"I'm a Baroque person. More than Baroque, I'm a Rococo person. I don't draw straight lines"
- Nuno Roque
What is the Rococo?
The Rococo style is sometimes referred to as Late Baroque and has always been famous for being exuberant, feminine and light with a gilded elegance.
Key elements of this decorative style:
Sensuous curvy lines
Soft pastel colours
Stylized acanthus leaves and flowers
C & S shaped scrolls and shells
Where does the Rococo come from?
The Baroque style during the reign of Louis XIV was very serious, full of heavy ornament and drama. The perfect style to express power and control. Understandably it became very popular with the aristocracy of the time who used it to intimidate visitors. Think Palace of Versailles...
The term Rococo comes from the French word Rocaille and the Italian Baroco (end of the Baroque style). Rocaille refers to "rock work", a kind of plaster sculpted to look like rock. Before the 1700's, it was used to create fanciful grottoes in the gardens of the aristocracy. By the early 1700's, rocaille techniques were also being used indoors by French plasterers and the term was used to refer to the delicate scrolling patterns of stucco on walls, ceilings and wood panelling.
Although the Louis XV style, the Rocaille ornaments and the Rococo style are often used to refer to the same thing, it was the Rococo style that developed throughout Europe.
During the Régence (the regency period from the death of Louis XIV until Louis XV came of age in 1723), the king's government was moved from Versailles to Paris as the regent, Duc d'Orleans, preferred city life to the country. The aristocracy quickly followed and this led to a flood of renovation and interior decoration in Paris as everyone needed to catch up with the latest interior fashions.
At this time, hardly any new houses were being built in Paris, it was mainly the existing spaces that were renovated and decorated. The apartments in Paris were smaller than the houses at Versailles and the salons were used for intimate and informal gatherings. Domestic spaces became very elegant and comfortable and the feel of the new Rococo interiors were much gayer and less intimidating than the earlier Baroque spaces.