Still life elements are painted with the same consideration as the figures and his brushwork is more specific than the Rococo painters of his time.Iconography:  This is a genre scene in the most Renaissance and traditional sense and returns in some ways to earlier genre scenes such as in Robert Campin's Merode Altarpiece c. 1425.  The iconography is anti-Rococo because the scene deals not with a romantic encounter but with the moral instruction of two young women.  The subject matter is a middle class orbourgeoisie family in which either a mother or a governess serve a simple meal.  The children, knowing their place in in the world show they are grateful to God by saying grace before the meal.  Surrounding them are the trappings of a moral bourgeoisexistence.  The furniture, toys and clothing are simple but still of good quality.

Context: Chardin's output of quiet domestic scenes in Dutch manner, usually on a small scale but really wasn't ever in great favor with the aristocracy but at times he did enjoy some popularity with the aristocracy because some of the ideas fell into place with Rousseau's ideas of morality and social order in texts such as his Social Contract and Émile.
Émile in particular has bearing on this painting because it is a novel about the education of a little girl named Sophie.  Rousseau believed that people were born fundamentally good and if allowed to pursue the natural inclinations this goodness would manifest itself. 
Émile, was a rejection of the traditional ideal: education was not seen to be the imparting of all things to be known to the uncouth child; rather it was seen as the “drawing out” of what is already there, the fostering of what is native. Rousseau's educational proposal is highly artificial, the process is carefully timed and controlled, but with the end of allowing the free development of human potential.

Jean-Baptiste Siméon Chardin. 
Soap Bubbles, c1733
oil on canvas, 36 5/8 x 29 3/8 in.
French Baroque but not really Rococo

Jan Vermeer. The Lacemaker 1669-70
Oil on canvas transferred to panel, 
23.9 x 20.5 cm Musée du Louvre, Paris
Dutch, Baroque
Form: This painting uses a low key earth toned palette.  The composition of this image is shallow and somewhat symmetrical although not completely.  The design forces the viewer to focus on the image of the young boy who is highlighted in a tennebristic manner.  Still life elements are painted with the same consideration as the figures and his brushwork is more specific than the Rococo painters of his time.Iconography:  It is possible that this may be an overinterpretation of the iconography of this image however most historians believe that this is a type of vanitas or memento mori: "The boy enjoys a pleasurable pursuit as time wastes away, and the soap bubble itself is a traditional symbol of the fragile, fleeting nature of human life."
According to the National Gallery: 
"A boy concentrates his full attention on a quivering bubble, which seems ready to slip from his pipe. Eighteenth-century French viewers would have recognized the soap bubble from Dutch and Flemish painting as a symbol of life's fragility and the vanity of worldly pursuits."
Context:  Interestingly enough, although most historians ascribe this new moralizing in Chardin's images to Rousseau's philosophies but similar the ideas are also evidenced in works such as Vermeer's The Lacemaker 1669-70.  Compare and contrast these two paintings and come up with some conclusions as to how each image is meant to convey a similar message.  Look at them both in terms of a  formal, iconographic and contextual framework.  How and why are they similar and or different.

Jean-Baptiste Greuze, 1725-1805 Broken Eggs 1756
French , New York: Metropolitan Museum
French Romantic/Rococo
Form: Although painted during the Rococo period this painting is not very Rococo in its form.  This style of painting probably evolved somewhat from commedia and or some other types of performances because the composition of the picture plane is very shallow and stage like.  This oil painting uses a low key earth toned palette.Iconography: Stokstad discusses the idea that Greuze's paintings are expressions of the new moralizing philosophies expressed by French philosophers such as Diderot, Voltaire and Rousseau.
Here is a young woman who has a basket of eggs that has been broken.  The egg is a symbol of life and also of a woman's womb and or virginity.  In this case the metaphor is that she has lost her virtue.
The young woman's grandmother or mother stands behind her pointing the accusing finger while her brother looks on in a state of bewilderment.  The young boy is a rather Rousseau's interpretation of a young child's reactions.  Children will always try to do the right thing and here, the girl's younger brother vainly attempts to put the eggs back together and restore her to her former state.
Context:  This image relates very clearly to the plot of various novels and poems of the period such as Moll Flanders in which when a woman loses here virtue she has started down the wrong path and it will lead to her demise.  The same ideas are expressed in the prints of William Hogarth in particular his prints entitledBefore and After c1736.

