Louis XIII Style – Louis Treize (1589-1661)

The Louis XIII style affected French Art and Architecture, especially the visual and decorative arts in the years 1610 to 1643 .

Illustration from ''Illustrated History of Furniture, From the Earliest to the Present Time'' from 1893 by Litchfield, Frederick, (1850-1930).
Illustration from ”Illustrated History of Furniture, From the Earliest to the Present Time” from 1893 by Litchfield, Frederick, (1850-1930).

Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Decoration_of_a_Salon_in_Louis_XIII._Style.jpg

Furniture

In the early 17th century French furniture started going towards a new artistic direction, with Cardinal Richelieu as prime minister and Simon Vouet as a leader in the art world. Life in France became luxurious and the demand for furnishings more increased. The Louis XIII furniture was featured with dark tones. The ornaments included cartouche, with a convex curve, twisted columns, with few leaves as an ornament.


Louis XIII Style - Ebony Chest.
Louis XIII Style – Ebony Chest.

 Image source: https://www.1stdibs.com/furniture/storage-case-pieces/cabinets/fabulous-17th-century-carved-ebony-cabinet-on-stand-paris-france-circa-1640/id-f_6238293/

The Historical Context

Under Louis XIII, security and wealth were so important in everyday life and many rich people opened up their minds for new furniture, new styles, and a new life at home. Comfort and sociality beacame important for the etiquette and polite conversation. This idea of unified suites was totally a  French invention, but went on in the Elizabethan Era in England.

Portrait of Louis XIII.
Portrait of Louis XIII.

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_XIII_of_France

Louis XIII’s Furniture Characteristics

His furniture can be distinguished finding the following features:

  • simple and severe shapes;
  • upholstered seating;
  • back panel applied to the frame with silvered nails, so often depicted in charming engravings of French interiors by many artists of the period.
design of a chair in the Louis XIII style
design of a chair in the Louis XIII style

Image source: https://www.pinterest.it/pin/473440979550392453/

Damasks, damascenes, fancy velvets were main features and were produced well made fabrics but also cheap furnishings, and Italy soon was replaced. The discovery of the passage of Cape of Good Hope allowed trading silks in Asia. Arabian style, called Moresque or Arabesque was also used and the oriental spirit could be seen in the woods employed. Cabinets were the height of fashion in France at that time.

Double bodied cabinet, Louis XIII style, walnut wood, first quarter of the 17th century, Louvre Museum, Paris.
Double bodied cabinet, Louis XIII style, walnut wood, first quarter of the 17th century, Louvre Museum, Paris.

Image source: http://www.marcmaison.com/architectural-antiques-resources/louis_xiii_period

Ebony  was imported to France from Africa, Madagascar and India. In France the skilled workers to make cabinets and were called “ébénistes“. The outside of this cabinet is adorned with scenes of engraved illustrations to a novel first published in 1624. Many forms in furniture were made for everyday use. The divan and console were invented in this period. Styles of ornament started varying.

Louis XIII style armchair, first half of the 17th century, museum of decorative arts in Bordeaux.
Louis XIII style armchair, first half of the 17th century, museum of decorative arts in Bordeaux.

Image source: http://www.marcmaison.com/architectural-antiques-resources/louis_xiii_period

The chairs are featured with lingering boxiness and heavy turning. Were more comfortable, and were more used for ordinary purposes. Sometimes they were created in sets, and were usually covered with velvet, brocade, tapestry, and needlework.

Example of a set of chairs.
Example of a set of chairs.

Info source: http://www.artquid.com/page/11/the-renaissance-and-louis-xiii-style.html

Bedroom furniture became luxurious and the walls were commonly covered with ornamental friezes. Cane was imported as a cover for chairs. Reception beds started being used. Many of these trends survived until the great period of French baroque furniture. These were the main characteristics of Louis XIII style furnishings.

Louis XIII style bed.
Louis XIII style bed.

Image source: https://www.furniturestyles.net/european/french/louis-xiii.html

Legs variations for Louis XIII Style
Legs variations for Louis XIII Style

Image source: https://tacksandfabrics.com/2012/02/11/focus-on-french-style-louis-xiii/

Louis XIII Style Painting

Louis XIII-style painting was influenced from the north of the continent, through Flemish and Dutch Baroque. Also the South, through Italian Mannerism and early Baroque gave an important contribution to this way of painting. Schools became important with Caravaggio and Peter Paul Rubens. French painters fused Italian Mannerism with a love scenes. Important painters were Georges de La Tour, Simon Vouet, and the Le Nain brothers.

“Louis XIII enters france and the Navarre” Simon Vouet, second quarter of the 17th century, Louvre Museum, Paris.
“Louis XIII enters france and the Navarre” Simon Vouet, second quarter of the 17th century, Louvre Museum, Paris.

Image source: http://www.marcmaison.com/architectural-antiques-resources/louis_xiii_period

Louis XIII Architecture

Louis XIII architecture was also influenced by Italian styles. The greatest architect of the era, Salomon de Brosse, projected the Palais du Luxembourg wanted by Marie de’ Medici. The building was completed by Jacques Lemercier in a classicist style. Sculpture in France during this period was not of outstanding quality and flourished under Louis XIV. The Mannerist influences were so important that a French style did not flourish until the second quarter of the century.

The king's residence at the Place des Vosges in Paris, built in 1608.
The king’s residence at the Place des Vosges in Paris, built in 1608.

Image source: http://www.marcmaison.com/architectural-antiques-resources/louis_xiii_period

Info source: http://www.britannica.com/art/Louis-XIII-style

http://www.furniturestyles.net/european/french/louis-xiii.html

https://www.onekingslane.com/info/home/baroque-style-furniture-17th-century-european-chairs/index.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_XIII_style

Please also visit: http://www.jbdesign.it/idesignpro

Leave a Reply