Biedermeier is an art style from the early 19th century that is characterized by a classic and conventional style of painting, sculpture, architecture and interior design. Biedermeier was a response to the ornate Rococo style of the 18th century. The name "Biedermeier" comes from the German word Biedermann, meaning average-citizen or citizenry, literally "good neighbor", implying a middle class, respectable lifestyle. Biedermeier paintings are characterized by the subjects being unremarkable and everyday. The Biedermeier movement reacted against Romanticism and the preceding Rococo period by creating works that were more realistic, concentrated on everyday life and depicted everyday people. The artists of the Biedermeier period aimed to portray their own time without giving expression to a feeling or desire for an idealized world in the past, present or future. In paintings of the Biedermeier period, the social and economic changes, including the Industrial Revolution and the rise of middle-class citizenry, were reflected. Biedermeier paintings focused on themes of domesticity rather than grand romantic visions. The paintings contained no political messages, instead they commented on society by showing everyday scenes such as people reading newspapers, making music and embroidering. The works depicted everyday activities but with a sense of social stability and calm consistent with Biedermeier ideals. The subjects in paintings were innocent and mundane; landscapes, cityscapes, domestic interiors, children at play or at work, women sewing or reading as well as male portraits would be typical of the time. Painters of the Biedermeier period used elements such as softness, restraint and simplicity to show middle-class values. The colors used in paintings were typically watery because they had been diluted with large amounts of solvent in order to give a uniform finish. This was done so that when a picture caught the light it would sparkle and shine, providing another source of interest to the work. The subjects in Biedermeier paintings were generally idealized and far removed from reality. The artists portrayed a world that was harmonious, where social standing is clearly defined, distinctions are maintained between men and women as well as among family members, and sentimentality is kept at a high level.