Rococo or Late Baroque was an artistic style in early to mid 18th century France. The Rococo period was an artistic movement away from the austere and religious based Baroque style. It was romantic, lighthearted but still decorative. Painters began to use lighter and brighter colours and the focus was on love, gaiety and the playfulness of courtship and social gatherings. Portraits painted during the Rococo period became lighter, based in nature and more romantic.


Embarquement pour Cythere, Jean-Antione Watteau, 1717


Although it seems that it would be the perfect style for the lavish reign of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette it actually enjoyed the height of its popularity during the reign of his predecessor. King Louis XV and his most controversial mistress Madam du Pompadour were patrons of Rococo artisans.


Boucher, Marquise de Pompadour, 1756


Rococo furniture was designed with a focus on the whole room being art and intimacy. One of the defining features of Rococo styling was ornate carving, asymmetrical composition, lighter fabrics and gold or bronze finishes. Rococo design used the shell, plant and floral motifs and S or C shaped curves. The furniture was light and generally made of Mahogany. Furniture was no longer attached to the wall, it was freestanding, so it could be moved around to suit social gatherings. Decorative mirrors were used to create a sense of open space.


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Rococo Inspired Baroque Armchair


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