The Tudor style belongs to a period of transition, blending the Perpendicular Gothic with the Renaissance. In domestic architecture we find the peculiarities of the Perpendicular are: breadth of doors and windows in comparison to height, often with square frames of plain inouldings, the mullions of the windows forming two or three lights, with slight tracery; arches depressed, four-centred; capping mouldings rectangular, coming about one third down at the sides and ending in foliated bosses, sculptured heads or emblazoned shields; columns and pilasters which assume classic form, though not orthodox proportions.
Under Henry VII fireplaces often have pointed hoods, decorated with floral tracery and heraldry; under Henry VIII the monumental “continued” fireplaces are rectangular, adorned with strapwork, pilasters, and terminal figures. But another type was introduced almost flush with the wainscoting, the arched opening almost square, and little decoration beyond classic mouldings. Wainscoting was mostly of simple sunken panels with plain raised mouldings, and was painted with convçntional flowers, tracery, figures, and heraldry in fresco colours. Plasterwork was largely used, occasionally stamped, but becoming more and more finely modelled. The early strapwork, so often seen in all kinds of carving, at first flat and plain, became raised, rounded and reeded, and later “jewelled.”
Henry VIII brought over some Italian masons, plasterers, and other workers, and by their means introduced classical bosses and capitals to his columns, string mouldings, and some florid sculptures and moulded plaster, including figures, among the decorations. His father had introduced the Tudor rose, with double rows of petals sometimes alternately white and red, at others a white rose within a red or a red within a white. He was also prodigal with the Beaufort portcullis and the Welsh gold and red dragon. In the reigns of both the Henrys the Tudor flower parapet moulding was conspicuous. It replaced the embattled crestings and consisted oftwo raised flower mouldings divided by a sunken one and topped by stiff, heart-shaped traceried or pierced trefoils with smaller trefoils between.
Under Mary some Spanish motifs were added, but the most common were the pomegranate (occasionally dimidiated with the Tudor rose) and the sheath of arrows of her mother.
Under Elizabeth perpendicular rather than horizontal lines were the rule. Thus chimney-pieces were inordinately tall, with slim carved or turned columns, beginning to show bulbous rings. Geometrical panelling was decorated with or surrounded by foliage and flowers in sprays, wreaths and swags, ribbons, “jewellings,” drapery, animals, heads and figures, a good deal of heraldry, elaborate bandings, rich mouldings, and other devices, all warmly coloured. Pictures on walls and ceilings were usually confined to panels, and it is characteristic to find side by side with semi-classic columns projecting ribs heavily wrought with oak leaves and acorns, roses, and fine tracery, including the favourite “nailed” or “jewelled” trelliswork, which we see adorning even the wonderful polygonal tall chimney stacks. Frescoes continued to adorn walls, and painted cloths were used as hangings, though tapestries began to be imported and foreign carpets took their place with home-made embroideries for decorative purposes.
Green and white, the Tudor livery colours, as well as red and white, were favourite combinations throughout the period.
The French Empire style was an elaboration of the stilted “ classicism” adapted from Grecian and Roman design by the Revolution, marked by great lavishness in the display of painting, gilding, the use of bronze mountings and rich textiles. Republican symbolism, with the exception of the tricolour, was eliminated, being replaced by the imperial eagle (of Roman type, quite distinct from the Medieval bird, golden bees, and the crowned or laurelled N.
Architectural features were severely classical, though latterly of the Corinthian and Composite Orders, with an admixture of Egyptian details such as the obelisk, pylon, and pyramid forms.
Walls, as a rule, were overloaded with decoration. A frequent treatment of the wall was this: a two-stepped skirting with dado above occupying one-fourth of the height; above the middle space an entablature (plain moulding, deep frieze, and complicated cornice) also occupying one-fourth of the height. The dado was usually divided into panels, decorated with low-relief work (or imitations thereof), trophies or medallions; frequently the division marks are sculptured torches or slim drop garlands. The middle portion would be provided with clear spaces for pictures, mirrors or painted panels, these surrounded by a rather incongruous assortment of wreaths, festoons looped over masks o, chimeras, Muses, winged figures of Victory and Fame, and other motifs. The frieze would contain moulded or painted figures, undraped or in classic drapery, trophies, or the anthemion, palmettes, the ever-recurring torches and trophies. Ceilings were lavishly decorated, but with niggling, straggling details, neither strong enough for mass effects nor clear enough for pictorial design.
There was little carving, but a good deal of rich inlay, free use of statuary and low-relief panels, also of gilt bronze mountings, framed mirrors, girandoles, etc. Men’s figures in the smaller sculptures and paintings are often undraped or partly draped, and are of heavy build; the female figures are tall, slender, and dance on air, winged Victory, Fame, and the Muses and Graces being special favourites. There are also termini figures, chimeras, sphinxes, griffons, and eagles. Other frequent motifs are bees, stars, the acanthus leaf, honeysuckle, pineapples, palmettes, rosettes, palm branches (straight, curved, or two tied in the form of a crown), wreaths of laurel and oak leaves and festoons. The arrangement of these garlands and wreaths is formal (thick circular ropes, with closely fitting leaves, berries, acorns, and flowers). Arabesques are of the grotesque order, human heads appearing as blossoms, human figures, beasts, and birds growing out of leaves and branches.
