Difference Between Baroque and Rococo

Key Difference – Baroque vs Rococo

Baroque and rococo are two styles in art and architecture that were popular during the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. Both these exquisite forms of art are viewed in terms of the same art movement. During this Neoclassical period there was an increase in scientific and philosophic advances, and therefore most of the portraits which belonged to the Baroque and Rococo styles focused on elaborating political truths, different aspects of society and culture of that time. Likewise, these forms of architecture and art turned ordinary buildings in to unique pieces of art that fulfilled souls with delight and excitement. Baroque and Rococo styles were created basically for the noble mansions, monarchies and for churches. The key difference between baroque and rococo is that rococo produced more delicate and feminine work than the baroque style.  

Baroque – Meaning, Origin and Features

The word Baroque is considered to have Latin roots which give it the meaning; rough or imperfect pearl. In informal context, this word refers to something that is detailed and sophisticated. This term was first applied to arts in the 15th century Italy, specifically from 1595 to 1750. This form of art is known to have emerged as a reaction of the Catholic artists to the newly emerged Protestant movement. Even though this movement started in Italy, it swiftly spread throughout Europe. Baroque art is often viewed as a form of art which depicts violence and darkness.

Rococo – Meaning, Origin and Features

The word Rococo is derived from the Latin word shell. Many artists argue that this word refers to the decorative motives that were derived from things like sea shells, coral and foliage. This form of art began in France around 1720s, specifically at the end of Louis XIV’s reign (d.1715) and rapidly spread across Europe. This style of art is also known to have emerged during the last phase of the Baroque movement. Rococo style is considered to be a revolt against the dull and solemn Baroque designs of the royal courts of France in Versailles. The Rococo style of art is always distinguished by its elegant refinement which involves different materials like shells, to give away a delicate touch to art. With this delicate touch, Rococo art was famous for its light-hearted feminine and unusual style-less focus.

Similarities Between Baroque and Rococo

  • The commonality of the time span of these two forms of art, which runs from the 15th to the 17th
  • The Furniture that was made during this time
    • was heavy in ornamentation
    • had curvaceous cabriole style legs
    • had sculptural S- and C-scrolls
    • complex cravings of shells and leaves
    • had an Asian influence
  • Use of framed canvas paintings and fresco-style architectural paintings as trimmings for the interiors
  • Use of luxurious fabrics which included lush velvet and damask
  • Use of color and sensitively motivated artwork that seems to lean on viewers at every sight
  • During this time, customers and trends demanded splendor, lavish design, which would praise the power, authority of building owners and nobles.

What is the difference between Baroque and Rococo?



  • A major architectural movement
  •  Subset of the movement
  • Furniture is strictly symmetrical
  • Furniture is more delicate and feminine than Baroque furniture, featuring more slender legs, more organically formed seats with wider arms and an emphasis on asymmetry
  • Paintings are much more dramatic and theatrical with a strong sense of movement, darker colors and a focus on key elements of Catholic dogma.
  •  Paintings feature pastel colors, sinuous curves and lighter subjects of mythology, romantic love and portraiture.

  • Pietro da Cortano
  • a trompe l’oeil
  • Peter Paul Rubens
 Artists :

  • Francois Boucher
  • Giambattista Tiepolo
  • bold, contrasting colors
  • Lighter shades of ivory, gold and pastel hues
  • Use brocatelle and flowered or painted silks
  • Use of floral carvings, mirrors with golden gliding, large candelabras, chandeliers and candle wall sconces
  •  Heavy and curved lines in furniture
  • Slightly more elegant/ graceful version
  •  More gold
  •  Less gold and more white
  •  Often religious themed
  •  Themes were related to nobility & aristocracy
  • Massive mirrors
  •  Shell motifs, more playful and light/ airy
  •  High domes, meant to display wealth
  • Designed more for casual decoration – Not oppressive and formal

Here are some examples of these two forms of art:


Difference Between Baroque and Rococo - 1

Aeneas Flees Burning Troy, Federico Barocci, 1598

Difference Between Baroque and Rococo - 2

The main altar of St. John’s Co-Cathedral, Malta

Difference Between Baroque and Rococo - 3

Bernini’s Ecstasy of St. Teresa


Key Difference - Baroque vs Rococo

Pilgrimage on the Isle of Cythera, Antoine Watteau, 1717

Difference Between Baroque and Rococo

Basilica at Ottobeuren

Difference Between Baroque and Rococo

A Rococo interior in Gatchina

When we compare these two forms, it becomes clear that Baroque is more heavy and dark than Rococo style. However, Rococo is a form of art that evolved through the artistic styles of Baroque.

 Image Courtesy:

“Hauptaltar der St. John’s Co-Cathedral” By A,Ocram – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
“Basilika Ottobeuren Hauptschiff 02″ By Johannes Böckh & Thomas Mirtsch – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
“L’Embarquement pour Cythere, by Antoine Watteau, from C2RMF retouched” By Antoine Watteau –  originally C2RMF (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
“Aeneas’ Flight from Troy by Federico Barocci” By Federico Barocci – Web Gallery of Art, Uploaded to en.wikipedia 03:45 28 Jul 2004 by en:User:Wetman.(Public Domain)via Commons Wikimedia
“Estasi di Santa Teresa” By Peter Jurik (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr
“Gau1878″ By Eduard Hau – (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia