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.

A room furnished in the Louis XV style, Salon des Huets, Paris, France
A room furnished in the Louis XV style, Salon des Huets, Paris, France.

Image source: https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q945693


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.

Portrait of Louis XV
Portrait of Louis XV.

Image source: https://it.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Louis_XV_France_by_Louis-Michel_van_Loo_002.jpg


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.

madame de pompadour, Francois Boucher, 1759 example of rococò painting
Madame de Pompadour, Francois Boucher, 1759, example of rococò painting.

Image source: https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ritratto_di_Madame_de_Pompadour


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.

French Rococo chairs with curved legs and floral decoration
French Rococo chairs with curved legs and floral decoration.

Image source: https://www.pinterest.it/pin/445645325598417177/



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.

Example of Louis XV style foliage.
Example of Louis XV style foliage.

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


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. 

Jean Baptiste Oudry, Wolf hunt in the forest.
Jean Baptiste Oudry, Wolf hunt in the forest.

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Style_Louis_XV#Painting



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.

Louis XV as Jupiter by Coustou.
Louis XV as Jupiter by Coustou.

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Style_Louis_XV#Sculpture