Based in France, Rococo was a decorative style most often used in interior design, oil painting, architecture, and sculpture. Normally associated with the reign of King Louis XV, the movement actually began in the 17th century. With the rise of the middle class, the death of Louis XIV at this time, the high society in Paris became the pinnacle of fashion. Louis XIV was succeed by the Duke of Orleans in 1715, who was know for enjoying the privileges of his office, moving social life away from the formal courts and into salons. This attitude was continued with the following reign of Louis XV. Rococo was manifested out of this new era of thought where society abandoned the formality of the earlier years and began pursuing personal amusement and happiness. One of the first Rococo painters was Jean-Antoine Watteau, whose work began to epitomize the movement with its idyllic and charming approach. Another artist that represented the Rococo period was Francois Boucher, who created oil paintings and designed tapestries for the French royalty and nobility.
The term Rococo was derived from the French word, rocaille, meaning rock and shell garden ornamentation. The style appealed to the senses rather than intellect, stressing beauty over depth. The movement portrayed the life of the aristocracy, preferring themes of romance, mythology, fantasy, every day life to historical or religious subject matter. Rococo was a light, ornamental, and elaborate style of art, identified by elegant and detailed ornamentation and the use of curved, asymmetrical forms. Other elements of the style included graceful movement, playful use of line, and delicate coloring. Dominated by feminine taste and influence, the lively colors and playful subject matter made it suitable for interior decoration. The Rococo style was also used in portraiture and furniture and tapestry design
The Rococo style is sometimes considered to be the end of the Baroque period and was eventually replaced by Neoclassicism during the American and French Revolutions at the end of the eighteenth century.
Jacopo Amigoni (1685 - 1752)
Although the exact details of his early life are unknown, Jacopo Amigoni was probably born and trained in Venice. His international career began in 1715, working in countries such as England, France, Bavaria, and Spain. Known for his Rococo style of oil painting, Amigoni made his living as a portrait painter while also working on large-scale decorative oil paintings. He died in Spain in 1752.
Francois Boucher (1703 - 1770)
Son of an artist, Francois Boucher learned many techniques as a child before receiving his formal art education from Francois Lemoyne. His initial job was as an engraver, producing replicas of Watteau drawings. However, he also was a successful painter and one the Prix de Rome in 1723. He then studied throughout Italy and began receiving royal commissions and a position as court artist. Boucher also worked for high profile, Madame de Pompadour, creating portraits and decorating her palace. Because Boucher was primarily oil painting for others, his work was consistently focused on pleasant, mythological subject matters and scenic landscapes.
Charles Cressent (1685 - 1768)
Charles Cressent became a master sculptor in 1719 and worked in the early Rococo period. He worked as the sculptor and ebeniste to the Regent, Philippe II, duc drleans. Cressent was the most famous for adding decorative bronze additions to his furniture. Although this was a his signature mark and a popular style, the means of production violated the rules of the French guild system.