It’s been months since I last posted in my history of styles column and I really hope you will enjoy today’s time travel to the beautiful and luxurious era of Baroque. As many other cultural movements it appeared first in Italy and then started to spread throughout Europe acquiring in each country its distinctive features. Today we shall talk about Baroque in France. It became very popular during the reign of Louis XIV. There is no wonder, as during his government France became one of the most influential countries in the world and Baroque with its grandeur and pomposity was the perfect style to demonstrate its power. In order to plunge into the atmosphere of that period I recommend you to watch the wonderful movie “Angelica and the King” starring Giuliano Gemma and Michèle Mercier:
At a glance:
Baroque style is characterised by aspiration for greatness and splendour: it features massive staircases, columns, pilasters. Interiors are decorated with coloured marble, sculptures, stucco, paintings, moldings and carvings. Mirrors and paintings visually expand the space. Walls are usually hung with expensive fabrics and tapestries. Favourite colours are blues, greens, reds and gold. From classicism Baroque inherited symmetry which gives interiors decorated in this style formal and solemn look.
Everything in Baroque style interior was aimed to impress and thrill. Bed was usually given the primary role: decorated with ostrich feathers and covered with splendid fabrics it always was the focal point in the room.
One of the most prominent figures of French Baroque was the cabinet maker André-Charles Boulle. His furniture decorated with marquetry technique was solid, luxurious and elaborate. Common materials he used for inlays were tortoiseshell, mother-of-pearl, brass and various woods. Later on in the 19th century all furniture with inlays was generally called Buhl.
Tapestry manufacturing in Aubusson region in France dates back to the 16th century. Very often tapestires were used as an upholstery fabric:
Ancient Roman trophies were often used as a part of decor to demonstrate the strength and power of the owner. It became especially popular in the early phase of Louis XIV government. They were usually depicted as a heap of helmets, swords, pears, flags, shields. This element was very often used in formal portraits:
Floral and ornate motifs
Floral motifs are widely used in the Baroque period. Among the favorite ornaments were acanthus leaves, water lily leaves, palm leaves, branches of laurel, olive and oak tree, scrolling foliage and garlands of fruits and flowers.
Chubby children often called by Italian word “Putti” as well as cupids with wings are very popular motif used on many Baroque objects.
Gilt-wood furniture with luxurious ornaments incorporating foliage, animals, masks and twirls is one of the distinctive features of the Baroque era.
Baroque is one of the historical styles which remains popular until now and inspires many modern interior and furniture designers.
I hope you enjoyed today’s journey! Kindly note that all images in this post are copyrighted (apart from the movie screenshot), please do not use them without my permission.
Want to learn more about various interior styles? Check my “HISTORY OF STYLES” book: