French Rococo Architecture


Last time, I mentioned the development of Baroque Architecture in France. Today, I will talk about Rococo Architecture in France. It’s worth talking about. First of all, some historians incorporate Rococo period into the Baroque era. Rococo architecture follows the baroque architecture. Therefor, these two kinds of architectures have lots of similar feature. More to the point, Rococo is not a real architecture, and is more like a style of art for interior decoration.

A Rococo interior in Gatchina.

Rococo style developed in the last phase of Baroque, which it appeared during the 18th century in France and popular during the reign of King Louis XV. “The word comes form the French rocaille, meaning “rock”, and coquillage, meaning “shells,” because of the abundance of flowing, curved forms (Daniel et al., 2008 p270).” Rococo style is against the rigid classical form. Pursuit of freedom is what Rococo theme tries to express. Due to the peacetime in Europe, Rococo spread easily in Germany, Italy, Austria and Russia. By the end of the 18th century, the French Revolution represented the end of excessive style and returned to classicism that as well known as Neoclassicism. Hence, the rococo is the final phase of the Baroque era.

How to distinguish the Baroque Style and Rococo style in architecture?

Firstly, gold is the predominant color in Baroque Architectures. In contrast, Rococo Architecture prefers bright color and less gold, such as blue, pink and white color.

Baroque interior design
The Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo (Rococo building)

Secondly, Baroque style engaged the serious and heavy theme. However, Rococo style chose a more elegant and graceful version.

Finally, while Baroque style always shows religious theme; Rococo style uses aristocracy to replace religious theme. For example, indoor wall paintings of Rococo style no longer confines God stories. There were lots of paintings to show brownstone aristocratic life.

Baroque wall paintings
Pilgrimage on the Isle of Cythera (Rococo painting)

French Baroque Architecture

Baroque architecture became the dominant architecture of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in most European countries. However, the worst Baroque style structures are terrible because the troubles of those buildings are too crowded with decoration and they broke too many rules. Some Baroque style buildings are attractive and beautiful and one of them is Versailles.

The Hall of Mirrors from the Palace of Versailles

In France, King Louis XIV extensively used of the baroque style to show his absolutism. Despite the baroque style start and development in church architecture in Italy, the power of the French monarchy and the wealthy upper class developed Baroque designs to secular castle. People more concerned about the smaller details when they built estates and palaces. To design large elaborate courtyards, fountains and interior decorations are become the architects’ work, and architects’ works were similar likes interior designers and landscapers. Baroque buildings are generally very well planned, which means to fit the place where they are built and to go well with the scenery around them.

Château de Maisons-Laffitte near Paris, 1642 

“Baroque chateaux were typically designed on a three part plan, including the cpros de logis, cour d’honneur and grandiose interiors (Daniel et al., 2008 p224).” The cpros de logis is a French Architecture term for the principal part of a large palace. It is a center most section and contains the principal rooms and stat apartments and entrance. Cour d’honneus is also a French Architecture term referring a large three-side courtyard. The cpros de logis and the two wings surround it. Grandiose interiors include marble staircase and mirror halls. In eighteenth century, lots of buildings were influenced by Baroque architecture.

Daniel et al. (2008). Architecture A World History. New York: Abrams, Inc.

The Beginning of Baroque Period

In the Renaissance period, the humanism waves swept over the whole of Europe. Burgeoning Capitalism weakened seriously the dominance of religion in human ideological field. At the same time, modern natural science came into Europe. “Heliocentric Theory” overthrew “Geocentric Theory” which was supported by the Christian. Religion was hit two times in a row. The Roman Church realized the power of art. Hence, “Baroque began in Italy, where, as part of the counter-reformation, the Catholic Church sought to attract the masses away from Protestantism (Daniel et al., 2008 p223).”


Francesco Borromini: Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza     

Baroque art was stimulated by counter-reformation. Thus, pray, meditation and spirituality are cores of Baroque art, which is the response of counter-reformation. Baroque art is trying to overwhelm the sense. Therefore, entering a Baroque building, those paints and scriptures can cause a strong resonance. The style of Baroque is massive and ornate, which the main purpose is glorifying the church and the Catholic religion. In Italian Baroque architecture, it begins in the Italian model of the basilica with crossed concave surface and nave. In order to catch the attention, churches became an ostentatious display of wealth. They extensively used valuable materials and pursue fresh style. Unprecedented architectural image and techniques emerge in an endless stream. Baroque Architectures are gorgeous, grand and magnificent. Although the main reason of beginning Baroque is struggling for religious, the style quickly occupied Italy and extended to the rest of European countries.


Daniel et al. (2008). Architecture A world History. New York: Abrams, Inc.

Baroque Architecture


Hello everyone, my topic is Baroque Architecture that is a kind of building style in Baroque era. Baroque era begins around 1600 and ends roughly 1715. The word Baroque is from the Portuguese and originally used negatively (Daniel et al.,2008, p.222). It describes anything opposite from Classical art and Renaissance art. Classical and Renaissance period concerned balance and proportion. However, keywords of the Baroque are drama and passion. I love Baroque architecture and I was attracted by this dynamic architecture style including dynamic flow architecture space appearance and change of light and shadow. In Baroque style building, you can see architecture integrates with sculptures. You will also feel the holy atmosphere of religion immediately. Architects make the bulky and heavy marble light carving and colored drawing true to life. Baroque Architecture is popular through Europe and Latin America.



Daniel et al. (2008). Architecture A world History. New York: Abrams, Inc.