The colour tones are low. Walls and ceilings have backgrounds of buffs and greys, with arabesques, garlands, trophies, etc. in light shades of brown, pale and dark yellow, blues, dull greens, and reds. Persier and Fontaine were fond of” grisailles sur fonds clairs.” On the other hand, there was a good deal of gilding on plain white, milky blues, or brownish pinks.
The Empire style as adopted in England, though much heavier and more clumsy in the matter of furniture and bronze mounts, was less extravagant in the matter of decoration. There was far less overloading, little use of arabesques of the grotesque order; the eagle was replaced by the swan (also used in France), the bee by the rosette, and the crowned N by the Prince of Wales’s feathers. Gold and white, with pale tints, including the monochrome “gnisailles,” buffs and greys, were the prevailing colour combinations.
French Louis Styles
Louis Styles of Decoration
The Louis styles, stretching from about 1620 to 1793, vary considerably. They are characterised by the replacing of wainscoting by stamped leather, tapestry and painted cloth wall hangings, and painted plaster. Ornament, heavy under Louis XIII, became light and elegant under Louis XVI, in the latter period showing traces of Pompeian and Japanese styles. They had an influence on English practice.
Rocaille .-This is the title generally given to the French Regency style (1715-22), from the dominant motifs in decoration, which had been adapted from the rustic and rock work, introduced in Rome by Bernim. In France stone-work and shell grottoes for interior decoration were introduced under Henri IV and Louis XIV. The fashion soon died out, though the scallop shell and twisted scrolls still continued to be used as designs, the shells gradually growing larger, being adorned with tracery and figured piercings, and the scrolls more rugged and twisted. These ornaments were applied to panels as sole ornamentation, as a framing to the floral paintings or the more fashionable Arcadian pictures of monkeys dressed up fantastically and children undressed, occupied as musicians, as painters, and in various other ways. Contorted, foliated plaster work is seen on walls and ceilings. The prevailing colour schemes are light: gold on white, pale pink, blue and slate grey, and soft browns, with touches of gold and colour in the carvings; panels of flowers and fruit treated naturalistically in clear but subdued colours. The textiles used are figured satins and silks, applied sometimes as loose draperies, sometimes stretched as panels, framed in traceried mouldings and forming the background for some involuted scrolled girandole.
In England the Rocaille style is chiefly represented by a phase of the “Chippendale” period, which merges into the Anglo-Chinese, and is characterised by foliated scrolls, much contorted and of irregular, lop-sided curves, shells, rocks, and grottoes, waterfalls, icicles, rushes; stork-like birds with long curved bills, either painted on the flat or more often carved in soft woods and sometimes covered with stucco and gilded. Colours are gold on white and low tones of the secondary group.
Rococo .-An exaggerated form of the Rocaille style, in which unbalanced design is noticeable. It is seen at its worst in France in the transition period between the Regency and Louis Quinze, when there is an overloading of unnecessary detail, a lavish display of irregularly formed scrolls and gilded ornament, and in England in the Chippendale Anglo-Chinese “taste.” This style received its name in the nineteenth century from French émigrés, who used the word to designate in whimsical fashion the old shellwork style (style rocaille), then regarded as Old Frankish, as opposed to the succeeding more simple styles. Essentially, it is in the same kind of art and decoration as flourished in France during the regency following Louis XIV's death, and remained in fashion for about forty years (1715-50). It might be termed the climax or degeneration of the Baroque, which, coupled with French grace, began towards the end of the reign of Louis XIV to convert grotesques into curves, lines, and bands (Jean Bérain, 1638-1711). As its effect was less pronounced on architectural construction than elsewhere, it is not so much a real style as a new kind of decoration, which culminates in the resolution of architectural forms of the interiors (pilasters and architraves) by arbitrary ornamentation after the fashion of an unregulated, enervated Baroque, while also influencing the arrangement of space, the construction of the façades, the portals, the forms of the doors and windows. The Rococo style was readily received in Germany, where it was still further perverted into the arbitrary, unsymmetrical, and unnatural, and remained in favour until 1770 (or even longer); it found no welcome in England. In Italy a tendency towards the Rococo style is evidenced by the Borrominik Guarini, and others. The French themselves speak only of the Style Régence and Louis XV, which, however, is by no means confined to this one tendency.
