The 10 Rococo Artworks You Should Know
An artistic movement that emerged in Europe in the 18th century, Rococo art invaded painting, architecture and decorative arts. Following the Baroque period of the 17th century, it explores themes such as love, libertinism, mythology and Christianity. In order to discover this movement, here are the 10 Rococo artworks you need to know!
1. The Lock, by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, one of the most famous Rococo artworks
One of the most famous Rococo works, The Lock, reveals the intimacy of an embracing couple. This painting has become the symbol of an era, and more precisely of the libertine spirit of the 18th century.
2. Pierrot, formerly known as Gilles, by Jean-Antoine Watteau
Painted between 1718 and 1719, this full-length portrait is of great originality. It represents a comedian in costume, who does not seem to be able to hide his melancholy. The model looks a little shy, almost clumsy, and imbued with a great tragic dimension. It is as if he is trapped in his solitude, despite the four characters of the Italian comedy in the background. No longer putting on an act, this Pierrot stops time and reveals to us the fragility of the human condition.
3. The Swing, one of the most outstanding Rococo artworks
This gallant scene, Les heureux hasards de l’Escarpolette, or The Swing, was painted by Honoré Fragonard. Created between 1766 and 1769, this work was commissioned by François-David Bollioud de Saint-Julien. The baron would have expressly asked to be “placed in such a way as to be able to see Madame’s legs”. A shocking request for the time, but one that ultimately marked its time!
4. The Soap Bubbles, by Jean Siméon Chardin
This painting is the first of a series of paintings by Jean Siméon Chardin. Having received academic training, the painter nevertheless broke away from certain artistic rules. For example, he painted without a model, using only his memory. However, The Soap Bubbles is his first figurative painting with a model. According to the myth surrounding this work, Chardin chose soap bubbles as a symbol of the transience of existence.
5. The magnificent Bouquet of flowers in a glass of water, by Anne Vallayer-Coster
Created with extreme delicacy, this still life signed by Anne Vallayer-Coster conveys her love of nature. As a subject of admiration and reflection, this work stands the power of time. More than that, it highlights the radiant, almost casual, beauty of flowers.
6. The scandalous Brown Odalisque by François Boucher
François Boucher is one of the painters with the most Rococo artworks to his credit. With The Brown Odalisque, he created a scandal. And for good reason: the person who served as a model would be Madame Boucher. Represented as a half-naked odalisque (a female slave), this was very daring for the time.
7. The Rococo artworks of Bernard II van Riesenburg
In another medium, the Rococo artworks of Bernard II van Riesenburg explore the decorative arts. Using advanced cabinetmaking techniques, his furniture blends Western with Japanese inspirations.
8. The Trevi Fountain, by Niccolo Salvi
Just as painting has given birth to many Rococo artworks, architecture also has its share of masterpieces. The Trevi Fountain, in Rome, Italy, is a true architectural jewel, is a case in point. Made of sumptuous volutes, its monumental character still attracts thousands of tourists every day.
9. The Bathing Basin, by Hubert Robert, one of the most beautiful Rococo artworks
Between the real and the imaginary, this work of Hubert Robert mixes the ancient Italian temple and modern clothing. Under cover of a mythological representation, Hubert Robert offers an atypical and licentious nudity for the time. It’s a painting that is both controversial and enchanting.
10. The Chinese Garden, by François Boucher
Another Rococo work of art by the famous François Boucher, The Chinese Garden transposes a Western scene into Asia. A mixture of here and there, the characters are of European type, while the decor recalls China. Adorer of the Chinese daily life, Boucher offers to the spectators this fanciful parenthesis.
Rococo artworks, a mixture of genres and periods
Reaching its peak between 1730 and 1758, Rococo art played on a mixture of genres, periods and styles. This flamboyant period was then replaced by Neo-classicism, marking a return to the ancient canons of beauty. Neoclassical works are less refined and break from Rococo art. And you, which movement do you prefer?
Founded in 2013, Artsper is an online marketplace for contemporary art. Partnering with 1,800 professional art galleries around the world, it makes discovering and acquiring art accessible to all.Learn more