French Decorative styles during the Reign of Louis XVI (1774–91)

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French Decorative styles during the reign of Louis XVI (1774–1791)

Overview of French decorative styles during the reign of Louis XVI[edit]

Like most changes in taste, the sudden growth in popularity of neoclassicism is hard to fathom, but the reaction against the curvilinear frivolity of rococo happened quickly; during the later reign of Louis XVI, the style was fully developed.[1] The Louis XVI neo classical style is also often associated with the "Etruscan" style, which was characterized by a fairly complex mixing in of sculpture-like ornamentation and metal and ceramic mounts.[2]

Furniture during the reign of Louis XVI[edit]

During this period marchands-merciers came to the fore. This elite group of dealers supplied furniture and decorative objects to the rich, exerting considerable influence on their design. Members included Lazare Duvaux, Dominuqe Daquerre and Jean-Henri Oeben.[3] In Louis XVI furniture there is an emphasis on straight lines and right angles, seriousness, logical design, a sharp move away from the curves of the Rococo.[4] Furniture becomes restrained in its form and decoration, with much use of fluted columns, carved friezes, oak and laurel leaf, wreaths, the Greek band, and other various neo classical attempts to imitate the furniture and architecture of the Romans and Greeks.[5] It is said that the king was influenced by Queen Marie Antoinette, queen to Louis XVI. She was much responsible for the making of many small pieces of furniture that suited the furnishings of her apartment at Versailles.[6] The king loved pastel colors and exotically colored woods. During his reign was the golden age of French furniture, craftsmanship, refinement, curves, asymmetry, branches, flowers, shells, monkeys, dolphins, latticework, cherubs, and wreaths.[7] The artist Jean-Heri Reisener dictated the styles. Reisener was among the designers of the most notable cabinet work. The greatest charm that the Louis XVI period conveys to the modern mind is its informality and intimacy created by small rooms, light and delicate details.[8]

Downfall of the decorative styles associated with Louis XVI[edit]

The downfall of the decorative styles associated with Louis XVI was inextricably linked with the downfall of Louis himself in the French Revolution of 1789.[9] The revolution was very costly and lead to the suspension of the King, and the following month, the monarchy itself was abolished when France was declared a republic. Found guilty of treason by the National Convention, Louis XVI was executed on January 21, 1793.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Louis xvi furniture, french neo classical style. (2004). Retrieved from http://www.furniturestyles.net/european/french/neoclassical.html
  2. ^ Louis xvi furniture, french neo classical style. (2004). Retrieved from http://www.furniturestyles.net/european/french/neoclassical.html
  3. ^ Grubin, D. (2007, September 13). His royal hesitancy: louis xvi. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/marieantoinette/faces/louis_xvi.html
  4. ^ Louis xvi furniture, french neo classical style. (2004). Retrieved from http://www.furniturestyles.net/european/french/neoclassical.html
  5. ^ Louis xvi furniture, french neo classical style. (2004). Retrieved from http://www.furniturestyles.net/european/french/neoclassical.html
  6. ^ Louis xvi furniture, french neo classical style. (2004). Retrieved from http://www.furniturestyles.net/european/french/neoclassical.html
  7. ^ . Home decorating style guide. (2010, May 9). Retrieved from http://french-luxury.com/home_decorating.html
  8. ^ Tait, K. (n.d.). About french furniture. Retrieved from http://www.hedleyshumpers.com/furniture.html
  9. ^ Louis xvi furniture, french neo classical style. (2004). Retrieved from http://www.furniturestyles.net/european/french/neoclassical.html
  10. ^ Grubin, D. (2007, September 13). His royal hesitancy: louis xvi. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/marieantoinette/faces/louis_xvi.html

External links[edit]