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Rococo
(1700 - 1760)
   A term "Rococo" describes a movement in the arts in the early 18th century, in France. Rococo has been born from the Baroque era, during the age of Enlightenment. That was a time when new ideas about human existence were introduced and Rococo art is the visual representation of the optimism people felt in response to that.

   The word "rococo" is derived from "rocaille", meaning "rock work" or "shell work," a favorite motif of the time. It stresses purely ornamental, light, casual, irregular design.

   Rococo is seen both as the climax and fall of Baroque art. After the heavy works created in the Baroque style artists were ready for a change. The Rococo manner was a reaction against the"grand manner" of art identified with the baroque formality and rigidity of court life. The movement toward a lighter, more charming manner began in French architectural decoration at the end of Louis XIV's reign (d.1715) and quickly spread across Europe. During the regency of Duke of Orleans, regent for the minor heir Louis XV, the formalities of the court gave way to a more casual and intimate atmosphere. Rococo art portrayed a world of artificiality, make-believe, and game-playing. Although less formal, it was essentially an art of the aristocracy and emphasized what seem now to have been the unreflective and indulgent lifestyles of the aristocracy rather than piety, morality, self-discipline, reason, and heroism (all of which can be found in the baroque).

   The Rococo style is characterized by pastel colors, gracefully delicate curving forms, fanciful figures, and a lighthearted mood (visually and physically). The essence of Rococo art is light. Extreme highlights are placed on the subject matter and the overall work is light in color, effect, and emotion. Artists paid special attention to fine detail. Form is characterized by delicacy of color, dynamic compositions, and atmospheric effects.

   Antoine Watteau is considered to be one of the first Rococo painters. He often created asymmetrical compositions. This type of aesthetic balance became not only an important part of Rococo art, but of design in general.

   Eventually the Rococo art was replaced by the more serious style, Neoclassicism. Critics condemned it as "tasteless, frivolous, and symbolic of a corrupt society".

 Main Representatives

Discover France - Art Periods: ROCOCO STYLE
The term rococo style, or the rococo, refers to a style of decoration current in Europe, particularly France, during the 18th century...
SE Net : Rococo by B. Crafter, 1999
The Rococo style evolved out of a reaction to the formal severity of Baroque art and changing attitudes and tastes during the 18th century...
Lady's Maid Jewels: Baroque vs. Rococo, Part 1
After posting a previous entry and discussing something as being "rococo", it occurred to me that many people don't know the difference between Baroque and Rococo...
World Wide Arts Resources - Art History: Rococo: (1700 - 1760)
Based in France, Rococo was a decorative style most often used in interior design, painting, architecture, and sculpture...
Art and Architecture Library: The French Revolution
Some images of Pre-Revolutionary France. Discussions and tutorials on rococo paintings.
cranfordschools.org: Scientific Order and the Artistic Advancements of the Age of Reason
If any label has been consistently attached to the eighteenth century, it is that of the "Age of Reason." The age that preceded it, the "Baroque Age," was characterized by an excess of emotion in art and music...
18th Century Europe
Art gallery with painting's introduction to the era.
Mark Harden's Artchive: Jean-Antoine Watteau
The biography was written by Lisa MacDonald - During the 18th century, there was a developing interest in and great acceptance of nature. Not only the earth, the trees, and flowers, but also the acceptance of simple human urges and instincts increased...
mauritia.de: Georgian/ Revolutionary War - Rococo
Costumes from our workshop. You will find a collection of our reproductions of historical clothing here.
WebMuseum, Paris - Watteau, Jean-Antoine
Watteau, Antoine (1684-1721). A French rococo artist whose charming and graceful paintings show his interest in theater and ballet, Antoine Watteau is probably best known for his fetes galantes...
Artcyclopedia: Jean-Honoré Fragonard
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