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Baroque Period Styles

Vocabulary (Word Document)  

Time Line Baroque Period Styles  
Louis XIV  Style 
Early phase          1643-1661
Personal phase     1661-1690 
Later phase          1690-1715
Charles II  Style 1660- 1685
James II    Style 1685- 1688
(together known as Carolean or Late Jacobean Style)
Regence Style    1715-1723 William & Mary  Style 1688-1702
Queen Anne Style 1702-1714
George I (Early Georgian) Style 1714-1727


Italian Baroque
The Baroque started in Italy as a continuation of the Mannerist movement and is sometimes referred to as Late Renaissance (but not in this class).  The term "Baroque" which refers to a misshapen pearl, was coined much later than the period as a derogatory reference to the style of the time.  During the Baroque Period,  the Roman Catholic Church was trying to counteract the Protestant Reformation by using art and architecture as a tool to inspire and overwhelm viewers by stimulating their senses and reinforcing the mysticism of the faith.

Characteristic of Roman Catholic Church Architecture:

                1. Synergy of parts to the whole

                 2. Interpenetration of oval spaces and curved surfaces
                3. Endless elaboration of form and ornament (conspicuous use of decoration, color and sculpture)
                4. Twisted columns
                5. Dramatic changes of light and contrast
                6. Manipulation of light
                7. Emphasis on the facade

 Characteristics of Italian Baroque Furniture:

        Figural subjects (forever holding up a piece of furniture)
        Movement and Excessive ornament

The Italian characteristics were initially passed on to Spain, the Netherlands, and the early phase of Louis XIV in France when Cardinal Mazarin, an Italian, was first minister to the young king.

Louis XIV Style: 1643 -1715

In 1661 Cardinal Mazarin died and the twenty-one year-old Louis XIV took sole control of the state. He sought to develop a national style for France and it is this style that is associated with his monarchy.   Due to corruption in the government, Louis XIV decides to move the capital twenty miles outside of Paris and forms "Team Versailles" (LeVau, Mansart, Lebrun and LeNotre), to transform a family hunting lodge into the grandest display of power and wealth Europe has ever seen.  Le Brun develops a planetary scheme for the State Apartments with none other than "Sun King," Louis XIV as the center of  each allegorical reference to the gods and fate bestowing their favors on him and France.   Other important exponents of this style are Andre Charles Boulle for marquetry of metal. Jean Berain for delicate arabesques and grotesques influenced by  Raphal.  Daniel Marot who will introduce the Louis XIV style to Holland and later to England.

         Characteristics include:                                                                                    New Furniture Forms
        Term legs (also known as pillar legs)                                                                              Fauteuil
        Saltire stretchers (flat wavy stretchers)                                                                           Commode
        Console or bracket stretchers                                                                                        Bureau semainier
        Symmetrical ornamentation
        Rectilinear forms
        Berainesque arabesques & grotesques
        Mask motifs especially of the sun (Louis XIV, the Sun King)

The latter phase of Louis XIV  (1690 - 1715) has a softer line and will be included with the Regence.  This phase lasts only about  fifteen years and acts as the start of the style we know as "Regence" a style which is historically, only about seven years in length.

Regence Style: (historically 1715 - 1723)
More curvilinear than Louis XIV, this transitional style exhibits some elements associated with the Louis XIV style as well as some associated with the new style associated with Louis XV.  This style is still Baroque and therefore is symmetrical and contains the Renaissance vocabulary of ornament.  To distinguish this style from that of Louis XIV,  look for curved shapes on chair backs and seat rails along with cabriole legs.  To distinguish Regence from Louis XV, style look for a firmer curve to the cabriole legs (heavy thighs of the cabriole on case-goods) and symmetrical ornamentation verses the asymmetrical ornamentation of the Louis XV style.
  Regence Characteristics include: New Furniture Forms
Cabriole legs  Caned fauteuil
Chinoiseries Bergere
Espagnolettes Serpentine shaped commodes
Singeries  Bureau semainier
Diapered lozenge Bureau plat
Chased and gilded bronze mounts and appliqués  
Serpentine shapes  
Lighter furniture forms  
Delicately carved chair frames  


Carolean Style (Charles II:  1660-1685  and James II:  1685-1688)
Charles II is restored to the monarchy in England after having spent his exile in the court of Louis XIV and in Holland. He returns to England with the new styles. Having spent the last twelve years with Cromwellian furniture, England is ready for a "kinder, gentler" type of furniture. Look  for both Dutch and French influences on furniture forms.  Furniture construction changes from mortise and tenon construction to dovetail joints.  This change in construction in turn changes the surface decoration form carving to applied treatments such as veneering, cross-banding and herringbone boarders, and inlaid elements such as marquetry.

Characteristics of Charles II:    Characteristics of James II  General Characteristics of the Carolean Style
 Restoration chair  Restoration chair looses the cherubs and crown  but still retains the basic form 
Walnut replaces oak 
 Rectilinear forms  More curves added to chair backs, arm supports,  front stretchers and legs  Veneering 
Herringbone boarders 
Floral marquetry 
Spiral turns  Baluster turns replace spiral turns  Ball or bun feet on case-goods
Pendant handles
Caning on chair backs


William and Mary Style: 1688-1702
William of Orange (Holland) overthrows Mary's father, James II, in a "bloodless coup" and they are crowned duel monarchs. Not surprisingly, there is a heavy Dutch influence to the style as well as French  elements due to William bringing Daniel Marot with him from Holland to England.

William and Mary Characteristics:  New Forms Introduced 
Umbrella legs  Kneehole desk
Flat, wavy stretchers on case-pieces  Lowboy
Cross stretchers replace front stretchers on chairs Highboy
Arabesque marquetry Card table
Drop pendant handles  Slant-front Secretary Cabinets
Ball or bun feet  
Bracket feet  
Arched top rails on chairs  
Periwig chairs  
Chair backs do not meet the seat rail   
Cabriole legs that terminate in cloven hoof  
 Flat-arched tops to tall case-pieces  

Queen Anne Style: 1702-1714 and Early Georgian Style:  1714-1727
The last of the Baroque styles in England.  The furniture forms all developed from the previous style of  William and Mary including hoop back chairs with center splats and cabriole legs.  Chair backs meet the seat rail and stretchers disappear as construction techniques improve.  Queen Anne never married so upon her death, the crown went to her cousin George of Hanover (German).  Think of a dainty and demure Queen Anne and a robust, masculine George I and you will have a good mental picture on how to tell the difference between the two. Here are other ways to tell the two apart:

  Queen Anne   George I
Little or no carving beyond a carved shell on the knee of the cabriole leg More caving and ornament in general including gilding 
Dainty, slender cabriole legs  Thicker cabriole legs
Cabriole terminates in Dutch/Club foot  Cabriole terminates in claw and ball foot, later hairy paw, lion or dolphin feet
No  cockbeading on drawer fronts  Includes cockbeading on drawer fronts
No architectural elements on case-pieces Includes architectural elements on case-pieces

New Forms Introduces
Double arched tops
Scrolled Pediment tops
Two-Chair back settees
Tea tables
Syllabus Egypt, Greece, Rome, Byzantine, Romanesque, Gothic Renaissance Rococo American Colonial Contact Marg