Rococo Architecture

Rococo Architecture

Rococo style holds a special place in the history of 18th-century European architecture. This exquisite and picturesque style emerged in France as an evolution of late Baroque and dominated the interiors of palaces and mansions of the aristocracy during the Regency and the reign of Louis XV. In this article, we will delve into the history, main features, and masterpieces of Rococo architecture.

History of the Rococo Style

Rococo style originated in France in the early 18th century and reached its peak in the 1730s-1750s. Its formation was influenced by the aesthetics and tastes of the high society of that time. The aristocracy during the Regency and the reign of Louis XV was fond of refined entertainments, gallantry, and sensuality. This atmosphere was reflected in the zigzag lines, asymmetrical forms, and abundance of decor of the Rococo style. It contrasted the lightness and elegance with the preceding Baroque's pomp and ceremony. Rococo asserted an intimate, chamber-like character of the era's interiors.

Key Features of Rococo Architecture

The main features of Rococo in architecture were decorativeness, asymmetry, abundance of plastic decorations, and ornaments. Characteristic were smooth, rounded lines and contours, intricate volutes, shells, rosettes. The composition of interiors was not subject to strict architectural techniques but to a free, picturesque approach. Spaces were filled with asymmetrically placed furniture, niches, sculptures. Predominant were pastel tones - light blue, lettuce green, pink, beige.

Characteristic Elements and Details

Typical for Rococo were oval or round niches, columns, abundant stucco on walls and ceilings. Mirrors were used everywhere, giving interiors an illusionary quality. Sculptural elements embodied pastoral motifs - flowers, shells, female figures, cherubs. Furniture was adorned with inlay, bronze, and gilding. Overall, a decorative style prevailed.

Notable Architects and Buildings in Rococo Style

Key architects in France working in the Rococo style were Julien-David Leroy and Germain Boffrand. They created the interiors of many royal residences, including Versailles.

A masterpiece by Leroy is the decoration of the King's Bedroom in Versailles with abundant gilded stucco, curved lines, mirrors. And Boffrand designed the interior of the famous Oval Cabinet there.

Other notable Rococo buildings in France include the Hôtel Soubise and Hôtel de Soubise in Paris, the bishop's residence in Châlons-sur-Marne, Château de Bellevue near Paris. These buildings were distinguished by elegance, asymmetrical layout, abundance of stucco, and mirrors.

Spread of the Style Beyond France

Apart from France, Rococo gained popularity in Germany, Austria, Italy. In Germany, a bright example is the Pillnitz Castle in Dresden with an asymmetrical layout and an abundance of ornaments.

In Italy, Rococo manifested in the decoration of Roman churches and palaces, such as the Palazzo Carpegna, Villa Albani. They are characterized by plaster decorations, curved lines, sculptures.

Thus, Rococo spread to many European countries but reached its zenith in France.

Decline of the Style

From the mid-18th century, Classicism gradually replaced Rococo. The style was criticized for its excessive decorativeness and departure from ancient canons.


In conclusion, Rococo architecture reflected the refined taste of the French aristocracy of the 18th century. This style lent interiors the charm of pastoral elegance.