Master Class: The Furniture Style of Louis XVI

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We've learned about the furniture styles of Louis XIIILouis XIV and Louis XV, but there's one iconic Louis left. That's right, the one and only Louis XVI. Today we'll walk through the signature elements of the designs born out of his era, and then you will officially be an expert on the Louis styles.

Rarely does does design follow the change in public mood in such a dramatic way as we saw during the reign of Louis XVI. Louis became king after the death of his grandfather (his father, who was the heir apparent, died in 1765). He lived from 1753 until 1793, when he was put to death as the French Revolution picked up steam. But that's another story altogether (and one that's not so much about furniture).

So what was this Louis' style all about? The fluid, organic style of the Rococo period, which had flowed seamlessly from the Baroque period before that, suddenly gave rise to a new, neoclassic style. Plant-like sinuous forms were replaced with straight lines and right angles. The new emphasis was on logical designs. Even the scale of the furniture shrank, as the infamous queen Marie Antoinette had pieces made for her more demure apartments at Versailles.

The last of the iconic Louis styles has become known for it’s fluted columns, carved friezes and oak and laurel leaf wreaths. What followed Louis was the revolution and the rise of the first French Republic, so in many ways this style was the full stop that marked the end of almost a thousand years of continuous royal rule of France. 

Now that we've walked you through all four Louis styles, which is your favorite? Tell us in the comments!

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