Baroque Furniture

Following Baroque tastes, the furniture from this period makes a show of gilded details, heavy moldings, twisted and elaborated motifs.

An example of a Baroque living room.
Private Rail Car – Virginia City – lounge

Image source: by Luxury Train Club

Unbrindled Luxury

Reflecting Baroque style, furniture had plenty of details, with sumptuous and sometimes exaggerated decoration. Despite the elaborate ornamentation, Baroque compositions were characterized by a delicate balance and a harmonious integration of all elements. The furniture pieces showed off symmetrical structures, strapworks, pilasters, religious themes, and minute details replicated on both sides. Twisted columns, which incorporated plenty of curves, gave a sense of dynamism. Four legs diagonally interlaced were commonly the only element to touch. Each section was decorated with proportioned heavy moldings and pietra dura, a mosaic-like technique in which colored stones are cut and shaped.

Palace of Versailles Hall of Mirrors
Palace of Versailles, Galerie des Glaces (Hall of Mirrors) in the Palace of Versailles, Versailles, France

Image source: by Gary Lee Todd, Ph.D.

An Exuberant Style

Elegant materials imported from Asia were commons, thanks to the establishment of regular trade routes. Exotic woods were exclusive and highly demanded, especially ebony and mahogany, which were used in many pieces. However, also local woods, such as oak, walnut, and chestnut were widely used. The inlays were a recurring element and were made by inserting veneers of contrasting colors, and sometimes different materials. Occasionally furniture had a marble slab, crated by mixing contrasting shades.

Baroque cabinet with gobelets
Baroque cabinet with gobelets

Image source: by quinet

Baroque Console
Baroque Console

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Anyway, the most iconic elements of the Baroque style are the gilded finish, made. These exuberant symbols of luxury were associated with wealth, and European courts were decorated with golden furniture, such as Versaille and Louis XIV court. The motifs for decoration were usually stylized foliage and geometric, with spirals and curves, but the corners and the top of the legs were usually adorned with cherubs, animals, and mythical creatures.

Console Table Depicting Chronos, or Father Time, 1695.
Painted and gilded wood, marble top

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Wonder and Awe

The Baroque affected architecture, music, dance, painting, sculpture, and other arts. This style flourished in Rome and was widespread throughout Italy and the rest of Europe from the early 17th century until the half of the 18th century, following Mannerism and preceding the Rococo (a Baroque evolution). The term derives from the Italian “Barocco”, which was used by medieval philosophers to describe errors in logic schemes. In this case, the term is used to denote a contorted idea or complicated thoughts, as is clear in the Baroque style. Moreover, this revolution was encouraged by the Catholic Church to counter the simplicity and austerity of the Protestant style.

2010-02-07 Allgäu 002 Wieskirche
Wieskirche church in Bavaria, Germany. This building is a typical example of Baroque architecture.

Image source: by Allie_Caulfield

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