The Rococo style of art emerged in France in the early 18th century. It is characterized by opulence, grace, playfulness, and lightness in contrast to the heavier themes and darker colors of the earlier Baroque period. Rococo motifs focused on the carefree aristocratic life and on lighthearted romance rather then heroic battles or religious figures. In the mid-late 18th century, rococo was surpassed by the Neoclassical style.
The word Rococo was apparently a combination of the French rocaille, or shell, and the Italian barocco, or Baroque style. Because of Rococo love of shell-like curves and focus on decorative arts, some critics used the term to derogatively imply that the style was frivolous or merely fashion. Since the mid 19th century, though, the term has been accepted by art historians. While there is still some debate about the art historical significance of the style, rococo is now widely recognized as a major period in the development of European art. Wikipedia