Robin Urton: dimensional paintings on glass


French Baroque

George de la Tour

Dream of St. Joseph

Repentent Magdalen

George de la Tour is my favorite French Baroque painter. He seems to combine the best characteristics of Italian and Northern art of the period. The above images, for example have the dramatic lighting effects similar to Caravaggio and his followers, as well as the somewhat somber religious themes. The Fortune Teller, below, is more of a genre-scene, similar to a Dutch artist such as Vermeer. The brighter colors and atmospheric lighting also reminds me of this artist. An interesting story is told through the imagery. A young man has been lured by a pretty young woman to see a fortune teller. While he is being distracted, his new "friend" cuts the chain to his purse, while her companion picks his pocket.

The Fortune Teller

(Detail Reveals the Story)



French Rococo


Jean Fragonnard, The Bathers 1765

Fragonnard, The Swing, 1766

Rococo was the favored style of French aristocracy and royalty. It is characterized by frivolous themes, mostly pictures of the upper class enjoying their life of ease and priviledged status. Though delicate and elegant, it is largely out of favor these days, as it represents a very unrealistic and superficial view of the world. King Louis XIV was one of the greatest supporters of this type of painting, and the architecture of his palace, the Versailles,also follows the Rococo ideal, which is extremely elaborate, decorative, and even decadent in its richness.

Palace of Versailles, Hall of Mirrors

Francois Boucher, Marquise de Pompadour 1756

The Rococo style is an excellent documentary on the priorities of the royalty and aristocratic class in France. At this time there was a large underpriveleged class who were forced to pay high taxes to the King, but were given nothing in return. This brings about the French Revolution. Along with a debunking of the previous powers, the new art will also reflect their political and ideological concerns. The nineteenth century brings about many new styles, and art patronage shifts from that of the Church and royalty to galleries that sell art to members of the upper and middle classes. France (especially Paris) becomes the center of artistic activity, and its influence will be felt all across Europe and America.


Next: 19th Century