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Rococo  

Richard John and Ludwig Tavernier

A decorative style of the early to mid-18th century, primarily influencing the ornamental arts in Europe, especially in France, southern Germany and Austria. The character of its formal idiom is marked by asymmetry and naturalism, displaying in particular a fascination with shell-like and watery forms. Further information on the Rococo can be found in this dictionary within the survey articles on the relevant countries.

Richard John

The nature and limits of the Rococo have been the subject of controversy for over a century, and the debate shows little sign of resolution. As recently as 1966, entries in two major reference works, the Penguin Dictionary of Architecture and the Enciclopedia universale dell’arte (EWA), were in complete contradiction, one altogether denying its status as a style, the other claiming that it ‘is not a mere ornamental style, but a style capable of suffusing all spheres of art’. The term Rococo seems to have been first used in the closing years of the 18th century, although it was not acknowledged by the ...

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(Stepanovich)

(b Simferopol’, May 6, 1858; d Moscow, Oct 5, 1923).

Russian painter of Ukrainian birth. He qualified as a surveyor, but in 1880 he entered the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, studying under Illarion Pryanishnikov and Yevgraff S. Sorokin (1821–92). There he became close friends with Sergey Ivanov, Sergey Korovin, Konstantin Korovin, Mikhail Nesterov and, in particular, Isaak Levitan, and he shared their enthusiasm for Realism. Stepanov began by painting small genre scenes in the style of Pryanishnikov, through whom he became interested in the hunt. He progressed from hunting scenes, which had special significance for him, to animal painting, and he became a leader in the genre. He joined the Wanderers in 1891, exhibiting with them from 1888 to 1900. His most successful works from these years are Elks (1889) and Cranes Flying (1891; both Moscow, Tret’yakov Gal.). These show features typical of the groups with which he was associated, including an emphasis on landscape in genre painting, a lyrical mood and work ...