The word “Rococo” was evolved from the French word “rocaille”. Rococo art was formed in Paris in the early eighteenth century and was mainly featured by delicacy, refinement, sweetie and elegance. Its characteristics lied in the fine, lightweight, gorgeous and tedious decoration and the use of C type, S type or swirling curve and pastel colors. It had a deep influence and served the European decadent feudal nobility of the eighteenth century. After the seventeenth and eighteenth century, because of the gradual development of natural science, and impact of various democratic theories and Chinese thoughts and cultures, the “Enlightenment” was born in Europe, leading to the industrial prosperity and rising democratic thoughts. Later the industrial revolution and French Revolution broke.
These changes of objective situations exerted a great influence on development of the art at that time. Early in the eighteenth Century, although Baroque art was still popular in Europe, at the same time, an art style called Rococo was produced in France and gradually prevailed, and then replaced the Baroque style. Although Rococo still retained the comprehensive qualities of Baroque, it lacked of the religious atmosphere and exaggerated emotions and especially emphasized the use of light and beautiful and soft atmosphere. Many paintings of Rococo style were genre paintings, which were with light and sweet colors and full of elegance. The themes of Rococo paintings also included portrait, landscape, mythology and ordinary people’s life, in addition to the aristocratic life.
The Rococo style was represented by the works of French painter Antoine Watteau. Most of the works were related to the luxury life of Paris aristocracy. He did not scratch, but drew the pictures directly on the canvas. Deeply influenced by Rubens, the characters??? sharp nose, small mouth, and small fingers were all showed in his pictures with bright colors. In the use of light, Watteau will never restrain the comparison scope which Baroque painters did. Rococo art did not spread widely and gradually declined in the middle of the eighteenth century and then replaced by new classicism. The important painters at that time included: French Watteau, Chardin, Boucher, Fragonard, Italy Tiepolo, British Hogarth, Reynolds, Root Barlow, etc.