Templeton Lecture in European Art: Michael Yonan

Floral Rococo art example

Everson Hall Room 157

The lecture "Sensing Enlightenment in Rococo Ornamentation" will discuss how Rococo art revels in complexity, sensuality, indeterminacy, and seductive surfaces, which are conveyed in the decorative arts through the shell-like rocaille shapes that give the style its name. Rococo design was more than just an art of decoration, however. Its forms reveal the structures that bind object, image, and viewer, making it a meta-style, one in which the ontological conditions of viewer and object are interrogated. This paper explores the theoretical underpinnings of rococo ornament by examining how it transformed the art/nature duality at the center of early modern European aesthetics into a critique of sensation.

Michael Yonan is a professor at the University of Missouri. He is a scholar of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European art, with a special emphasis on the arts in Central and Northern Europe. He is also interested broadly in the decorative arts, in material culture theory and studies, and in art historical methodology and historiography.


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