Art Deco - Post Modern
Was a movement whose components tried to synthesize all the arts, in a determined attempt to create art, based on natural forms that could be mass-produced by the technologies of the industrial age. The Art Nouveau emerged at the end of the 19th century and adapted twining plant forms to the needs of all decorative arts.
Created in Germany by Architect Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus school searches for solutions to contemporary problems by developing high quality utilitarian mass produced products as a way to cover vital needs for an impoverished post world war I Germany. In the area of design, the study of handicraft was considered the natural way for artists to master the qualities of materials and form so that they could design well for mass production. In these respects, and in the minimizing of philosophy and other verbal disciplines, the Bauhaus was the earliest working example of much contemporary design education becoming a consulting center for industry and the trades. Lack of ornament, pure function adapting design to the world of machines are some of the most evident characteristics of the Bauhaus school of art and design.
Early 20th Century
The reign of Francis I is considered part of the first period in the development of French Renaissance and can be called the Italian period of ornament which belongs primarily to the area of Lombardy. Buildings are still designed in the gothic manner but dressed in renaissance style. Examples can be found in the castles of the Loire valley. This style is full of ornamental sculptures highly influenced by Italian artists but nonetheless adjusted into the French manner. Arabesque decorative motifs, introduced in France by the Arabs and Grotesque motifs coming from Italy are used during the entire French Renaissance period. The emblems of the king like the Salamander and the letter F are constantly present in the designs as well as floral motifs that come out of human shapes and turn into letter forms. In this period there is an abundance of decoration, low and high relief are clearly defined and become deeply carved.
Originated by the Goths, this style followed the Romanesque style. Gothic architecture developed for the construction of religious buildings for the most part. More than any other style the Gothic is the result of a new structural design for entirely made stone buildings, therefore a purely architectural creation combining the art of geometry, engineering and physics. The rib vaults and pointed arches serve as framework for Gothic skeletal construction. Slender skeletal structures permitted natural light to enter the buildings. In terms of decoration we can appreciate deep carvings using human figures and the entire medieval bestiary in stone, animals like gargoyles and monsters of all sorts along with floral motifs are represented constantly. Gothic is perhaps the most architectural of all styles since it almost entirely developed for building design.
Haussman - Directory
Geometric motifs including ancient roman symbols for industry, war and science are some of the wide variety of designs used during Napoleon's time in France. The austere quality and the use of classical motifs and geometric vocabulary are present in most of this period's designs. Napoleon was a figure of romantically enlightened temperament and enormous ego, who embraced all links with the Classical past as a source of symbolic authority for his short-lived imperial state. Neoclassicism was associated with everything from revolutionary aspirations for democratic purity to imperial ambitions for unshakable authority.
The projection of measured shapes, mathematical truth and formal beauty became conjoined in the minds of Renaissance artists. The discovery of perspective in art and architecture changed the way artists perceived and depicted human life. The word Renaissance refers to the revival of ancient Rome and classical antiquity. The use of mythical animals from classical times involving a delicate perception of their charm in a way still twigged with medieval romance is very much present during the Renaissance period. The use of classical motifs, profusion of floral ornaments, the use of small animals, arabesques (floral motifs completely symmetrical with the shape of a candelabra) and grotesques (designs derived from antiquity discovered in Rome in the XV th. Century where the symmetry present in the arabesques disappears) as well as mythological creatures are some of the repertory used in terms of design along with high and low relief carvings.
The style of Louis the XIV is without any doubt the most distinguished and sumptuous for its decorative richness and impeccable taste. The wealth in the use of materials like gold, marble , crystal and gilded hand chiseled bronze is unparalleled. Ornament is abundant, but never overcharged. The quality of craftsmanship during this period is considered to be the highest ever in the history of French decorative arts. The most common decorative elements in this period are: The sun, shells , masks with rays (symbol of the sun king) along with the two L crossing each other as well as the use of military symbols like helmets. Plants are also used in the designs, specially laurel and acanthus leaves. Garlands of flowers are also frequent. The use of symmetry and straight lines will later become a great contrast between the style of Louis the XIV and the later Regency and Louis the XV periods. During the long and prosperous period of Louis the XIV all artistic academies where founded. The creative production and its influence all over Europe cannot be questioned, this is the reason why the reign of Louis the XIV is called the Grand Si cle.
This style may be the most characteristic of the French baroque era. The lack of symmetry, the overabundance of shell motifs and twisted leaves makes this style extremely ornate. The most important decorative element of this period is without any doubt the Rocaille . Checkered panels are also used. Designs are full of fantasy and abstraction that makes this period quite unique in itself. The lack of symmetry of the shell type motif makes it blend with all the curves and become a complete visual experience that invites the eyes to flow dynamically. The style of Louis the XV reign is full of creativity, imagination and visual excess.
This style really began in the second part of the reign of Louis XV and expanded over the entire reign of Louis XVI. The origins of this style go back to the ruins of Pompeii and the Greco-Roman art, during this time archaeological sites were visited by architects that brought back new designs. The revelation of Greek art around 1760 was critical in the development of this style. Louis XVI decoration followed the influence of two writers and thinkers of the time: Diderot and Rousseau, the first one brought simplicity and sensibility and the second one concentrated in the love of nature and the return to a simple life. Rustic motifs like: land working utensils, baskets with flowers, hearts and arrows, ribbons, garlands with leaves and flowers, musical instruments, scientific instruments, oval shaped medallions and fire torches mixed with elements of antiquity like: beaded, rais-de coeur, Greek friezes and reed and ribbon details. This style is a mix of archaic and naturalistic motifs as well as sentimental attributes, which account for its uniqueness and charm.
Reed & Ribbon
We can say that the French Rengency style, (Regence), began in the last part of Louis the XIV reign with a lighter decoration. The French Regency represents the transitional period between the reign of Louis the XIV and that of Louis the XV. The use of the shell (called Coquille ), big flower arrangements and fabulous animals like dragons are the most characteristic of this time. Symmetry starts to disappear opening the way to curvilinear shapes that make the composition flow freely.