bour.geois adj [MF, fr. OF borjois, fr. borc] (ca. 1565) 1: of, relating to, or characteristic of the townsman or of the social middle class 2: marked by a concern for material interests and respectability and a tendency toward mediocrity 3: dominated by commercial and industrial interests: capitalistic -- n -- 
bour.geois.ify vb ²bourgeois n, pl bourgeois (ca. 1674) 1 a: burgher b: a middle-class person 2: a person with social behavior and political views held to be influenced by private-property interest: capitalist 3 pl: bourgeoisie
bour.geoi.sie n [F, fr. bourgeois] (1707) 1: middle class 2: a social order dominated by bourgeois
genre n [F, fr. MF, kind, gender--more at gender] (1770) 1: a category of artistic, musical, or literary composition characterized by a particular style, form, or content 2: kind, sort 3:painting that depicts scenes or events from everyday life usually realistically
petite bourgeoisie n [F, lit., small bourgeoisie] (1916): the lower middle class including esp. small shopkeepers and artisans

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Baroque French Classicism and the Rococo 17th to 18th Centuries

For all the videos in order with a textbook and study guides please visit:

These two paintings are both Baroque renderings of aristocrats from the 1600 to 1700's.  One of them represents the older more autocratic traditions of Europe but both are the results of the "Enlightenment."The way in which they are portrayed are important clues as to how each of these rulers ruled there people and how they saw the world.  You will be given an assignment in which you will be asked to compare and contrast these two paintings and come up with some conclusions as to how each ruler is portrayed formally and iconographically.  You will be asked what this might mean about each ruler and the manner in which they governed.
Antoine Watteau. L' Indifferent 1716
Oil on canvas 10''x7'' Located in Louvre, Paris
French Rococo
Hyacinthe Rigaud Louis XIV 1701
Oil on canvas 9'2''x7'' Located in Louvre, Paris
French Baroque

Nicolas Poussin, Bacchanal before a Statue of Pan 1631-33
Oil on canvas, 100 x 142,5 cm. National Gallery, London.
French Baroque
Context:  This painting was executed just before Louis XIV came into his prime.  It represent both formally and iconographically a point of view that is in some ways similar but still different than the Rococo period.  In some ways classical images from the Baroque were a bit more "platonic" in nature than during the Rococo.Form: This painting is Baroque and in some ways it is the model for the paintings of the Rococo period.  This painting incorporates intense or saturated colors and a full use of chiaroscuro, linear perspective and atmospheric perspective and the pastoral or arcadian landscape.  The composition of this image recalls friezes from ancient Roman and Greek buildings and Poussin's figures are also dressed and modeled after classical figures.
Iconography: The iconography of this painting is also somewhat the model for the Rococo paintings that follow.  It is the kind of image that Poussin might have seen in Italy either on a classical frieze or a pot.  Even though the image is "classical" it seems to me to be an almost sarcastic or moralizing way in which to depict it.  This painting seems almost to be a warning against hedonism.
The theme this story that this painting portrays is a bacchanal.
According to Webster's, n, pl bacchanalia [L, fr. Bacchus] (1591) 1 pl, cap: a Roman festival of Bacchus celebrated with dancing, song, and revelry 2: orgy 2, 3 -- adj or n 
The Rococo style is a substyle of the French Baroque and really only exists from about 1716 to the 1770's at which time it fell out of style.  Webster's defines rococo as, n (1840): rococo work or style ²rococo adj [F, irreg. fr. rocaille rocaille] (1841) 1 a: of or relating to an artistic style esp. of the 18th century characterized by fanciful curved asymmetrical forms and elaborate ornamentation b: of or relating to an 18th century musical style marked by light gay ornamentation and departure from thorough-bass and polyphony 2: excessively ornate or intricate
In terms of its form, the Rococo style is uses a lot of pastel colors which are various pale or light colors, such as powder blue, peaches and pinks.  The brushwork in many Rococo style paintings tends to be feathery and or rough.  Usually the paintings look a bit more like oil sketches and have a rough or unfinished look to them.  The compositions also tend to be a bit looser and not very symmetrical.In terms of iconography and subject matter, Rococo paintings do deal with classical themes but the stories emphasize less dignified themes such as love and romantic indiscretion, in short, the "Dangerous Liaison."   Stokstad points out that one of the main subjects of the Rococo style was the fête galante.

