Louis period styles: Louis XIV

During the reign of Louis XIII (1610–43) there was a transition from the baroque style, strongly influenced by Italy, to the classical dignity of the period of Louis XIV (1643–1715). The Louis XIV [Louis Quatorze] style, established after the king took personal control of the government in 1661, was molded by the chief minister, Colbert. He established manufactories of tapestries, textiles, furniture, and ornaments; assembled leading artists and artisans in the royal service; and appointed Charles Le Brun director of the Gobelins manufactory and decorator of the palace of Versailles.

Colbert worked in close cooperation with J. H. Mansart, achieving interiors of great splendor, in which the decoration was closely integrated with the architectural framework. Neutral backgrounds were often used to emphasize the strong, rich colors of Gobelin, Aubusson, and Beauvais tapestries, Savonnerie and Oriental rugs, velvet or brocade upholstery, hangings, and large paintings on walls and ceilings. Such ornaments as scrolls, acanthus leaves, caryatids, busts, and full figures with festoons of flowers and fruit were employed. Large mirrors decorated the walls. Furniture scaled to the huge proportions of the rooms was made of ebony or covered with silver, gilt, or lacquer and decorated with carving and with marquetry in the manner of A. C. Boulle.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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