Louis XVI Style was born in France during the reign of the same name. This style is the last phase of Rococò and the first phase of Neoclassicism at the same time.
Who Was Louis XVI?
Louis was king during the French Revolution and was guillotined in 1793. Louis was born at Versailles, he was married to Marie Antoinette, daughter of the emperor and empress of Austria. This celebration was made to consolidate the alliance between France and Austria. In 1774, Louis succeeded his grandfather Louis XV in becoming the king of France.
When and Why this Style Spread?
The Louis XVI decorative style spread mainly as a reaction to the concepts of Rococò. The eighteenth century and Louis XVI’s design has been influenced most of the time by the discovery of several important relics in the Herculaneum and Pompeii. The Louis XVI style was born with the accession to the throne of Louis XV’s grandson. It dies with Ancien Régime fall.
The Main Artists of This Period
Louis XVI was not so interested in arts in general, while Marie-Antoinette was a good customer for “marchands merciers”, a type of French business owner. She has played an important role in the diffusion of this style. These dealers sold furniture and decorative objects to the rich, exerting a strong influence on their design. Jean-Henri Riesener and Bernard van Risenburgh were two of the foremost cabinetmakers The most important sculptor of the reign of Louis XVI was Jean-Antoine Houdon.
Characteristic of Louis XVI Style
The Louis XVI furniture was different from Louis XV’s style rigor. Ornamentation was also minimalist, symmetrical and vegetable and antique themes were an important inspiration. Proportions and volumes were equilibrated, simplicity of forms was back. Mahogany was the wood used, appreciated for its solid color and for the uniqueness of veins. Pastel colors were used as the king’s favorite.