History, painting, and the seriousness of pleasure

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French painting of Louis XV’s reign (1715–74), generally referred to by the term rococo, has typically been understood as an artistic style aimed at furnishing courtly society with delightful images of its own frivolous pursuits. Instead, this book shows the significance and seriousness underpinning the notion of pleasure embedded in 18th-century history panting. More precisely, it reconsiders the role of history painting in creating a new visual language that presented peace and happiness as natural rights in the aftermath of Louis XIV’s bellicose reign.