Art: Rococo Retrospective

Doomed to be thrust from power by the onrushing forces of history, the aristocracy of 18th century Europe elected to live out its autumn in a sort of perpetual costume party. It was an age of elaboration, in manners and art, essentially frivolous but with a concealed streak of autumnal sadness. Its curlicued style came to be called rococo.

Typical of the rococo was its enchantment with porcelain. Early in the 18th century, a German alchemist discovered the Oriental secret of making true hard-paste porcelain, and soon princes were avidly collecting the stuff. Many...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!