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Historical Dictionary of Rococo Art

Jennifer D. Milam

The Rococo emerged in France around 1700 as a playful revolt against the grandeur of the Baroque and the solemnity of Classicism. It flourished during the reign of Louis XV and began to go out of fashion in the second half of the 18th century. During this brief period of less than a century, it spread throughout the courts and cities of Europe, with significant regional variations on the style developing in Bavaria, Potsdam, Venice, and Great Britain. The period produced an extraordinary number of artistic innovators, who challenged received conventions, developed novel subject categories, and eroded hierarchical distinctions between the arts.

The Historical Dictionary of Rococo Art covers all aspects of Rococo art history through a chronology, an introductory essay, a review of the literature, an extensive bibliography, and over 350 cross-referenced dictionary entries on prominent Rococo painters, sculptors, decorative artists, architects, patrons, theorists, and critics, as well as major centers of artistic production. This book is an excellent access point for students, researchers, and anyone wanting to know more about Rococo art.
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Scarecrow Press
Pages: 334Size: 6 1/2 x 9 1/2
978-0-8108-6183-1 • Hardback • April 2011 • $92.00 • (£65.00)
978-0-8108-7952-2 • eBook • April 2011 • $87.00 • (£60.00)
Jennifer D. Milam is associate professor at the University of Sydney. She specializes in 17th- and 18th-century European art, with an emphasis on France.
Milam (art history & film studies, Univ. of Sydney, Australia) deftly explains the geographical centers, art dealers, state figures, practitioners, techniques, substyles, and concepts defining the rococo period....The well-written, thoroughly researched text... includes all European and American stylistic permutations. Alphabetized entries are carefully explained and cross-referenced for additional clarification. Also vital are a chronology of style-relevant historical events and a 25-page introduction that defines rococo’s stylistic hallmarks and implications. An important guide for art history collections.
Library Journal

This entry in the Historical Dictionaries of Literature and the Arts series provides detailed information about the who, what, why, when, and how of rococo art, covering the period from 1700 to 1789. Originating in France as a revolt against the staidness of the classical era, rococo emphasized playfulness and dramatic flourishes. Author Milam is an associate professor of art history at the University of Sydney, specializing in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century European art. The dictionary begins with helpful introductory information—a chronology and an overview of rococo art, including definitions, origins, and style. The more than 350 entries are arranged alphabetically and include cross-references in bold type. Each entry—short historical essays ranging from a few paragraphs to several pages—is written in a concise, accurate, and clear style that doesn’t require much advanced knowledge of rococo art. Topics covered include terminology, artists, critics, patrons, art pieces, architecture, and more. The comprehensive bibliography will be useful for leading the reader to additional sources. The volume...will be useful for anyone interested in the historical context of rococo. Recommended for academic and large public libraries as well as art-museum libraries.

Milam (Univ. of Sydney, Australia) offers a well-written volume on rococo, a movement generally considered to have started in France at the tail end of Louis XIV's reign and continued to the beginnings of the French Revolution. The introduction and chronology place the rococo movement firmly in historical context. Milam is careful to designate the scope of the dictionary and demarcate why certain subject matter is included or excluded. While seminal works such as Fiske Kimball's The Creation of the Rococo (1943) or William Parks's The Idea of Rococo (CH, Dec'93, 31-1917) provide in-depth historical and ideological contexts for the rococo movement, the short, easily digested entries of this dictionary allow students and researchers to navigate the aforementioned works with confidence and ease. For both undergraduate and graduate researchers, it is a well-informed starting point for further research. The bibliography is a useful scholarly resource that includes contemporary works on rococo and information on where to find images of the works discussed. Information on databases and website resources guides students and researchers to other scholarship. Milam also provides suggestions for worldwide art collections that represent the rococo style. It is a treasure for undergraduate and graduate researchers....Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates through researchers/faculty.

The fact that the subject matter is historically a more limited phenomenon (shorter timeframe: 1700-1789) and that the author, Milam, teaches a university course specifically about this topic, is evident in the way the volume has been written. The author has a firm grasp on the material and gives a confident in-depth treatment of the movement, including, besides most of Europe, the American colonies. There is also a very interesting introduction that can even function on its own as an overview.
Art Libraries Journal

Historical Dictionary of Rococo Art is highly recommended as a reference work in this specialized area of art history, and will be of use to the beginning as well as the expert researcher of art history. The book has an excellent annotated chronology of Rococo history, as well as a significant essay on the entire Rococo period and its various styles and variations throughout Europe. . . . Overall, Historical Dictionary of Rococo Art is a fairly comprehensive dictionary on the Rococo art period.
American Reference Books Annual