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Bernardo Bellotto


 Italian, Venetian, Rococo Painter

Stylistically Influenced by the following Painters: Canaletto
Pompeo Batoni

Education - studied under Canaletto

Cause of Death - unknown

Bettollo  from the 18th century (click to enlarge)

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 Era

'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 Aristocratic Portraiture

Rocco paintings feature effeminate male aristocrats decked out in velvet, elegant laces, prancing about in high heels. Women are garishly painted sporting dusty, grey powdered wigs. 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 womanly attire. 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 wealthy 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.

Important Painters Born in the 17th Century

Bartolome Esteban Murillo 1617-1682 Spanish, Baroque
Canaletto (1697 - 1768) Italian, Rococo
Pieter de Hooch (1629-1684) Dutch, Baroque
Meindert Hobbema (1638-1709) Dutch, Baroque
Jean-Marc Nattier (1685 - 1766) French, Rococo
Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) Dutch, Baroque
Rosa da Tivoli (1655-1706)
German, Baroque
Willem van de Velde the Younger (1633 – 1707) ) Dutch
Jan Vermeer (1632 - 1675)  Dutch, Baroque
Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684 - 1721) French, Rococo

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