¹fete n [ME fete, fr. MF, fr. OF feste--more at feast] (15c) 1: festival 2 a: a lavish often outdoor entertainment b: a large elaborate party ²fete vt fet.ed ; (1819) 1: to honor or commemorate with a fete 2: to pay high honor to
fete n, pl fetes champetres [F, lit., rural festival] (1774): an outdoor entertainment

Many of the images in Rococo art are borrowed from opera and Commedia dell'arte.  According to the Brittanica,
Around the mid-16th century, there emerged in Italy a lively tradition of popular theatre that fused many disparate elements into a vigorous style, which profoundly influenced the development of European theatre. This was the legendary commedia dell'arte ("theatre of the professionals"), a nonliterary tradition that centred on the actor, as distinguished from the commedia erudita, where the writer was preeminent. Although the precise origins of the commedia dell'arte are difficult to establish, its many similarities with the skills of the medieval jongleurs, who were themselves descendants of the Roman mimes, suggest that it may have been a reawakening of the fabula Atellana, stimulated and coloured by social conditions in Italy during the Renaissance.In spite of its outwardly anarchic spirit, the commedia dell'arte was a highly disciplined art requiring both virtuosity and a strong sense of ensemble playing. Its special quality came from improvisation. Working from a scenario that outlined the plot, the actors would improvise their own dialogue, striving for a balance of words and actions. Acrobatics and singing were also used, as well as the lazzi (special rehearsed routines that could be inserted into the plays at convenient points to heighten the comedy). Because the actors stayed together in permanent companies and specialized in playing the same role for most of their professional lives, they achieved a degree of mastery that had been hitherto unknown on the Italian stage and that must have made the rest of the theatre seem all the more artificial. Another reason for the impact of the commedia dell'arte was that it heralded the first appearance in Italy of professional actresses (the best known being Isabella Andreini), though the female characters were never as sharply developed as their male counterparts. Most of the characters were defined by the leather half-masks they wore (another link with the theatre of antiquity), which made them instantly recognizable. They also spoke in the dialect of their different provinces. Characters such as Pantalone, the miserly Venetian merchant; Dottore Gratiano, the pedant from Bologna; or Arlecchino, the mischievous servant from Bergamo, began as satires on Italian "types" and became the archetypes of many of the favourite characters of 17th- and 18th-century European theatre.
From humble beginnings, setting up their stages in city squares, the better troupes--notably Gelosi, Confidenti, and Fedeli--performed in palaces and became internationally famous once they traveled abroad. The commedia dell'arte swept through Europe. It was particularly popular in France, where resident Italian troupes were established before the end of the 16th century. Local variations on the characters appeared in the 17th century. The cheeky servant Pedrolino became the melancholy Pierrot in France, while Pulcinella became Punch in England. By the 18th century the commedia dell'arte was a lost art, though its spirit lived on through the work of the dramatists it inspired, among whom were Molière (stage name of Jean-Baptiste Poquelin), Carlo Goldoni, and William Shakespeare.
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

Contextually the Rococo style occurred mainly at a time when the aristocracy was fairly indifferent to ruling and more interested in having fun and enjoying the pleasures of life.  These excesses of the aristocracy ultimately lead to the downfall of the aristocratic class in France and the overthrow of the French monarchy in 1789.
Jean Antoine Watteau. Pilgrimage to the Island of Cythera.
1717 oil/canvas 4'3"x6'4" Louvres, Paris
French Rococo
Nicolas Poussin Echo and Narcissus 1630
French BaroqueCompare Watteau's painting of a pastoral and classical image to Poussin's
treatment of the same kind of image.  Think about how the form and the subject
matter are at once different and the same.  Why do you think these differences
Read the two poems below and see if you can find any parallels between the
two poems and the two paintings.  How are they alike and how are
they different?
Form: Watteau's palette consists mainly of pastel colors which are various pale or light colors, such as powder blue, peaches and pinks.  The brushwork is feathery and or rough and the composition is asymmetrical.The main line of figures that moves across the foreground are arranged almost musically in uneven undulating intervals that weaves in and out of the Baroque diagonal created by the landscape they inhabit.
Iconography and Context according to the Brittanica,

