In the Rome and Paris of the seventeenth century,
the houses of the wealthy and powerful reached new
levels of dynamism and grandeur. Everything from
furniture to building facades spilled over with
carvings of birds, beasts, fruit and flowers.
Elaborate decoration overwhelmed the senses, often
alongside fantastic works of painting and sculpture.
Baroque domestic architecture was theatrical,
extravagant, seeking to flaunt wealth and astonish
the viewer. Where Renaissance design had appealed
to the intellect, the Baroque worked on the
emotions. Even Counterreformation religious
conversions were miraculous visions inspired by
lavishly ornamented churches and flamboyant
If you don't have the means to build your own
Versailles, you can create Baroque opulence with a
few well-chosen pieces and the right decorative
objects. Materials should be luxurious: silk,
damask, velvet, tapestry. Colors should be strong
and placed in bold, regal combinations like purple
and ochre, indigo and gold. Baroque decorative arts
are intricate and rich: large Chinese floral motifs,
carved and painted geometric designs, wood inlaid
with gold, ebony, or mother of pearl.
Baroque Style architectural details and
Ceiling medallions, cornices
and moldings. Authentic Period and Historic Home
All crafted in genuine plaster.
For commercial and residential environments.
Elements of Style
Furniture: Chairs can be carved,
inlaid, painted, gilded -- whatever will make them
ornate and extravagant. Bed hangings, an oak
armoire, and beveled-glass mirrors in the bedroom. In the
living and dining rooms, heavy carved built-in
cupboards, an oak buffet. Wide, low dining chairs
with crossed legs, lion paw feet, and velvet
upholstery for a throne like feeling.
Floors: Inlaid wood floors with intricate
patterns are typical of this period. Also
excellent: black and white tile in diamonds or
squares, rush mats, Persian rugs, stone floors,
particularly with a painted geometric pattern.
Baroque Architecture (HC)
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was often painted in geometric shapes. Walls
featured lavish floral or figural carvings or
paintings, gilding, faux marble or tortoiseshell.
Moldings and cornices, however, were plain.
Tapestries -- painted fabric, gilded or tooled
leather, velvet, damask -- go far in creating this
Windows: Full, dramatic draperies, with gold
and silver tassels or embroidery. Floral designs,
matched with the upholstery, are quite authentic.
Window and door latches were widely used during the
Lighting: Baroque houses were lit with
candles, solid brass, wood, or pewter candlesticks or
mirrored sconces are the most authentic. Large
chandeliers are appropriate also.
Decorative objects: Chinoiserie is the most
important type of decoration: lacquer ware, Chinese
snuff bottles, porcelain, fans. Also authentic:
blue and white Delftware, gilded frames, small
Baroque Portrait of Lady
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