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Art From Us MUSEUM GUIDE : The Metropolitan Museum of Art : Gallery 551

The MET : Gallery 551 : Late Baroque and Rococo Decorative Arts, 1680–1760

Art From Us, Museum Guide #655

Art From Us presents a must-see Museum Guide daily, where we showcase specific artworks in specific museums – from across the globe. Today, for Art From Us, Museum Guide #655 the spotlight is on the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) NY’s Gallery 551. Showcasing a collection of Late Baroque and Rococo Decorative Arts, 1680–1760.

The three works in focus are :

  1. Alexander Danilovich Menshikov (1673-1729), Unknown artist, ca. 1704.
  2. Toilet set in original leather case, ca. 1743-45.
  3. Allegory of Autumn (Bacchus), Filippo Parodi, ca. 1670s.

The significance of the 3 works chosen for Art From Us, Museum Guide #655

The artefacts in this gallery were produced under the influence of Rococo and Baroque styles.

What is Rococo?

The word ‘Rococo’ comes from the French words rocailles meaning ‘pebbles’ and coquilles meaning ‘shells’. These two motifs, along with others that were inspired by nature, were at the core of this artistic movement.

The Rococo style peaked around the mid 18th century. Characterised by highly decorative visuals, asymmetrical curves and gold gilding, this movement was a reaction against Baroque.

The ‘S’ and ‘C’ shaped curves were perhaps one of the most prominent features of Rococo. Other common motifs included decorative versions of the acanthus leaf, birds, flowers and frill-like swirls.

The movement also drew several Eastern visual influences. According to the MET website :

“…Because of the growing European fascination with Asia, works of art that evoked those distant lands became increasingly popular, and so-called chinoiserie motifs were skillfully incorporated into the Rococo style.”

The Rococo style was most prominently seen in France and Britain. Its influence also spread to Germany and Austria.

Gallery 551 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art promises its visitors a visual treat preserved through the ages. This one is definitely heaven for lovers of Rococo.


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