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In the first quarter of the 18th century, in a barely
noticeable transition, Baroque gave way to Rococo,
also known as the late Baroque period. The
unstoppable victory parade of the Age of Enlightenment, which
began with the Reformation and the Renaissance, continued its
unwavering march until the end of the 17th century in England,
inching inexorably towards its climax, and throughout the 17th
century formed the intellectual and cultural life of the entire
18th century. With this, the educated and prosperous bourgeoisie
began to discuss works of art which had hitherto been largely
left up to the nobility and the royal courts.


If up until that point
the clientele for architecture or paintings was drawn predominantly
from the church and to a lesser extent from the nobility, and the
artists were regarded rather as artisans organized into guilds,
they now became individuals with independent professions. At
the same time the artist was no longer obligated to create portraits
or works based on mythology in accordance with never-changing,
prescribed themes and commissions.

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