Neoclassicism, an architectural result of the Renaissance, was not an advance in construction technology, but, as the term "Renaissance" implies, a rediscovery of forms and symbols, given a new birth of meaning in a changing Europe and America. As is characteristic of this kind of historical progression in architecture "high Neoclassicism [left picture], with its "pure" Greek and Roman forms (notice that the column capitals are either Ionic or Doric), eventually gave way to Baroque [center picture] with an eclectic salad bowl of forms, [ including Corinthian capitals], some pure invention .

Rococo [right picture] is represented the final stage in the Neoclassical period. It is characterized by elaboration of form and decorative detail purely for sensation display of design virtuosity. Calculus was invented during this same period and some historians have speculated that it was the use of calculus which gave designers the tools to communicate their elaborate decorative ideas precisely to craftsmen - the application of a profound new idea in the service of last barren cycle of an old one.