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Boffrand, Salon de la Princess, Hotel de Soubise, Paris
At the top of each section of the wall, Cupids perch precariously at the edges of the gilded arches. The lively energy of such interiors and their airy reflective character provided appropriate settings for the witty social interaction of the eighteenth century salon.
Boucher, Venus Consoling Love
Devoid of Watteau's undercurrent of irony and melancholy. Two white doves echo the amorous text of this scene. The predominance of pinks, the curly blond heads of the Cupids, and the silky feathery textures contribute to the cheerful material richness of his work.
Fragonard, The Swing
Enlivens nearly the entire picture plane with frilly patterns. The lacy ruffles in the dress of the girl swinging are repeated in the illuminated leaves, the twisting branches, and the scalloped edges of the fluffy clouds. An elderly cleric pushes the swing, while a voyeuristic suitor hides in the bushes and peers under her skirt. His hat and her shoe are sexual references in this context. Cupid calls for secrecy with his finger to his lips. Infused Rococo statues with classical iconography to provide serious underpinning to frivolous erotic themes.
Watteau, Pilgrimage to Cythera
Depicts a group of amorous couples who have journeyed to the island of Venus. Her statue os draped with flowers denoting love and fertility. Her presence in stone marks the enduring use of the classical gods in contrast to the frivolity and transience of the trysting lovers. The emphasis on silk textures that reflect light and the powder pink cupids are typical of Rococo. As they go back to their boats the clothes get duller as they go back to the real world.
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