Watteau's Cythera.
In 1712 Watteau tried once more to go to Italy. He did not succeed, but he was accepted by the Académie as a painter of fêtes galantes--outdoor entertainments in which the courtiers often dressed in rural costumes--for his presentation of a scene depicting actors in a garden. Between 1710 and 1712 he had painted the first of his three versions of the "L'Embarquement pour l'île de Cythère." The myth of the island of Cythera, or of love, has distant roots in French and Italian culture, in which the journey is depicted as a difficult quest. Watteau's Cythera, by comparison, is a paradise wavering in the ephemeral and in artifice; it represents an invitation to delights amid the enchantment of nature. It is an island toward which the pilgrims embark but never arrive, preserving it preserves its light only if it remains far on the horizon.Watteau's first version of the subject is anecdotal: it illustrates a comedy motif in a vaguely Venetian ambience. The second--which is the most beautiful--has the aspect of a profane ritual in an unreal, immense, and almost frighteningly empty landscape. In the third, in which cherubim flutter around a golden gondola, the subject has become vulgarized. Common to all three versions is a theatrical, almost scenographic, composition, a chromatic transposition of all that is suggested in the theatrical universe. The wonderlands of opera, romance, and epic are all evoked by Watteau's Cythera, which represents the country of the impossible dream, the revenge of madness on reason, and of freedom on rules and morality. According to one hypothesis, the theme was suggested to Watteau by a prose play, Les Trois Cousines (1700), by Florent Dancourt, in the finale of which a group of country youths, disguised as pilgrims of love, prepare to embark on the voyage to the island of Cythera. Since this story of rustic millers is parodistic in intent and quite different from the refined scene that Watteau set in an unreal Venice, it is more probable that Watteau was inspired by an opéra ballet of Houdar de la Motte, La Vénitienne (1705), in which the invitation to the island of love includes not only the pilgrims of Cythera but also the stock characters of the commedia dell'arte--that is, both of the great themes that Watteau pursued all his life.
The Passionate Shepherd to His Love
Christopher Marlowe c 1600Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods, or steepy mountain yields.
And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feeds their flocks,
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.
And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kittle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;
A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold'
A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs:
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me, and be my love.
The shepherd' swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.
The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd
Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618)If all the world and love were young,
And truth in every shepherd's tongue,
These pretty pleasures might me move
To live with the and be thy love.
Time drives the flocks from field to fold
When rivers rage and rocks grow cold,
And Philomel becometh dumb;
The rest complains of cares to come.
The flowers do fade, and wanton fields
To wayward winter reckoning yields;
A honey tongue, a heart of gall,
Is fancy's spring, but sorrow's fall.
Thy gowns, the shoes, thy beds of roses,
Thy cap, the kirtle, and thy posies
Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten--
In folly ripe, in reason rotten.
Thy belt of straw and ivy buds,
Thy coral clasps and amber studs,
All these in me no means can move
To come to thee and be thy love.
But could youth last and love still breed,
Had joys no date nor age no need,
Then these delights my mind might move
To live with thee and be thy love.
Jean-Honoré Fragonard, The Swing 1766
Oil on canvas 35''x32''  Wallace Collection, London
French Rococo
Form:  Fragonard's palette is almost exactly the same as Watteau's.  It too consists mainly of pastel colors which are various pale or light colors, such as powder blue, peaches and pinks.  The brushwork is feathery and or rough and the composition is asymmetrical.The main line of figures that moves across the foreground are arranged almost musically in uneven undulating intervals that weaves in and out of the Baroque diagonal created by the landscape they inhabit.
Iconography:  Fragonard uses a combination of contemporary 18th century eroticism and classical themes.  The scene here is almost one that you might find in a movie or novel such as Moll Flanders, Dangerous Liaisons, or the Affair of the Necklace.
The painting The Swing was commissioned by the treasurer et the French clergy. The client wanted a scene in which a lover - who can be seen amongst the rose bushes in the left foreground - would have an opportunity to look under the skirts of his mistress; originally the swing was supposed to be pushed by a bishop. But when, owing to its piquant nature, the commission was given to Fragonard, he replaced the bishop with a gardener.
(quoted from
The sculpture of Cupid and the two putti that hide in the bushes are an attempt in some ways to "dress up" the images with a classical touch.  The cupid presses his fingers to his lips as if to warn the young woman to be less obvious as she kicks her shoe off playfully.Fragonard also attempts to show his knowledge not just of classicism but also of art history with his playful nod to Michelangelo's Adam echoed in the pose of the young man who looks up his lover's skirts.

Jean-Honoré Fragonard, 1732-1806
The Meeting, from Love of the Shepherds
1771-73 o/c 10'x7' New York, Frick Museum
Form:  In terms of form, this image is a perfect example of the Rococo style according to Stokstad's description of it.Iconography:  The works symbolism is almost completely clear even if one is not familiar with the exact story expressed by the series the Love of the Shepherds.  Here is a typical "dangerous liaison" as expressed in the two poems above by Marlowe and Raleigh.  The scene is a pastoral one, in fact the boy in red silk is the shepherd who vaults lightly over the low wall to meet his wary girlfriend.  Above them, almost in a decaying state because it is so overgrown, is a statue of Venus and Cupid.
The imagery is taken from a variety of literary, theatrical, and operatic sources.  In many of the novels of the period, such as in Dangerous Liaisons, letter writing is an important plot element and in this painting we see that the young woman holds a love letter in her hand.  The young man has just climbed a ladder is a reference to many of Shakespeare's balcony scenes from Romeo to Cyrano as well as scenes from operas such as Mozart's Don Giovanni and Commedia dell'arte.
Context:  Fragonard is the last of the great Rococo painters.  His style, which represents the last style developed by Louis XVI during his reign (1774-93) of Louis XVI, according to the Brittanica,

