Wednesday, September 8

The difference between Louis XV and Louis XVI chairs: Part 1

Louis XV (read: fifteenth for those who, like me, the Xs, Vs, and Is seem to switch places)

Furniture designed between 1730 and 1760 is known as Rococo or Louis XV. Not because ol' Louis had any hand in designing or popularizing the pieces (actually, the credit for its popularity at this time can be handed on over to one (of several) of his mistresses, Madame Pompadour, whose enthusiasm for a particular style often determined what was built and thus popular...) but just because he was king. This time in French history was characterized by frivolity and pleasure, the use of bold colors, drama, and singerie (the use of monkeys in decoration, pronounced like lingerie). 

One of the defining characteristics of a Louis XV piece of furniture is the cabriole leg, which simply means "curved leg" in French. See the Louis XV fauteuil chair below(a what chair? Guess you will have to keep tuning in!). It was not out of character for carvings and decoration on Louis XV furniture to be asymmetrical, such expression was just an out-pouring of that carefree spirit that characterized the aristocracy.
My professor ended this topic by saying that an easy way to remember that Louis XV went with cabriole legs was that Louis liked curves in both his women and his chairs...just one of many colorful comments.

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