Rococo Architecture (see also Baroque )
The Rococo Basilica at Ottobeuren (Bavaria): architectural spaces flow together and swarm with life
The Rococo style of art emerged in France in the early 18th century as a continuation of the Baroque style, but in contrast to the heavier themes and darker colors of the Baroque, the Rococo was characterized by an opulence, grace, playfulness, and lightness. Rococo motifs focused on the carefree aristocratic life and on lighthearted romance rather than heroic battles or religious figures; they also revolve heavily around nature and exterior settings. In the mid-late 18th century, rococo was surpassed by the Neoclassic style.
The word Rococo was apparently a combination
of the French rocaille, or shell, and the Italian barocco, or Baroque style. Due to Rococo love of shell-like curves and focus on decorative arts, some critics used the term to derogatively imply that the style was frivolous or merely fashion; interestingly, when the term was first used in English in about 1836, it was a colloquialism meaning "old-fashioned". However, since the mid 19th century, the term has been accepted by art historians. While there is still some debate about the art historical significance of the style, rococo is now widely recognized as a major period in the development of European art.
Anti-Rococo: William Hogarth's Marriage