Know the styles
Some information to know the history of antiques from 700 'to today
Dating back to the personal reign of Louis XV (1723-1774), the style was characterized by great craftsmanship and the integration of the arts of cabinet making, painting and sculpture. decorative arts French furniture of the period, which generally came in two sets, one summer and one winter, was highly ornamental, yet elegant, and designed to mesh with the rest of the home's decoration. Orientalia - from the Far East and the fabulous were the main thematic expressions, and exotic woods and marbles were used to promote the effect. Among the cabinet makers who served under Louis XV were Jean-François Oeben, Roger Vandercruse Lacroix, Gilles Joubert, Antoine Gaudreau, and Martin Carlin. the most important painters of the period are Juste-Aurèle Meissonier, François Boucher, Jean-Baptiste Huet, Jean-Baptiste Le Prince, Pierre Migeon, and the van Loo family: Jean-Baptiste van Loo, Louis Michel van Loo, Charles-Amédée - Philippe van Loo, and Charles André van Loo. No mention of the artists of the period would be complete without mentioning one of their main patrons, the king's lover: Madame de PompadourA horse between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries we note a softening of the rigid form of the Louis XIV style. The grandeur of the line is lost in the capricious and in the arbitrary and the Rococo is born (or, in France, Louis XV style). This time it was not Italy that expanded the new taste in the world because it developed mainly thanks to Cuvillier in southern Germany and Meissonnier in France. The Rococo is easy to conquer all over Europe and in England it acquires original nuances becoming known as a chippendale style, named after the great Thomas Chippendale furniture maker. In Italy, among the still existing forms of baroque, the Venetian one predominates. For the furniture, the lacquers predominate (natural and colored substance used for protective and decorative coatings), but it goes beyond chinoiserie; Venetian lacquers take on their own nuances and develop in two senses: figured lacquers and floral lacquers. Glasses, mirrors, ceramics and fabrics are also very important.
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transformed Paris into the capital of
the Napoleonic empire. From a formal point
of view, architecture was influenced by the constructions of imperial Rome and partly, after the Egyptian campaign, also by Egyptian architecture; the main
architects who established the new trends were Charles Percier and Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine, authors of the urban transformations of Rue de Rivoli.
The rise of Napoleon coincided with the construction of monumental works, such as: the church of La Maddalena, the Arc de Triomphe, the Paris Stock Exchange (by Alexandre-Théodore Brongniart) and
the Colonna Vendôme.
Percier and Fontaine built a style always based on the strictness of symmetry but supported by new reworkings of classical decorative models, this reworking was not unrelated to the proposals
that had made the Piranesi in his series of etchings dedicated to the Camini.
In the Empire decoration we find sphinxes, chimeras, beasts and monstrous creatures, lion's feet, eagles, swans, bees, palmettes resumed on par with Greek models, rosettes, acanthus leaves,
calciform stylizations of vague oriental taste, the laurel of the Caesars,
garlands, festoons and the N, the emblem of the Emperor. All these motifs are easily recognizable because they share the characteristic of having been reworked in order to preserve the evidence
of their classical origin, but are also marked by the original charm and of the Empire taste.
With the end of the empire, the reference figure became Antoine Chrysostome Quatremère de Quincy, which however caused a stiffening of the style (Lyon Courthouse, Louis-Pierre Baltard).
Some innovations were introduced by Jakob Ignaz Hittorff, a supporter of the theory according to which Greek architecture had to be rich in color: its church of San Vincenzo de 'Paoli, in Paris,
shows a nave with columns of apricot, frescoed walls and trusses
painted and gilded. As for architecture (which takes the form of the Roman temple), even in the furnishings prevail the themes derived from the past, to the taste of balance and proportions were
added decorations with Greek, Roman, Egyptian and besides columns, friezes, pillars. In painting, the main artists were Jacques-Louis David and Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres.
David, since his
first meeting with Napoleon, became a great admirer and in 1797, on commission, he began to prepare studies for his portrait. The works of David celebrated the most important
moments of Bonaparte's political career: Napoleon at the Gran San Bernardo Pass (1800),
The coronation of Napoleon and Giuseppina (1805-1807) and Napoleon in his study (1812) reveal strongly propagandistic tones, exalting Napoleon as a hero of the homeland (subject then taken up by the cultural current in opposition, the Romanticism), so that, after the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo (1815), David was forced to take refuge in Switzerland and later in Brussels. he also played a fundamental role in the art of those years: he drew back the art of portrait, which, from the second half of the eighteenth century, became public knowledge: all nobles and wealthy citizens in fact, if they did not own a portrait, were considered "retrograde", a bit like in the days of Louis XVI. Among his most famous works of that period we find
Napoleon on the imperial throne and The apotheosis of Homer. In the sculpture it is necessary to remember the name of Antonio Canova, official portrait artist of Bonaparte: his is the Monument to Napoleon I, located in Milan at the Pinacoteca di Brera and built between 1807 and 1808. Canova also portrayed Pauline Bonaparte, Napoleon's sister , half-naked, half-reclining on a Roman triclinium, with an apple in hand, in the allegory of "Venus victorious" Under the cultural aspect the Napoleonic age is characterized by the "natural continuation of that moment of transition between Enlightenment and Romanticism, which already He had seen it emerge in the last years of the eighteenth century. Giovanni Getto stated that the Napoleonic era is a moment in which the two currents already identified in the eighteenth century resurface, in which the sunset was expressed differently but in a complementary manner. of the Enlightenment and the laborious gestation of the new romantic civilization: Neoclassicism and Pre-Romanticism. With the rise of Bonaparte, architecture, furnishing, the decorative arts and visual arts merged into the so-called Empire style, where the themes of neoclassicism were exploited for political ends. Architects such as Charles Percier and Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine and artists such as Jacques-Louis David contributed to the affirmation and diffusion in most of Europe of a strongly celebrative style, aimed at reviving the splendor of imperial Rome
The historical context is that of the reign of Louis Philippe
of Orléans, the most bourgeois of the kings of France, ruling from 1830 to 1848.
This style, contemporary with the others more or less of the same era, that of the Napoleon III style and the Eclectic style, disagrees with the latter for greater simplicity of the forms and less confusion in decoration, even if some models of historical revival also tends to the stylistic agglomeration. The shapes of the previous Carlo X become, in some stiffer models, others softer and rounder, tending to reproduce the styles of the eighteenth century, we can certainly say that, at least for what concerns Italy, this style has been more a correct re-examination of the Carlo X than a real style and not very dissimilar to the almost contemporary Bidermeier, but in France this style takes on very heavy shapes and enriched beyond measure by excessive decorations.