The style can be found in visual arts as much as in the music, fashion, design or literature which deny the authenticity exalting the compulsive copy and the artificiality. All the indications are that its appearance has something with Romanticism -- as the expression of feelings has dramatic and melodramatic shapes -- but the most popular notion is very recent and it's linked to the burgeois furor of the 19th century: new products emerging to please the middle class. It's the time when we can perceive the mass culture phenomenon because everybody wanted to have what everybody already had.
The objects are never made of the materials that they seem to be made -- for example, the wood is painted to look like marble, the zinc is bronzed and the bronze is painted to look like gold. Everything must be faked to look noble and, then, there comes the rise of Eiffel Towers' miniatures, giant cats, angels, bibelots with saints, porcelain ducks, 'The Last Supper' reproductions, fake Rolexand medals. As a final touch, the undefined and highly syncretic of ribbons, laces, glaring colors, biscuit flowers and whatever else the human mind is able to hang. There's no intention to be functional -- it's just decorative.
At the first decades of the 20th century, the kitsch productions started to be attacked by the avant-garde artists, which claimed for its destruction in the name of creativity and non-mass attitudes. They believed that this modality counteracted the individual tastes' development -- for instance, Milan Kundera, in his book "The Unbearable Lightness of Being", links these over-copied objects to the Czech totalitarian regime. However, we must not let ourselves to be mistaken by the pathetic aspect of these productions. With no doubts, they are creative and rich in their "charming" purposes and accuse a social psychology where everything's worthy to be in the middle of the main course.
The richness of these objects is still on the top: porcelain houses and pot factories made for kitchen with cow stamps or religious artifacts are still earning with the reproduction of these adorns. Following also the retro tendencies which invaded our quotidian, kitsch elements (used with a good taste, of course) are one of the coolest options when the subject is decoration. We live the rebirth of the refrigerator penguins. They are a nightmare when the subject is cleaning them.