Louis XIV – Louis Quatorze Style (1643–1715)

The majestic and baroque Louis XIV style reached its resplendent maturity around 1685-90,  with its solemn and heroic classicism was clearly a royal style, triumphant in its stately elegance.


“There is nothing that indicates more clearly the magnificence of great princes than their superb palaces and their precious furniture”

(Louis XIV)


info source: http://www.artquid.com/page/12/the-louis-xiv-style.html

In 1701 Louis XIV commissioned from Hyacinthe Rigaud a copy of the portrait. This portrait, Louis XIV (oil on canvas; 2.05 x 1.52 m), is on display in the Apollo Salon of the Château de Versailles' Grand Apartment.
Louis XIV portrait by Hyacinth Rigaud.

image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Louis_XIV_of_France.jpg

The Context

During the reign of Louis XIII (1610–43) there was a transition from the baroque style, strongly influenced by Italy, to the classical dignity of the period of Louis XIV (1643–1715).

The Louis XIV style, established after the king took personal control of the government in 1661, was molded by the chief minister, Colbert. He:

  • Established manufactories of tapestries, textiles, furniture, and ornaments;
  • Assembled leading artists and artisans in the royal service;
  • Appointed Charles Le Brun director of the Gobelins manufactory and decorator of the palace of Versailles.

info sources: http://www.infoplease.com/encyclopedia/society/louis-period-styles-louis-xiv.html

Hall of Mirrors Versailles
Hall of Mirrors, Versailles

image source: http://palaceversailles.com/tag/trianon/

Furniture

The commode became very fashionable, as well as console tables, writing tables and desks. Chairs were varied, ranging from the high-backed padded armchair to the stool. Legs were figural, baluster and claw. Mirrors, chandeliers and candelabras became more common. The cabinet arrived from Italy.

Louis XIV Style Chairs
Louis XIV Style Chairs

image source: http://www.rachels-antique-emporium.com/Louis-XIV-Furniture.html

Materials and Techniques

Large solid-wood pieces were made of chestnut, walnut, or oak. They were sometimes left natural, sometimes painted bright colors such as red or green, even gilded or coated in silver.

Ebony and precious woods were imported to Paris. Pear and natural woods were used in the provinces. Boulle marquetry alternated effects of  various mineral and animal materials: brass, pewter and silver, along with horn, tortoise-shell, mother-of pearl, and ivory.

Ornament

Louis XIV ornament was characterized by rigor and symmetry, resulting in compositions imbued with balance and majesty.

The sun was the royal emblem. The fleur-de-lis was used. Moldings remained thick. Motifs of human faces, gods, bearded fauns, nymphs, goddesses, allegories, arabesques, cornucopia and foliage abounded. Gilded bronze decoration was popular.

info source: http://www.timothy-corrigan.com/antiques/knowledge-center/french-furniture-styles-louis-xiv-1661-1700

How to spot a Louis XIV chair

  • Seat backs are rigid, rectangular and upright
  • Seat backs are also frequently upholstered
  • The seat itself is rectangular
  • Armrests extend to the edge of the seat
  • Chair legs are straight, and not connected at an angle
  • Stretchers connect the legs beneath the seat

info source: http://www.1stdibs.com/blogs/the-study/louis-xiv-xv-xvi-styles/

Louis XIV Style Armchair
Louis XIV Style Armchair Illustration

image source: http://www.1stdibs.com/blogs/the-study/louis-xiv-xv-xvi-styles/

“There is nothing that indicates more clearly the magnificence of great princes than their superb palaces and their precious furniture”

(Louis XIV)

This room contains furniture the then owner of the castle received from King Louis XIV, along with a portrait of the king, in memory of his visit to Chenonçeau in 1650.
Château of Chenonçeau, this room contains furniture the then owner of the castle received from King Louis XIV, along with a portrait of the king, in memory of his visit to Chenonçeau in 1650.

image source: http://www.altfuels.org/mbcc2005/day13.html

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