was actually both a last phase of Rococo and a first phase of Neoclassicism. The predominant style in architecture, painting, sculpture, and the decorative arts was Neoclassicism, a style that had come into its own during the last years of Louis XV's life, chiefly as a reaction to the excesses of the Rococo but partly through the popularity of the excavations at ancient Herculaneum and Pompeii, in Italy, and partly on the basis of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's call for "natural" virtue and honest sentiment. One of the most dramatic episodes in the stylistic oscillation from Rococo to Neoclassicism was played out in 1770 at Mme du Barry's Pavillon de Louveciennes. A series of large painted canvases by the Rococo painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard depicting the "Progress of Love" were removed almost as soon as they were installed and replaced with a series commissioned from Joseph-Marie Vien, a Neoclassicist. Vien's pupil Jacques-Louis David was the most important painter of the reign of Louis XVI; his severe compositions recalling the style of the earlier painter Nicolas Poussin are documents extolling republican virtues. During the Revolution, David was a deputy and voted for the execution of the King.

François Boucher, Brown Odalisk 1745 Oil on canvas
Musée du Louvre, Paris
François Boucher, Girl Reclining (Louise O'Murphy) 1751
Oil on canvas, 59,5 x 73,5 cm
Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne
Form:  These are small paintings in which Boucher demonstrates his ability to paint the textures of skin, fabric and porcelain. Iconography:  Titian in his The Venus of Urbino, 1538 offers the male viewer a classisizing excuse for gazing on the female form, however, Boucher makes no such excuse for his painting.  This is most obviously this is a semi pornographic painting meant for a male audience.  Despite the fact that images like this have been defended as beautiful renderings of the human form, these images are overtly meant to be small erotic works that would have been hung in the bedroom to stimulate the sexual appetites of the occupants.
What is more interesting about these two images is that they also juxtapose the eroticized female form with commodities or luxury items.  By playing the textures and body of the female against expensive persian carpets, fabrics, jewels and porcelain, the artist is also making the human female form another commodity which can be bought and sold.  In this way, the wealth of the patron is also eroticized.  This device is played off again and again throughout the history of art.
Context:  These two images are also historical artifacts that document two facts.  The first is that Marie-Louise O' Murphy was one of the many mistresses of Louis XV and the brown odalisk is a reference to the French penchant for exotic women.
According to the O'Murphy surnames website:
The most notable woman bearing the Murphy name was the famous courtesan Marie Louise O Murphy (1737 - 1814), fifth daughter of an Irish soldier who had taken up shoemaking in Rouen, France. After his death, their mother brought the family to Paris where she traded in old clothes while finding her daughters work as actresses or models. Marie Louise posed for Boucher, a painter at court. He painted her so attractively that she came to the notice of Louis XV, who soon appointed her his mistress. Their child is supposed to have been General de Beaufranchet. She married three times and was divorced by her third husband, who was thirty years her junior. For a period during the reign of terror, she suffered imprisonment because of her royal connections.
This is one of the first instances that I know of that an artist has painted an odalisk in France.  An odalisk or odalisque is a Turkish harem girl.  Images of asian or oriental nude harem girls become the fashion in French art from this point forward.  We'll see many more of these white European male's fantasies of eroticized asian women from now on. Images of the odalisque most likely symbolize the male French view of the world and in some ways both justify and inflame their desire to colonize the so called "orient." adj, often cap (1589) 1: idyllically pastoral; esp: idyllically innocent, simple, or untroubled 2 a: of or relating to Arcadia or the Arcadians b: of or relating to Arcadian n (1590) 1 often not cap: a person who lives a simple quiet life 2: a native or inhabitant of Arcadia 3: the dialect of ancient Greek used in ArcadiaAccording to the Brittanica,
Modern Greek ARKADHÍA, mountainous region of the central Peloponnesus of ancient Greece. The pastoral character of Arcadian life together with its isolation partially explains why it was represented as a paradise in Greek and Roman bucolic poetry and in the literature of the Renaissance. The region is not exactly coextensive with the present-day nomós (department) of Arkadhía, which extends on the east to the Gulf of Argolis. The capital of the nomos is Trípolis. also adj (1823) 1: of, relating to, or being an autocracy: absolute 2: characteristic of or resembling an autocrat: despotic -- adv
fete n [ME fete, fr. MF, fr. OF feste--more at feast] (15c) 1: festival 2 a: a lavish often outdoor entertainment b: a large elaborate party ²fete vt fet.ed ; (1819) 1: to honor or commemorate with a fete 2: to pay high honor to
fete n, pl fetes champetres [F, lit., rural festival] (1774): an outdoor entertainment n [Gk hedone pleasure; akin to Gk hedys sweet--more at sweet] (1856) 1: the doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the sole or chief good in life 2: a way of life based on or suggesting the principles of hedonism -- n -- adj -- adv
neo.clas.sic or adj (1877): of, relating to, or constituting a revival or adaptation of the classical esp. in literature, music, art, or architecture -- n -- n or adj
oda.lisque n [F, fr. Turk odalik, fr. oda room] (ca. 1681) 1: a female slave 2: a concubine in a harem adj [ME, fr. L pastoralis, fr. pastor herdsman] (15c) 1 a (1): of, relating to, or composed of shepherds or herdsmen (2): devoted to or based on livestock raising b: of or relating to the countryside: not urban c: portraying or expressive of the life of shepherds or country people esp. in an idealized and conventionalized manner <~ poetry> d: pleasingly peaceful and innocent: idyllic 2 a: of or relating to spiritual care or guidance esp. of a congregation b: of or relating to the pastor of a church -- adv -- n ²pastoral n (1584) 1 a: a literary work (as a poem or play) dealing with shepherds or rural life in a usu. artificial manner and typically drawing a contrast between the innocence and serenity of the simple life and the misery and corruption of city and esp. court life b: pastoral poetry or drama c: a rural picture or scene d: pastorale 1b 2: crosier 1 3: a letter of a pastor to his charge: as a: a letter addressed by a bishop to his diocese b: a letter of the house of bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church to be read in each parish
trompe l’oeil - (French: "deceive the eye"), in painting, the representation of an object with such verisimilitude as to deceive the viewer concerning the material reality of the object. This idea appealed to the ancient Greeks who were newly emancipated from the conventional stylizations of earlier art. Zeuxis, for example, reportedly painted such realistic grapes that birds tried to eat them. The technique was also popular with Roman muralists. Although trompe l’oeil never achieved the status of a major artistic aim, from the early Renaissance on, European painters occasionally fostered illusionism by painting false frames out of which the contents of a still life or portrait appeared to spill, or by creating window-like images suggesting actual openings in the wall or ceiling. (Brittanica)


