The Baroque And Rococo

The Baroque is a European style of architecture and decoration originally developed in the early 17th century in Italy and then spreading to the rest of Europe, developing new directions as it

FIGURE 1.38 Examples of Gothic furniture displaying a characteristic emphasis on the vertical. a) Chair showing linenfold, tracery and buttresses. b) Credence. c) Oak chest with tracery carving.

went.Although the underlying vocabulary of the Renaissance remained in place,i.e. the orders, rhythms, and proportions of classical antiquity, the Baroque is characterized by the use of large scale, the interpenetration of spaces, sweeping curves, and lavish detail. Baroque architecture broke up the monolithic character of the facade, articulating it, and perforating it with bays.

Interiors were generally regal in their manner and characterized by formality of design, large-scale and elaborate details, and extravagance of workmanship and material. By the late 17th century, France dominated the arts in Europe, and became the source to which other countries looked for artistic inspiration. In the salons, the permanent elements of large rooms, such as walls, ceilings, doors, and windows, were important features of decoration. Furniture was regarded as secondary motifs and was placed against the walls, leaving the center of the room clear. The walls and ceilings were treated as one magnificent composition of decorative paintings, carvings, tapestries, paneling, and mirrors.

Baroque furniture and accessories displayed a richness of character equal to the room treatments (Figure 1.41), and in France, a special guild of cabinetmakers and apprentices was established by Lebrun, with quarters in the Louvre.

The late phase was called Rococo. In France the Rococo style was commonly known as Louis XV The emphasis during the Rococo period was on interior applications rather than the exterior facade. And unlike the art of Baroque which was to glorify the king, the art of the Rococo was for everyone. Its features are essentially characterized by lightness and delicacy of line and structure, by asymmetry, and by the abundant use of foliage, curves, and scroll

FIGURE 1.39 Renaissance Period. Plan of the La Rotonda (Villa Almerico-Capra), Vicenza (Italy), built by Andrea Palladio in 1566. It has columned porches surmounted by pediments and a central domed hall. (From Henri Stierlin, Encyclopedia of World Architecture, Van Nostrand Reinhold Co.)

forms of decoration. The Rococo style often leaned to the extravagant ornamentation of surfaces. Furniture manufacturers during this period developed many new types, which were designed for comfort rather then pomp or pageantry. Furniture used the curvilinear form at all times, and especially the cabriole leg with a scroll foot instead of the goat's hoof (Figures 1.42a and 1.42b). Straight lines were avoided, as were the appearance of joints.

FIGURE 1.40 La Rotonda (Villa Almerico-Capra) showing section and elevation.

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