2013 Winner: Rethinking Fragonard: Jean-Jacques Rosseau and the Contemporary Rococo

Project Information
Rethinking Fragonard: Jean-Jacques Rosseau and the Contemporary Rococo
Arts
Art 103: Advanced Oil Painting
Jean-Jacques Rousseau's 1750 "Discourse on the Arts and Sciences" asserts that the Arts contribute to the moral degradation of society. He refers to "decorative" art, much like that made by the French Rococo painter, Jean-Honore Fragonard as ornamenting the chains of man with "garlands of flowers" futhering his oppression. Trends in contemporary visual culture closely echo the aesthetic ideology of the eighteenth-century Rococo, and the comparison is further served by an inclusion of Rousseau's critical evaluation of art and social freedom. Winter quarter I painted a portrait of American stripper, Brooke Candy, employing Fragonard's characteristic visual opulence. The painting was made on a wooden panel measuring 50''x60'' and took two months to complete. My goal was to explore the boundary between "high and low" art, while considering the social implications of mass visual media with respect to Fragonard's body of work and Rousseau's "Discourse on the Arts and Sciences."
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Students
  • Lois Rosson (Merrill)
Mentors