Louis period styles: Louis XVI

The restraint of the later Louis XV style presaged the strong reaction of the Louis XVI [Louis Seize] (1774–93) period, during which simplicity replaced excess and the classic revival influenced decorative motifs and brought a return to straight lines and symmetry. Slenderness of proportion was emphasized in furniture. Colors were light in tone; ornament was delicate and in low relief, embossed, or painted. Furniture details included slender fluted legs, convex moldings, and rosette, leaf, and flower motifs in the carved frames often painted white and touched with gilt. Upholstery and hangings used varied fabrics. The Revolution abolished the guilds, which had maintained high standards of craftsmanship, and weakened the practice, instituted under Louis XIV, of cooperation between artists and masters of the various crafts in producing fine furniture and decorative accessories.

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

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