Saturday, November 21, 2015

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Thursday, November 12, 2015

On Line Art Marketing and Art History Courses

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The Art Marketing Course is a full banquet.  At the end of my course, students will be able to, identify different venues to sell artwork, including Internet sites and brick-and-mortar establishments such as art galleries and coffee shops. Students will also be able to photograph and edit their artwork. Students will also be able to generate catalogs using Adobe Photoshop quickly and easily and submit these catalogs to clients and art galleries. Students will be able to use social networking sites such as, Facebook,Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, Linkedin, to establish a reputation and market their artwork. Students will also learn how to create a blog with Google blogs and will learn how to create and generate content for the blog that pertains to their personal life as an artist, interesting content that reflects well on themselves, and of course spotlight their artwork.

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Ohlone College, 43600 Mission Blvd.
Fremont, California 94539

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Baroque Art: Bernini

Jeff Gross
Art History 103B
July 17, 2001
Professor Kenney Mencher
High Drama in Baroque Rome: Bernini's David
There have been several variations on the biblical theme of David versus Goliath portrayed in both painting and sculpture before Gianlorenzo Bernini produced his version for the nephew of Pope Paul V in 1623. True to Baroque style, Bernini captured the character of David so full of energy and motion, the viewer is immediately drawn into the action. David is shown so involved in the movement of battle that the viewer feels compelled to get out of David's way, lest they themselves might be felled by the fatal stone about to be unleashed (Stokstad 758). This type of extreme motion is common to Bernini's, and most all Baroque sculpture.
Carved entirely in smoothly polished white marble and standing a life size 5 foot seven inches tall, Bernini's David is currently housed in the Galleria Borghese in Rome, Italy. It portrays a male figure, mostly nude, except for some loosely draped robes that appear to be falling from the figures body, a sling used as a weapon being drawn from the rear-side of the figure, and a small pouch slung over the left shoulder. The figure is wearing no armor, helmet, shoes or other materials suggesting he is a professional soldier. The figure is standing over what seems to be a warrior's armor & robes. A look of steely determination is portrayed on the character's face, and every muscle looks tautly drawn in the middle of strenuous physical action.
Though the symbolism may not be obvious to some, Bernini's portrayal of the heroic David is every bit as iconographic as many other Italian works, such as Giotto's Last Judgement (Arena Chapel, Padua. 1305) or Augustus of Prima Porta (Musei Vaticani, Rome. 100 C.E.). The fact that David is shown barefoot and nearly naked while standing over the finery of a warrior may suggest that the armor is not what makes David strong, but his unswerving faith in both God and himself. The falling drapery modestly hiding David's nakedness might lead the viewer to believe that since this work was produced for the nephew of Pope Paul V, that this sculpture was truly intended for the depiction of a well known biblical story. It was likely not intended as a beard for titillation or an excuse to look at nudes under the guise of fine art. The fact that Bernini himself looked remarkably like the work he created is likely no mistake or coincidence. Many artists of this period would put themselves in their work, and Bernini was no exception. This may signify that he felt empowered by portraying himself as an underdog triumphing over a particularly difficult work of art in it's completion. This work is considered a breakthrough in its composition and form, as it directly engages the viewer by its powerful depiction of humanistic motion. The depiction of actual muscle strain in the figure as well as the strain shown on the face may also portray the intensity of the artist's exhausting input into the sculpture itself.
