Waldemar looks at the pursuit of pleasure in the Rococo age, to which a huge amount of cultural energy was devoted. For the first time in history, pleasure and happiness were seen as unalienable human rights that everyone was free to pursue and is reflected so poignantly in the art of Boucher, Watteau, Gainsborough and Tiepolo. In its boundless search for delight it often went too far, but, put crudely, Rococo art stopped tasting like medicine and started tasting like cakes.
Following the grandeur of Baroque, Rococo art is often dismissed as frivolous and unserious, but Waldemar Januszczak disagrees. In this three-part series he re-examines Rococo art and argues that the Rococo was actually the age in which the modern world was born. Picking three key territories of Rococo achievement – travel, pleasure and madness – Waldemar celebrates the finest cultural achievements of the period and examine the drives and underlying meanings that make them so prescient.