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‹ Rococo › : du jargon à la catégorie de style

Marie-Pauline Martin

Published online:

30 Dec 2017



Today there is a consensus on the definition of the term ‘rococo’: it designates a style both particular and homogeneous, artistically related to the reigns of Louis XV and Louis XVI. But we must not forget that in its primitive formulations, the rococo has no objective existence. As a witty, sneering, and impertinent word, it can adapt itself to the most varied discourses and needs, far beyond references to the eighteenth century. Its malleability guarantees its sparkling success in different languages, but also its highly contradictory uses. By tracing the genealogy of the word ‘rococo’, this article will show that the association of the term with the century of Louis XV is a form of historical discrimination that still prevails widely in the history of the art of the Enlightenment.

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