Compared to other sculptures of David portrayed by Donatello and Michelangelo, Bernini shows a far more natural depiction of David in form and structure. Bernini does, however, portray David as a much older person than the other artists, as well as how the character is described in the Bible. David's actual age is estimated at around thirteen years of age at the time of his triumph over Goliath. Donatello portrays David as a young teen of about the age of thirteen, and Michelangelo portrays him a little older at maybe seventeen to twenty years old. Bernini shows a more mature David that appears to be somewhere between twenty and thirty years old. This was likely no accident, as Bernini seems to be adding his own features to the figure. As he was far older than a young teen when the sculpture was produced, if he portrayed himself as thirteen years old on his David, nobody would likely recognize the informal self portrait included on the work. Donatello puts his David (Museo Nazionale del Borgello, Florence. 1428) in a fanciful garden hat, slouching almost playfully and Michelangelo shows his David (Galleria dell'Accademia - originally in the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence. 1504) merely standing still and gazing into the distance in the nude. Bernini portrays David as a man of action with robes flying off his body from the extreme nature of his movement, expressing the strength, power and fury of his action in every part of his body and face.
Most Baroque artworks that emerged at the time of Bernini's David show far more action, drama and movement that most previous works. This was a time of extreme social change, and works such as this were merely a reflection of the struggle and social anxiety of the times. Bernini would come to produce many other dramatic sculptures that helped define the Baroque era. As this was one of the most recognized and famous, it likely set the stage for him as well as others to take sculptural art to a new level of 'high drama' during the Baroque period in Europe.
Works cited:
Web Gallery of Art.
Stokstad, Marilyn. Art History 2 volumes. New Jersey: Prentice Hall Inc. 1999
Mencher, Kenney. Art History 103B lectures, Ohlone Community College. California 2001
New Advent Org.
The 'Troy McClure Pretty-Much-Everything' Site.
Document converted to HTML by Jeff Gross on July 27, 2001


DeeAnn Kennedy
Essay Due: 04/23/02
The Ecstasy of St. Theresa

Gianlorenzo Bernini, 
The Ecstasy of St. Theresa, 
created between 1645-1652, 
Cornaro Chapel, Rome Italy
(For more details of the sculpture 
and it's environment click here.)
As a reaction to the Manneristic style that consumed the Late Renaissance in Europe, Baroque art began to surface around 1600.  The Baroque style has many distinguishing characteristics, such as the use of different colors, materials, and irregular shapes; however, the hallmark of Baroque art is that it depicts the most climactic point in a story.  The Ecstasy of St. Theresa, created between 1645-1652, is housed inside of the Cornaro Chapel, and is heralded as "one of Bernini's most brilliant and suggestive sculptural and architectural compositions" (The New York Times, 42).  In terms of its form, the sculpture is made of different materials and puts a spin on classicism. The iconography of The Ecstasy of St. Theresa is very Baroque because it depicts the most dramatic point in the saint's life and caters to the notion that God equals light.  In terms of context, The Ecstasy of St. Theresa is one of Gianlorenzo Bernini's most controversial and beautiful works of art. Gianlorenzo Bernini's stunning masterpiece, The Ecstasy of St. Theresa, epitomizes the high drama of 17th century Baroque art.    The form of The Ecstasy of St. Theresa typifies Baroque art because the sculpture is made of different materials and the artist uses classicism irregularly.  Gianlorenzo Bernini uses several different materials to create an awe-inspiring focal point within the Cornaro Chapel.  The wall that houses The Ecstasy of St. Theresa is laden with colored marble.  Like many other works of Baroque sculpture, this piece is "set within an elaborate architectural setting, and seems to be spilling out of its assigned niche or floating upward toward heaven" (The Columbia Encyclopedia).  The Saint and angel are cut from the same mass of solid marble, yet Gianlorenzo Bernini is able to replicate different textures and colors.  The angel's drapery clings to the body, giving it a silk-like quality; however, St. Theresa appears to be clothed in a woolen robe.  Gianlorenzo Bernini also puts a spin on classicism by using irregular shapes and non-traditional architecture. Framing the sculpture are double columns, which serve as adornment rather than architectural support.  The pediment above, typically flat, protrudes and indents, and is supported by marble pilasters.  Gianlorenzo Bernini uses different materials and irregular classicism to create the epitome of Baroque art.

