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Rococo is a style in art and architecture that is characterized by the reign of ornaments and décor. After the grandness of the baroque style, people were looking for intimacy, which resulted in the rise of Parisian salons. French elite gathered in private homes, usually hosted by females who competed with each other (Kleiner 314). Hostesses tried to make their salons as exquisite as possible, so they ensured that their homes had a proper interior.
Apart from heavy ornamental traits, pebble-like ornaments can be seen as one of the hallmarks of the style that are apparent in Salon de la Princesse by Germain Boffrand. Another feature of rococo is fête Galante, a genre in painting that displayed the life of the high society of France (Kleiner 315). Pilgrimage to Cythera by Antoine Watteau is one of the iconic works of this style.
Neoclassicism can be regarded as a sign of people’s fatigue with the pretentious rococo, a manifestation of the views of Enlightenment, and admiration of the Greek and Roman classical art. The 18th century was the period of major industry shifts, as well as scientific discoveries, that facilitated the development of various sciences and art. Grand Tour led to the rediscovery of classical art since people inspired by artworks of ancient artists tried to describe the masterpieces, categorize them, and bring them closer to a wider public. History of Ancient Art by Johann Winckelmann was one of such works that contributed to the creation of the Pantheon in Paris and Chiswick House near London (Kleiner 323).
Notably, revolutionary ideas were rather strong at that period, so many thinkers and the public turned to morality to respond to the extravagance of some representatives of the nobility. Death of Marat by Jacques-Louis David is a painting that reflects the ideas of the French Revolution.
Kleiner, Fred. Gardner’s Art Through the Ages: A Concise Western History. 4th ed., Cengage Learning, 2016.