Analysis of La Perspective

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The Rococo period was a time of fete galante, which centered around figures having little to no action is works of art. This genre was very common during the Rococo period, since it was tailored to the aristocracy who were paying for these works of art. Fete galante creates a sense of intimacy not only with the figures in the paintings, but also with viewers seeing this painting. La Perspective exemplifies this sense of intimacy.

The figures in La Perspective seem to be set in a personal garden or a public park. Off in the center background lies an architectural element. The building looks classical in design, in that the artists incorporated columns that flow upwards into arches, and a pediment rests firmly on top of the structure. If a viewer gazes closely at the pediment it seems to be decorated with reliefs. This use of a classical structure in a park is similar to the Park at Stourhead in England. However, Watteau cut off the view of this structure with trees that seem to enclose and frame the portrait. These trees act as a theatrical background to draw the eye towards the building in the background for a sense of intimacy. This limits the composition further, because Watteau painted La Perspective on a smaller canvas. In order to see many of the details with the figures and the architectural elements, viewers need to get closer to the work of art. This small size again creates a sense of intimacy with the viewers. There is however, a sense of realism with the figures' stature in comparison to the setting. Watteau employed linear perspective, which is gives the illusion of depth and distance within a painting. For instance, the figures in the foreground are larger than those in the midground walking towards...

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...round indicate that Watteau used looser brushwork. The figures cast in shadows also showcase his looser brushwork. However, natural light peeks through from a hole in the trees to brighten up this composition, and the light focuses on the center of the work. This draws the viewer's eye, and it makes the middle the most important. Some of the figures however, such as the brightest two women and a man are cast in brighter colors such as blue and pink. This use of color with figures is similar to Watteau's Pilgrimage to Cythera. Watteau cast the rest of the painting using a technique called tenebrism, which uses intense contrasts between light and dark areas. The use of contrast in La Perspective is similar to Caravaggio's Night Watch, since the light shines on the center of the composition. This brings drama to the intimate setting with the use of oil paints.
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