The iconography of The Ecstasy of St. Theresa embodies the Baroque style of art because the sculpture depicts the most dramatic point in the saint's life and caters to the notion that God equals light.  In her autobiography, St. Theresa describes a dream where an angel appears before her in a halo of light.  The angel takes a fiery arrow and stabs her repeatedly in the breast, filling her with the love of God.  "To quote St. Theresa herself, "The pain was so great that I screamed aloud, but simultaneously I felt such infinite sweetness that I wished the pain to last eternally." This was interpreted at the time and ever since as a spiritual transport sexually expressed" (The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer).  Gianlorenzo Bernini portrays St. Theresa's dream in this sculpture at the moment when her body has been consumed with the love of God, the climax of her life.  "Wrapped in swirling draperies, her passionate gaze directed to heaven, [Gianlorenzo] Bernini's Saint epitomizes the age of the Baroque" (Christian Science Monitor, 12).  The Ecstasy of St. Theresa also feeds into the notion that God equals light.  Gianlorenzo Bernini capitalized on this notion that God and light were one in the same by placing the angel and the saint on a billowy cloud with bronze beams of light cascading down behind them.  These beams of light reveal that God, himself, has pierced the heart of St. Theresa.  "The sculptor's floating image of St. Teresa and the angel places the saint midway between earthly and heavenly existence" (Wilkins, 383).  To give these heavenly beams a more dramatic impact, Gianlorenzo Bernini placed a hidden skylight above the sculpture. Gianlorenzo Bernini depicts the most dramatic point in St. Theresa's life and caters to the notion that God equals light to create the quintessence of Baroque art. (For more details of the sculpture and it's environment click here.)
The context of The Ecstasy of St. Theresa exemplifies Baroque art because it is considered to be Gianlorenzo Bernini's most controversial and beautiful sculptures.  The Baroque movement "was encouraged by the Catholic Church, the most important patron of the arts at that time, as a return to tradition and spirituality" (; however, Gianlorenzo Bernini depicts St. Theresa in the state of spiritual and sexual ecstasy.  Her neck is flung back, eyes are closed, mouth partially open, telling of her elation. Although only her face, hands, and bare feet are visible, the bends and folds of her garment reveal a passionate body beneath in her moment of climax. Never before had a Saint been depicted in the state of sexual ecstasy, yet St. Theresa's autobiography allowed Gianlorenzo Bernini to create such a controversial piece of work.  Looking now at the other figure in this sculpture, the angel's face is thought, by many, to be the most beautiful face ever created.  The face is perfectly symmetrical; each feature is perfectly positioned.  The eyes are aligned, the nose has a perfect slant, and the lips are just the right fullness.  Gianlorenzo Bernini balances perfect beauty and sexual ecstasy to achieve the spirit of Baroque art.
Created between 1645-1652, Gianlorenzo Bernini's The Ecstasy of St. Theresa is one of the most talked about sculptures in history.  "The religious sculptures he did from the 1640s on were perhaps the last flourish of great Christian art" (Economist, 87).  In terms of its form, The Ecstasy of St. Theresa is made of different materials and puts a spin on classicism. The iconography of The Ecstasy of St. Theresa is very Baroque because it depicts the most dramatic point in the saint's life and caters to the notion that God equals light.  In terms of context, the sculpture is one of Gianlorenzo Bernini's most controversial and beautiful works of art. Gianlorenzo Bernini's stunning masterpiece, The Ecstasy of St. Theresa, epitomizes the high drama of 17th century Baroque art.
 Works Cited:
"Artists by Movement: The Baroque Era."
Baroque, in art and architecture. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition.
Economist. 09/06/98, Vol. 349 Issue 8087, p87, 2/3p, 1bw.
The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer Transcript.  "FURY OF CREATION" April 30, 1998.
The New York Times. April 26, 1998, Sunday, Late Edition - Final, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Art, Section 2; Page 42; Column 3.
Wilkins, Ann Thomas.  "Bernini and Ovid: Expanding the Concept of Metamorphosis."  International Journal of the Classical Tradition Winter2000,     Vol. 6, Issue 3, p383, 26p, 4bw.


David 1440
David  1501-1504

David  1623-1624


Bernini  David  1623-1624

Bernini Self Portrait 1622

Bernini, Portrait of Scipione Borghese 1632

Bernini, Portrait of Scipione Borghese 1632

Bernini Cornaro Chapel 1647-1652



Andrea Palladio, 
Olympic Theater
Vicenza, Italy 1584
completed by Scamozzi (Schamozzi)