This article takes a look at some of the French furniture styles from Baroque to Neoclassical.
French furniture styles from Baroque to Neoclassical
Louis XIV French Furniture Style (1661-1700)
Louis XIV took the throne in 1661, and commissioned furnishings and decor to reflect glory, wealth, and power. You only need to look at his home; The Palace of Versailles to understand his vision and taste.
Many of the lavish and flamboyant pieces from this period or pieces created in the Louis XIV style can also be described as Baroque.
Baroque is a style characterised by rich, heavy detail, and overly ornate forms. Can be best described as decorative excess. Baroque can also refer to the style of art, music, and architecture from 17th Century Rome, which was popular during the reign of Louis XIV.
Louis XV Period French Furniture (1723-1774)
The Louis XV style was a French Rococo style in the decorative arts. Rococo style was developed in the early 18th century in Paris, France. French Furniture from this period was highly ornamental yet elegant and designed to mesh seamlessely with the rest of the home decor.
Rococo rooms were designed as a complete work of art with elegant ornate furniture, small sculptures, mirrors and tapestries complementing wall paintings and architecture.
In the 18th century, French artists moved away from the powerful Baroque style, and French furniture styles began to move towards a light delicate, curved asymmetrical forms along with elaborate ornamental decorations.
Louis XVI Period French Furniture (1760-1789)
The reign of Louis XVI ushered in the Neoclassical style of French Furniture.
In contrast to the Baroque and Rococo styles above, French Furniture in this period was clean and contemporary. It lacked the excessive flair and ornamentation of the Baroque style, but draws inspiration from the culture and style of ancient Greece and Rome.
Louis XVI furniture is characterized by its elegant and clean lines. Furniture with legs were often tapered and fluted, which references the classical columns of Roman and Greek architecture. The lines of the furniture became less dramatic, but developed a heavy, solid look, much like the architecture its based on.
A common design cue from Greek architecture is the use of the Greek laurel leaf wreaths, which is seen in the marquetry inlay of french furniture, and gilded brass mounts on French furniture of this period.
The Neoclassic style became the dominant style in French Furniture at the end of the 18th century.
The Louis XVI Neoclassical style is also often associated with the “Etruscan” style, which is also characterised by a complex mix of sculpture like ornamentation with metal and ceramic mounts.