Exquisite Everyday: 18th–Century Decorative Arts Objects from the J. Paul Getty Museum
This exhibition brings together seven decorative arts masterpieces made in France and Italy in the early 1700s, demonstrating the increased attention paid by the architects, artists, and craftsmen of the period to everyday activities. By applying innovative design to the utilitarian function of commonplace objects from chairs to chamber pots, the creators of these works sought to elevate the trivial aspects of daily life for their upper class patrons.
The elegant and extravagant modes of expression that resulted from these efforts gave rise to a style known as the rococo, which frequently captured an illusion of softness through curving, undulating lines. Rich with sensuous detail and virtuoso craftsmanship, these works not only reward close and prolonged looking, but also mark the serious regard paid to the engineering, production, and consumption of household items—a preoccupation that we continue to bring to the design, quality, and use of our own everyday objects.
Tamara H. Schenkenberg
Made in France and Italy during the eighteenth century, the seven decorative arts objects in this exhibition attest to the evolving relationship between aesthetic taste and everyday life among the upper classes of the era, who sought to cultivate an atmosphere of fascination and delight in their homes. The works on view also highlight the refinement of the skilled makers who pursued innovations in the form, materials, and production of domestic items. This intimate presentation of works—all from the collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum—not only rewards close looking, but also reveals ways in which the design of objects shaped behaviors, attitudes, and actions. (Please click here to read the complete essay.)