The porcellaneous ocean matter and meaning

Book chapter


Quigley, Killian. (2019) The porcellaneous ocean matter and meaning. In In Cohen, Margaret and Quigley, Killian (Ed.). The aesthetics of the undersea pp. 28-41 Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429444203-3
AuthorsQuigley, Killian
EditorsCohen, Margaret and Quigley, Killian
Abstract

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, ocean life and ocean space posed imaginative problems for conventional aesthetic and poetic structures like the pastoral, the picturesque, and the sublime. This chapter shows how the undersea became productively visible, for eighteenth-century audiences, readers, and consumers, through practitioners and products of the Rococo, a rather loose term for the ludic, sensual, and often ostentatious continental mode that received some of its greatest expressions in porcelain and other plastic arts. For the Rococo, shell-curved lines and coralline forms are key enthusiasms; it manifests, furthermore, a sustained aqueous sensibility. The Rococo’s material, aesthetic, and imaginative provocations did not confine themselves to art and literature: when the French natural philosopher Jean-André Peyssonnel made paradigm-busting inquiries into the nature of coral, he found himself describing a rococo sort of creature, seeming at once animal, vegetal, and rock-like. It was – and may remain – eminently suited to undersea domains that are envisioned as repositories of extraordinary treasure.

Page range28-41
Year2019
Book titleThe aesthetics of the undersea
PublisherRoutledge
Place of publicationAbingdon, United Kingdom
SeriesRoutledge environmental humanities
ISBN9780367001582
9780429444203
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429444203-3
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All rights reserved
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Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication process dates
Deposited17 Mar 2021
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