The Rococo movement was an art movement that emerged in France and spread throughout the world in the late 17th and early 18th century. The word is a derivative of the French term rocaille, which means “rock and shell garden ornamentation”.
It began in 1699 after the French King, Louis XIV, demanded more youthful art to be produced under his reign. It is also referred to as Late Baroque because it developed as Baroque artists moved away from symmetry to more fluid designs.
The Rococo movement addressed the most important controversy of the time – color versus drawing – and combined the two to create beautiful pieces. Artists of this period focused more on attention to detail, ornamentation and use of bright colors.
Rococo furniture and architecture was defined by a move away from the austere religious symmetrical designs of the Baroque. Instead, they focused on secular, more light-hearted, asymmetrical design, while continuing the Baroque penchant for decorative flair.
In art, light colors, curvaceous forms and graceful lines became characteristic of the Rococo movement. Canvases were adorned with cherubs and myths of love, while keeping with the jocular trend of the period, portraiture was also popular. The Rococo artists moved away from the intense dramatics of the Baroque period and became more playful in their works. Although many artists flourished during the Rococo Movement, the most renowned are François Boucher, Jeane Antoine Watteau and Jean-Honoré Fragonard.