Rococo referred to as “Late Baroque” is an 18th century style which developed as Baroque artists gave up their symmetry and became increasingly ornate, florid, and playful. Rococo rooms were designed as total works of art with elegant and ornate furniture, small sculptures, ornamental mirrors, and tapestry complementing architecture, reliefs, and wall paintings. It was largely supplanted by the Neoclassic style. The word Rococo is seen as a combination of the French rocaille, meaning stone, and coquilles, meaning shell, due to reliance on these objects as motifs of decoration. These painters used delicate colors and curving forms, decorating their canvases with cherubs and myths of love. Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684–1721) is generally considered the first great Rococo painter. He had a great influence on later painters, including François Boucher and Jean-Honoré Fragonard, two masters of the late period. Even Thomas Gainsborough’s delicate touch and sensitivity are reflective of the Rococo spirit. Élisabeth-Louise Vigée-Le Brun’s style also shows a great deal of Rococo influence, particularly in her portraits of Marie Antoinette. Other Rococo painters include: Jean François de Troy, Jean-Baptiste van Loo, his two sons Louis-Michel van Loo and Charles-Amédée-Philippe van Loo, his younger brother Charles-André van Loo, and Nicolas Lancret. Both Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin and Jean-Baptiste Greuze, were important French painters of the Rococo era who are considered Anti-Rococo. During the Rococo era Portraiture was an important component of painting in all countries, but especially in Great Britain, where the leaders were William Hogarth (1697–1764), in a blunt realist style, and Francis Hayman, Angelica Kauffman who was Swiss, Thomas Gainsborough and Joshua Reynolds, in more flattering styles influenced by Antony Van Dyck. While in France during the Rococo era Jean-Baptiste Greuze was the favorite painter of Denis Diderot, and Maurice Quentin de La Tour, and Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun were highly accomplished Portrait painters and History painters.
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