Thursday, 22 September 2011


Light, sensuous, intensely decorative French style developed in the early eighteenth century, after the death of Louis XIV. The development of the style was considered to be in reaction to the Baroque grandeur of Versailles. The name comes from French term rocaille, meaning rock-work, the style derives inspiration from the forms of sea shells and corals. 

The Rococo style is characterised by: 

  • Short curves
  • Scrolls and counter curves
  • All of which are highly elaborated with fantasy.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011


Baroque is a highly emotional style in architecture, painting and sculpture. The style originated and achieved its height in Rome from 1630 - 1680, however its influence spread and extended across Europe.

Notable Baroque Artists:

  • Bernini, the sculpture and architect in Rome.
  • Sir Peter Paul Rubens, who was active in Northern Europe. Rubens was the artist who decorated the ceiling at the Banqueting House in London for Charles I.
  • Sir Anthony Van Dyck, is another notable baroque artist, he was a pupil of Rubens' and worked as a court painter in Britain for Charles I.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Sfumato Definition

Leonardo da Vinci's "Virgin of the Rocks"  1505.
The National Gallery of London.
Sfumato is one of the four canonical painting modes of the Renaissance. The Italian word sfumato means to shade. In the finished painting the composition appears as though it has a thin veil of smoke that partially conceals the subject of the painting from the viewer. Thereby adding some areas of brightness to pure regions of darkness, and partially blocking some regions of light.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Chiaroscuro Definition

The term Chiaroscuro can be characterised as the contrast between light and dark areas of a painting, which are usually bold contrasts that affect the entire composition. Often used to add drama and movement to a composition. Chiaroscuro is also often used as a technical term by artists and art historians to describe the use of contrasting light to achieve a sense of volume in modelling three-dimensional objects such as architectural features and the human body.

Caravaggio's  - The Taking of Christ (1602). Example of the use of the canonical technique of Chiaroscuro.
The use of the technique has heightened the dramatic effect of this painting.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

What is the meaning of an artist's Oeuvre

An artists Oeuvre can be defined as the works of a painter or sculpture. So in essence an artists Oeuvre is a substantial body of work constituting the life work of an artist.