Rococo art, which flourished in France and Germany in the early 18th century, was in many respects a continuation of the baroque, particularly in the use of light and shadow and compositional movement. Rococo, however, is a lighter, more playful style.
Among rococo painters, Jean-Antoine Watteau is known for his ethereal pictures of elegantly dressed lovers disporting themselves at "fetes galantes". Highly popular also were mythological and pastoral scenes, including lighthearted and graceful depictions of women, by Francois Boucher and Jean Honore Fragonard. Jean-Baptiste Chardin, however, took a different view, portraying women in his genre scenes as good mothers and household managers; he also was outstanding in rendering still-life.
Paralleling the rococo tradition of the continent were the works of three major artists of 18th-century England. William Hogarth was known for his moralistic narrative paintings and engravings satirizing contemporary social follies. Thomas Gainsborough and Sir Joshua Reynolds, following the tradition established by van Dyck, concentrated on portraits of the English aristocracy. The verve and grace of these paintings and their astute psychological interpretations raise them from mere society portraiture to an incomparable record of period manners, costumes, and landscape moods.