Saturday, July 2, 2011

Miraculous Artistry

This carved wood relief at the Getty really took my breath away. Full sized and carved from a block of limewood by Aubert-Henri-Joseph Parent in Paris, 1789, the thickness of each petal and leaf is the real-life equivalent. You can practically smell the lilac!

The lower half is unfortunately as realistic, ahhhh snakes! This allegory, as so much else at the Getty from the time period, portrays the birds (aristocracy) protecting their feathered nests from the snakes (revolutionaries). I suppose we know who won and now we enjoy the fruits of the snakes' labor as so many of the aristocrat's belongings are now in the hands of museums such as the Getty; very...mixed...feelings.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Neoclassical detail

Since we're on the subject, I wanted to share some more of the Neoclassic collections at the Getty. This lovely cabinet was almost architectural in its' detailing.

This Bed from 1775, a Lit a la Polonaise, would make any little girl's heart scream with desire (and it may do the same to mine, but I won't admit to it publicly).

This gilded settee reminds me of one from the aging courtesan's apartment in my favorite movie, Gigi; just made for a canoodle.

Of course, the Neoclassical style was sometimes severe and imposing but always beautiful -such as in this tableux above. I love the touch of whimsy in the chandelier though; it once had a gold fish swimming around the lower bowl. Neoclassisicm isn't all seriousness, it's all in the details!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Neoclassical Paneling

Rounding out the collection of rooms at the Getty is the Neoclassical style (possibly my favorite). Together, these styles make up the collection of decorative arts at the museum.

The highlight of the Neoclassical collections is a paneled room designed by the famous Parisian architect Claude-Nicholas Ledoux. Designed for the house of a wealthy plantation owner from Santo Domingo as a Parisian base, the paneling entered American hands after demolition of the Ledoux designed complex in the late 19th century.

You can clearly see the emphasis on ancient Greek and Roman design of the Neoclassical movement, born out of the rediscovery of ancient Pompeii and Herculaneum. This was a direct and contrary response to the fluidity of the previously popular Rococo style (again, you see this following the political climate of a populace fighting against their ancient aristocracy during the age of enlightenment).

The details in this room are simply amazing and I love all of the mirrored surfaces. Hopefully now you can see why I love the Getty so much, and not just for the gorgeous Richard Meier designed campus!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Baroque Interiors

Before the Rococo, there was the excessive and sometimes heavy baroque style, popular in the late 17th century and in France, associated with Louis XIV (whose bust appears in the overmantel above). The room seen here is another period room found at the Getty Museum.

Meant to impress, the style is excessively styled with every surface taken into consideration for ornament. Unlike the rococo which was meant to be fun by focussing on light and elegance, the baroque was meant to impress (much like Louis's political regime).

The inlaid ebony writing table above was actually in the inventory of Versailles in the king's mistresses' small palace, the Trianon de Porcelaine (Madame de Montespan). I'm in love with that Japaned box and gilded stand in the window!

Notice the parquet de Versailles flooring in the room, also alluding to the regime. This begs the question, if it isn't baroque, should one fix it? (sorry, I couldn't resist!)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Early Rococo

You may remember the Rococo room I showed you from the Getty museum last week; also included in the museum's collections is a Regence room.

Called Regence (after the Regency of Louis XV, 1715-1723, as he was too young to immediately take the throne after the death of Louis XIV), the style moves away from the heavy baroque formalism which Louis XIV dictated at Versailles and into the less formal style found in upper class Parisian townhouses.

This was the birth of the French boiserie as we celebrate it today and you can see it here painted white with the crown and overmantel picked out in gilding. I love seeing the baby steps between formal design styles such as this and that they coincide with major political events fascinates my inner geek!