Baroque and Beyond C. 1600–1850

Rococo and the Eighteenth Century

What is the difference between baroque and rococo?

The difference between baroque and rococo art can be fairly confusing and even art historians aren’t exactly sure where to draw the line; some even consider rococo to be an ornate subcategory of baroque. In general, baroque is thought of as more rigid than rococo. For example, compare the architectural style of Versailles with the Würzburg Residenz in southern Germany, which features gold-painted capitals and pastel-colored ceiling paintings. Rococo art is, overall, less religious than baroque paintings, with a tendency towards images of parties, idealized landscapes, and romantic engagements, whereas baroque artists favored religious symbolism, biblical scenes, and monumental mythological paintings. Color choice is another way to tell the difference; baroque paintings, in the manner of Caravaggio, emphasize chiaroscuro and bold, rich colors, while rococo paintings are brightly illuminated and feature powdery pinks, light greens, and other pastels.


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