Catherine Palace Near St. Petersburg, Russia. An encoignure by royal cabinetmaker Jean-Pierre Latz circa 1750 is richly ornamented with marquetry and ormolu. The Walt Disney style was right on the button. Rococo describes a type of art and architecture that began in France in the mid-1700s. Exuberant Rococo style interiors can be surprising. Rococo is a period rather than a specific style. Overview of the Style - The Rococo Style used a lighter and more elegant approach to interior design than its predecessors. "The Reason which had begun to occupy such an important place in the philosophy of the time," Hamlin writes, "has become the guiding light of architecture.". Theater's influence could be seen in the innovative ways painting and decorative objects were woven into various environments, creating fully immersive atmospheres. "Illusion, in fact, is what the Bavarian rococo is all about, and it applies everywhere," claims historian Olivier Bernier in The New York Times, "Although the Bavarians were, and remain, devoted Catholics, it is hard not to feel that there is something deliciously nonreligious about their 18th-century churches: more like a cross between salon and theater, they are full of amiable drama.". The 1717 painting detail shown here, Les Plaisirs du Bal or The Pleasure of the Dance by Jean Antoine Watteau (1684-1721), is typical of the early Rococo period, an era of changes and contrasts. Allegories of astronomy and geography. Zimmermann was enlisted to build gathering places for miracles, but his reputation rests on only two churches built for the pilgrims—Wieskirche in Wies and Steinhausen in Baden-Wurttemberg. Rococo Style Architecture on the National Ceramics Museum in Valencia, Spain. "Where the baroque was ponderous, massive, and overwhelming," writes fine arts professor William Fleming, "the ​Rococo is delicate, light, and charming." Belvedere Palace in Vienna, Austria was designed by architect Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt (1668-1745). Creamy and pastel-like colours were used for paintings, unlike the darker shades in Baroque art. Andreas von Einsiedel/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images. Antoine Watteau, Pilgrimage on the Isle of Cythera (1717, Louvre) captures the frivolity and sensuousness of Rococo painting. Rococo art and architecture carried a strong sense of theatricality and drama, influenced by stage design. Rococo describes a type of art and architecture that began in France in the mid-1700s. One of the most famous Rococo painters was Antoine Watteau. Rococo art subsequently inspired numerous painters to produce work that was both sumptuous and light. Rococo-style House of the Good Shepherd in Bratislava (Slovakia) - an example of the 18th century bourgeoisie house. The painting shown here, Time Unveiling Truth in 1733 by Jean-François de Troy, is such a scene. Often referred to merely as Late Baroque, the Rococo developed from the Baroque artistic movement. Meaning "total works of art," it describes the architect's responsibility for both the exterior and interior design of their structures—the construction and decoration. Frequently imitated to this day, L'Escarpolette is at once frivolous, naughty, playful, ornate, sensual, and allegoric. Italian porcelain candlesticks decorated with fish, shells, leaves, and flowers were common designs from the 18th century. Called Rococo, the lavish style combined the delicacy of French rocaille with Italian barocco, or Baroque, details. The porcelain statuette and vase add a touch of chinoiserie. The Rococo has been the focus of much discussion, analysis and criticism by art historians throughout history. The local competition for stucco artists was to use the pasty plaster to transform craft into decorative art. ), ca. Ideals of democracy fueled this Age of Reason (also known as the Enlightenment) when society was becoming liberated from its absolute monarchy. It was France's Pre-Revolutionary time of growing secularism and continued growth of what became known as the bourgeoisie or middle class. The period between 1715 and when Louis XV came of age in 1723 is also known as the Régence, a time when the French government was run by a "regent," who moved the center of government back to Paris from the opulent Versailles. Architects such as Nicolas Pineau popularized the art in France and by the 1730s the style had spread to the sculpting and painting disciplines. Pair of lovers group of Nymphenburg porcelain, c. 1760, modelled by Franz Anton Bustelli. The 18th century was a transitional time and, perhaps, the beginning of the modern world we live in today. Paintings with allegorical subject matter were common by artists who were not bound to aristocratic rule. Unseen in this detail is the image of a dog, the symbol of faithfulness, sitting at the feet of the virtues. "Liberty, equality, and fraternity"​ was the slogan of the French Revolution, and the Rococo of excess, frivolity, and monarchies was over. Julian Elliott/robertharding/Getty Images. Paintings are characterized by the use of soft colors and fuzzy outlines, curved lines, detailed ornamentation, and a lack of symmetry. Detail-work flourished in the Rococo period. Watteau's landscape is of the time, anticipating the time to come. Catherine I, Empress of Russia from 1725 until her death in 1727, was one of the great women rulers of the 18th century. Before the style’s emergence, the dominant style under reign of Louis XIV in France was the Baroque style. More modern architects, such as the American Frank Lloyd Wright, have also embraced this concept of architectural control, inside and out. The subject matter of paintings from this period grew bolder—some of it may even be considered pornographic by today's standards. Tomb effigy (1773) of Amalia Mniszech in St. Mary Magdalene Church in Dukla, Poland. Characteristics of rococo art include natural motifs, elaborate carved forms, asymmetrical designs and rocaille. Only details of her dress are rococo, Igreja de São Francisco de Assis in São João del Rei, 1749–1774, by the Brazilian master Aleijadinho, Czapski Palace in Warsaw, 1712–1721, reflects rococo's fascinations of oriental architecture, St. Andrew's Church in Kiev, 1744–1767, designed by Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli, Eszterháza in Fertőd, Hungary, 1720–1766, sometimes called the "Hungarian Versailles", The Rococo Branicki Palace in Białystok, sometimes referred to as the "Polish Versailles", Unknown artist. Rococo art emerged in France as a decorative art used in interior design and gardens, but painters began to adopt the style in the early eighteenth century. Characteristics of Rococo include the use of elaborate curves and scrolls, ornaments shaped like shells and plants, and entire rooms being oval in shape. Its works were said to be more graceful and ornate than those of the earlier Baroque movement. The Rococo period in France was transitional. The decline of the art coincided with the rise of the more serious Neoclassicism. Often classified simply as "Late Baroque," Rococo decorative arts flourished for a short period before Neoclassicism swept the Western world. Jean-Honore Fragonard (1732-1806), a student of Boucher, is well-known for creating the quintessential Rococo painting—The Swing c. 1767. Rococo style developed as an alternative to the highly restrictive Baroque Style and celebrated sophistication, elegance and, asymmetrical and ornamental designs. Dominikus Zimmermann was born June 30, ​1685 in the Wessobrunn area of Bavaria, Germany. The Italian Rococo artist Carlo Carlone was commissioned for the ceiling frescoes. Watteau created a new kind of painting category known as amorous festival paintings. Boucher's name is sometimes synonymous with Rococo artistry as is the name of his famous patron, Madame de Pompadour, the King's favorite mistress. The next in line, Louis XVI, would be the last of the House of Bourbon to rule France. The Rococo period in Europe is also a period when America's Founding Fathers were born—George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams. Professor Talbot Hamlin, FAIA, of Columbia University, has written that the 18th century was transformational in the way we live—that the homes of the 17th century are museums today, but dwellings of the 18th century are still functional residences, practically built to a human scale and designed for convenience. Several majestic landmarks in Europe today still attest to the elegance of Rococo art. The influence of French Rococo can be seen here in the sculpted alabaster by Ignacio Vergara Gimeno after a design by architect Hipolito Rovira. One questions whether the German stucco masters were builders of churches for God, servants of Christian pilgrims, or promoters of their own artistry. It has been criticised over the years for being over-the-top, superficial and frivolous; in such a way, the term has even been used derogatively in various points of history.

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