Louis XV style is a kind of Rococò style, recognized by its superior craftsmanship.
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, and his reign saw the decline of monarchy prestige and the beginning of the crisis that ended with the French Revolution. The style was characterized by unique craftsmanship, cabinetmaking, painting, and sculpture.
The Most Important Louis XV Style Artists
The pioneers of this style produced exquisite Rococo decorations in homes owned by the richest French families. Some famous names connected with the best works in Louis XV Rococo style are François Boucher, Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier, and J.Francoise Oeben. Further, Pierre Migeon was the favorite of Madame de Pompadour.
Louis XV Style Characteristics
Louis XV furniture fuses usefulness with elegance. Chairs in this style often had the following features:
- curved legs
- floral decorations
- comfortably padded seats and backs
- deliberately asymmetrical
Most houses had at least two complete sets of furniture: one for summer and one for winter.
Fantasy was a key motif, as most surfaces were covered with strange animals and exotic landscapes. Rare woods were used for sumptuous effects, and particularly veined, colored marbles were also important. Moreover, shells and wave-like motifs could be found on antique furniture of the Rococo period. Foliage and seashells were also carved onto beds and mirror frames.
The Importance of Painting
The dominant subjects of painting in the Louis XV style were mythology and history related. Later, his tastes switched to pastoral scenes. Madame de Pompadour was one of the major patrons of the period, although the King’s favorite was François Boucher. As the king liked hunting, Boucher painted leopard and crocodile scenes for the Palace of Versailles. In 1767, he was named the First Painter of the King. Other notable painters included Jean Baptiste Oudry, whose hunting scenes decorated royal apartments in Versailles.
The sculptural styles of the Grand Siécle continued to dominate under Louis XV. Madame de Pompadour was also a 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 followed the guidelines from the previous king.