Rococo to Neoclassicism: The 18th century in Europe and America
Musée des Archives nationales, hôtel de Soubise, Rue des Francs-Bourgeois, Paris, France
Module 8 showcases the art of 18th century Rococo and Neoclassical styles. During the reign of the powerful Louis XIV, Paris replaced Rome as the epicenter of European art and culture. After Louis XIV's death in 1715, Louis XV was too young to rule until 1722. During this crucial period the French aristocracy began to gain influence and patronized art for their townhouses in Paris thus launching the Rococo style. It flourished under the rule of Louis XV, and also saw the emergence of the Enlightenment period, which emphasized the mind’s ability to reason in contrast to the mind’s yearning for religious faith. This new philosophical ideal caused many people to question the importance of the monarchy thus leading to the French Revolution. The Rococo style faded and Neoclassicism emerged- more natural and classical style harkening back to the Renaissance and Greco Roman antiquity.