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1650-1790: Rococo

Architecture in the Age of Mozart

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Rococo architects applied Baroque ideas with a lighter, more graceful touch.
Archbishop's Palace at Prague Castle, Czech Republic

Archbishop's Palace at Prague Castle, Czech Republic

Photo © Diane Macdonald/Getty Images
In French, the word rocaille refers to rocks, shells, and the shell-shaped ornaments used on fountains. During the 1700s, a highly ornamental style of art, furniture, and interior design became popular in France. Called Rococo, the lavish style combined the delicacy of French rocaille with Italian barocco, or Baroque, details.

Rococo architecture is actually a later version of the Baroque style. While elaborate Baroque architecture is found in France, Italy, England, Spain, and South America, the softer Rococo styles are found throughout Germany, Austria, Eastern Europe, and Russia. While there are many similarities between the Baroque and the Rococo styles, Rococo buildings tend to be softer and more graceful. Colors are pale and curving shapes dominate.

Features of Rococo Architecture include:

  • Elaborate curves and scrolls
  • Ornaments shaped like shells and plants
  • Intricate patterns
  • Delicate details
  • Complex, asymmetrical shapes
  • Light, pastel colors
Examples of Rococo Architecture: Learn More About Rococo:

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