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Bernardo Bellotto

1720-1780

Romantic Italian Landscape Rococo  Painter

Stylistically Influenced by the following Painters: Canaletto
 and Pompeo Batoni
 

Education - studied under Canaletto
 

Cause of Death - Heart Failure

 
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Schonbrunn Palace and Gardens, 1759/61
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Rio Dei Mendicanti and the Scuola Di ...
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The Belvedere from Gesehen, Vienna
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Bernardo Bellotto's style reveals a taste for what is charming and elegant. He specialized in metropolitan landscapes and historical architecture. Often using a technique called camera obscura in order to achieve the greater accuracy of his urban views. Bellotto lived during a time of political unrest and social upheaval. The old social order imposed by greedy monarchs and enforced by corrupt clergymen was buckling under freedom of the press and an intellectual movement called "The Enlightenment".  People were becoming curious about modern science, art and philosophy.  Venice, Bellotto's birth place, was an enchanting city of canals, art studios, vineyards, wine, rich cheeses, magnificent cathedrals and a breathtaking marina.
 
About the Rocco Movement
 
'The Art of the Aristocracy'
 
The word is derived from "rocaille" (pebble), but the term referred in particular to the small stones and shells used to adorn the interiors of grottoes. Such shells or shell forms were the primary motifs in Rococo ornament.
 
The Rococo style began as a backlash against Baroque formality and stuffiness. Unlike Baroque, Rococo is not concerned with religious matters or dramatic expression. The highly decorative art and design movement began in Paris, France in the early 1700s. The style is profoundly symbolic of the self-indulgence of European aristocratic rulers. Rocco manner is characterized by graceful, enchanting, lighthearted themes and seldom features anything of substance. Paintings are animated and clever, reflecting an impishly sensual daydream. 
 
Rococo Portraiture
 
Rocco paintings feature beautiful aristocrats decked out in velvet, elegant laces and rich golden embroideries. The figures are tall and willowy, stylish and charming. The faces are presented as soft and rosy, effeminate and eternally young. Noblemen are depicted wearing feminine coiffeurs, rouged lips and cheeks, often sporting high heels. In a way they resemble modern day drag queens. The Rocco female figures are delicate and light; the faces, are childish and sentimental. The lines of the mouth curve in soft mischief or in a delicate enchanting smile. 
 
Characteristic of Rococo art was paintings of carefree aristocrats at play in make-believe settings. These romantic scenes depict luxuriously costumed ladies and gentlemen flirting, picnicking and playing music at gallant country parties.  The background scenery is often a serene natural setting with delicate trees and sprays of roses. Colors are a profusion of soothing, light pastels. The Rococo movement was initially restricted to France, later spreading to all of Europe and above all to Germany. The movement continued to develop until the arrival of Neoclassicism which attempted to return to the purism of classical antiquity.
 
Principle Artists of the Rococo Period
 
Pompeo Batoni Italian,1708-1787
Bernardo Bellotto Italian,1720-1780
Francois Boucher French, 1703-1770
Canaletto Italian, 1697-1768
Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin French,
1699-1779
Jean-Honoré Fragonard French,
1732-1806
Thomas Gainsborough English, 1727-1823
Francisco de Goya Spanish, 1746-1828
Thomas Hudson English,1701-1779
Jean-Marc Nattier French, 1685-1766
Joshua Reynolds English, 1723-1792
Paul Sandby English, 1730-1809
Jean Antoine Watteau French,
1684-1721

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References -  Richard Muther, The History of Modern Painting, Henry and Co., London, 1896