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Le rococo, une construction historiographique : introduction

Carl Magnusson

Published online:

30 Dec 2017



In Rococo historiography, the first half of the eighteenth century is generally described as the golden age par excellence of decoration. The so-called major arts are often considered to have played a lesser role in its artistic development. The period is thus systematically associated with artefacts produced by artisans, hence belonging to a less dignified category in the artistic hierarchy. In order to investigate the ideological background of this assumption, the article focuses on the debates on art which emerged, mainly in France, in the 1740s. These highly biased discourses, targeting the so-called bad taste of contemporary French painting and interior decoration, shaped a vision of the first half of the eighteenth century of which many aspects were later inherited by Rococo historiography, especially in its relation to decoration.

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