Creating a vivid picture of 18th and early-19th century art in Europe, this book takes a critical view of such conventional categorizations as the "Rococo", the "Neo-Classical", and the "Romantic". The author engages with crucial thematic issues such as changes in "taste" and "manners".
Hogarth's pugnaciously xenophobic 'Gates of Calais', Giambattista Tiepolo's grandiose murals at Wurzburg, Goya's satirical engravings, Los Caprichos, and Canova's chastely classical sculptures could hardly be more different but all are aspects of the same period. In an era of unprecedented change - rapid urbanization, economic growth, political revolution - artists were in the business of finding new ways of making art, new ways of selling art, and new ways of talking about art. Matthew Craske creates a totally new and vivid picture of eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century art in Europe, taking a critical view of such conventional categorizations as the 'Rococo', the 'Neo-Classical', and the 'Romantic'. He engages with crucial thematic issues such as changes in 'taste' and 'manners' and the impact of enlightenment notions of progress, and at the same time goes well beyond the usual geographical limits of surveys to take in St Petersburg, Copenhagen, Warsaw, and Madrid. The result is a refreshingly holistic survey which sets the art of the period firmly in its social history.