Intermittently in and out of fashion, the persistence of the Rococo from the eighteenth century to the twenty-first is clear. From painting, print and photography, to furniture, fashion and film, the Rococo’s diverse manifestations appear to defy temporal and geographic definition.
In Rococo echo, a team of international contributors adopts a wide lens to explore the relationship of the Rococo with time. Through chapters organised around broad temporal moments – the French Revolution, the First World War and the turn of the twenty-first century – contributors show that the Rococo has been viewed variously as modern, late, ruined, revived, preserved and anticipated. Taking into account the temporality of the Rococo as form, some contributors consider its function as both a visual language and a cultural marker engaged in different ways with the politics of nationalism, gender and race. The Rococo is examined, too, as a mode of expression that encompassed and assimilated styles, and which functioned as a surprisingly effective means of resisting both authority – whether political, religious or artistic – and cultural norms of gender and class. Contributors also show how the Rococo, from its birth in France, reverberated through England, Germany, Italy, Portugal and the South American colonies to become a pan-European, even global movement.
The Rococo emerges from these contributions as a discourse defined but not confined by its original historical moment, and whose adaptability to the styles and preoccupations of later periods gives it a value and significance that take it beyond the vagaries of fashion.
‘Uprootedness, global dislocations, and eccentric visions of time are at the centre of this edited collection, which seeks to reframe the rococo as a discursive style perennially reactivated and reformulated from the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries […] Ranging in scope beyond painting and interior decoration, the subjects discussed are refreshingly diverse’.
‘Le lecteur est invité à s’interroger tout d’abord au niveau méthodologique, sur les limites et les potentialités propres à certaines catégories historiographiques, puis au niveau philosophique, à remettre en question la notion d’art elle même, notamment dans ses liens avec la politique et la société’.
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