Louis XV Style – Louis Quinze (1723-1774)

Louis XV style is a kind of Rococò style, featured with superior craftsmanship in the making of furnishings.

Le Petit Trianon (Versailles)
Petit Trianon (1764)

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/553441f0-a33d-4b2a-bb89-a61b8535ff41 by dalbera

Le salon de compagnie (Petit Trianon, Versailles)
Salon de Compagnie of the Petit Trianon (1765)

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/b8c7056b-3b7b-4c55-af2e-eae865f0178e by dalbera


 

Louis XV Style Context

Louis XV style represented the French iteration of Rococo. Naturalistic floral motifs were a feature of the period. Women, gaining relevance in society, started influencing the lines of the Louis XV style. Louis XV reigned from 1715 to 1774. His reign saw the decline of the prestige of the monarchy and the deepening of the crisis that eventually led to the French Revolution. The style was characterized by unique craftsmanship and cabinetmaking, painting, and sculpture became part of the art of this period.

File:Préparation for a Portrait of Louis XV (1710-1774) MET 18r1 60E.jpg
Portrait of Louis XV (1710-1774)

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/0ee637e6-9c3a-4dc3-bee9-8362aebf662e by Maurice Quentin de La Tour

 

The Most Important Louis XV Style Artists

The pioneers of this style produced exquisite Rococò decorations homes owned by the richest french families. The ensemble was important. Some famous names are connected with the best works in Louis XV Rococò style: François Boucher, Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier, J.Francoise Oeben whose intricate floral marquetry and mechanical specialties are unique. Pierre Migeon, was the favourite of Madame de Pompadour.

File:François Boucher, Sketch for a Portrait of Madame de Pompadour (1721 - 1764), c. 1750 at Waddesdon Manor.jpg
François Boucher, Sketch for a Portrait of Madame de Pompadour (1721 – 1764), c. 1750 at Waddesdon Manor

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/1097a7be-8f7b-4019-8a4f-adc4763a056b by François Boucher

File:Parigi, Hôtel de Soubise (20).JPG
Chamber of the Prince, Hôtel de Soubise (1735–40)

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/c9726a15-8e9d-401f-b6bc-349d241c88b5 by Parsifall

 

Louis XV Style Characteristics

Louis XV furniture fuses usefulness with elegance.

Chairs were important for this style with the following features:

  • curved legs;
  • floral decorations;
  • comfortably padded seats and backs; 
  • deliberately asymmetrical;

Each house had at least two complete sets of furniture: one for summer and one for winter.

Armchair
French Rococo chairs with curved legs and floral decoration.

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/ee6d09d2-f04e-4527-950b-529ef5994391

 

Motifs

Fantasy played a key role in motifs, with strange animals and exotic landscapes over all surfaces. Rare woods were used for sumptuous effects, and particularly veined and colored marbles were also imported. Shells and wave-like motifs could be found on antique furniture of the Rococò period. Foliage and seashells were also carved onto beds and mirror frames.

1987 #76-13 Versailles
King’s desk at Palace of Versailles (1760-1769)

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/e7984114-2285-405b-a6cb-512f4e7f4b1b by Dan Lundberg

File:3CDLM L01703-51.jpg
Louis XV Style

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/27353ff9-d545-4313-a38a-b150ec5b0019 by Decor Concept

 

The Importance of Painting

The dominant subjects of painting in the Louis XV style were mythology and history. Later in the reign, his tastes switched to pastoral scenes. Madame de Pompadour was one of the major patrons of the period. The King’s favourite was François Boucher. As the king liked hunting, he painted Leopard hunt and Crocodile hunt for the King at Versailles. In 1767 was named the First Painter of the King. Other notable painters included Jean Baptiste Oudry, whose hunting scenes decorated royal apartments in Versailles. 

File:Oudry, Pecheur (172 x 122 cm).jpg
by Jean Baptiste Oudry- Pecheur- 1739

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/b50a6f51-96ef-4e9d-88c9-2542fcd8513d by GuyStairSainty

 

Sculpture

The sculptural styles of the Grand Siécle went on dominating under Louis XV. Madame de Pompadour was also patroness in sculpture. The most important sculptors of the early period were the Coustous brothers, Robert Le Lorrain, and Edmé Bouchardon. Bouchardon designed the equestrian statue of Louis XV that was projected following the guidelines for the previous king in place Louis le Grand.

'Cupid' by Edme Bouchardon
Edmé Bouchardon, Cupid making his bow from the club of Hercules, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. (1744)

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/c5862142-439c-48a5-9475-8f9c4ff4369c by dbking


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