To a race grown effeminate to the Baroque forms seemed too coarse and heavy, the lines too straight and stiff, and whole impression to weighty and forced. The small and the light, sweeps and flourishes, caught the public taste; in the interiors the architectonic had to yield to the picturesque, the curious, an the whimsical. There develops a style for elegant parlours, dainty sitting-rooms and boudoirs, drawing-rooms and libraries, in which walls, ceiling, furniture, and works of metal and porcelain present one ensemble of sportive, fantastic, and sculptured forms. The horizontal lines are almost completely superseded by curves and interruptions, the vertical varied at least by knots; everywhere shell-like curves appear to a cusp; the natural construction of the walls is concealed behind thick stucco-framework; on the ceiling perhaps a glimpse of Olympus enchants the view--all executed in a beautiful white or in bright colour tones. All the simple laws and rules being set aside in favour of free and enchanting imaginativeness, the fancy received all the greater incentive to activity, and the senses were the more keenly requisitioned. Everything vigorous is banned, every suggestion of earnestness; nothing disturbs the shallow repose of distinguished banality; the sportively graceful and light appears side by side with the elegant and the ingenious. The sculptor Bouchardon represented Cupid engaged in carving his darts of love from the club of Hercules; this serves as an excellent symbol of the Rococo style--the demigod is transformed into the soft child, the bone-shattering club becomes the heart-scathing arrows, just as marble is so freely replaced by stucco. Effeminacy, softness, and caprice attitudinize before us. In this connection, the French sculptors, Robert le Lorrain, Michel Clodion, and Pigalle may be mentioned in passing. For small plastic figures of gypsum, clay, biscuit, porcelain (Sèvres, Meissen), the gay Rococo is not unsuitable; in wood, iron, and royal metal, it has created some valuable works. However, confessionals, pulpits, altars, and even façades lead ever more into the territory of the architectonic, which does not easily combine with the curves of Rococo, the light and the petty, with forms whose whence and wherefore baffle inquiry. Even as mere decoration on the walls of the interiors the new forms could maintain their ground only for a few decades. In France the sway of the Rococo practically ceases with Oppenord (d. 1742) and Meissonier (d. 1750). Inaugurated in some rooms in the Palace of Versailles, it unfolds its magnificence in several Parisian buildings (especially the Hôtel Soubise). In Germany French and German artists (Cuvilliés, Neumann, Knobelesdorff, etc.) effected the dignified equipment of the Amalienburg near Munich, and the castles of Wurzburg, Potsdam, Charlottenburg, Brühl, Bruchsal, Schönbrunn, etc. In France the style remained somewhat more reserved, since the ornaments were mostly of wood, or, after the fashion of wood-carving, less robust and naturalistic and less exuberant in the mixture of natural with artificial forms of all kinds (e.g. plant motives, stalactitic representations, grotesques, masks, implements of various professions, badges, paintings, precious stones). As elements of the beautiful France retained, to a greater extent than Germany, the unity of the whole scheme of decoration and the symmetry of its parts.
This style needs not only decorators, goldsmiths, and other technicians, but also painters. The French painters of this period reflect most truly the moral depression dating from the time of Louis XIV, even the most deliberated among them confining themselves to social portraits of high society and depicting "gallant festivals", with their informal frivolous, theatrically or modishly garbed society. The "beautiful sensuality" is effected by masterly technique, especially in the colouring, and to a great extent by quite immoral licenses or mythological nudities as in loose or indelicate romances. As for Watteau (1682-1721), the very titles of his works--e.g. Conversation, Breakfast in the Open Air, Rural Pleasures, Italian or French Comedians, Embarkment for the Island of Cythera--indicate the spirit and tendency of his art. Add thereto the figures in fashionable costume slim in head, throat, and feet, in unaffected pose, represented amid enchanting, rural scenery, painted in the finest colours, and we have a picture of the high society of the period which beheld Louis XV and the Pompadour. François Boucher (1703-770) is the most celebrated painter of ripe Rococo.
For the church Rococo may be, generally speaking, compared with worldly church music. It lacks of simplicity, earnestness, and repose is evident, while its obtrusive artificiality, unnaturalness, and triviality have a distracting effect. Its softness and prettiness likewise do not become the house of God. However, shorn of its most grievous outgrowths, it may have been less distracting during its proper epoch, since it then harmonized with the spirit of the age. A development of Baroque, it will be found a congruous decoration for baroque churches. In general it makes a vast difference whether the style is used with moderation in the finer and more ingenious form of the French masters, or is carried to extremes with the consistency of the German. The French artists seem ever to have regarded the beauty of the whole composition as the chief object, while the German laid most stress on the bold vigour of the lines; thus, the lack of symmetry was never so exaggerated in the works of the former. In the church Rococo may at times have the charm of prettiness and may please by its ingenious technic, provided the objects be small and subordinate a credence table with cruets and plate, a vase, a choir desk, lamps, key and lock, railings or balustrade, do not too boldly challenge the eye, and fulfil (sic) all the requirements of mere beauty of form. Rococo is indeed really empty, solely a pleasing play of the fancy. In the sacristy (for presses etc.) and ante chambers it is m ore suitable than in the church itself--at least so far as its employment in conspicuous places is concerned.
The Rococo style accords very ill with the solemn office of the monstrance, the tabernacle, and the altar, and even of the pulpit. The naturalism of certain Belgian pulpits, in spite or perhaps on account of their artistic character, has the same effect as have outspoken Rococo creations. The purpose of the confessional and the baptistery would also seem to demand more earnest forms. In the case of the larger objects, the sculpture of Rococo forms either seems pretty, or, if this prettiness be avoided, resembles Baroque. The phantasies of this style agree ill with the lofty and broad walls of the church. However, everything must be decided according to the object and circumstances; the stalls in the cathedral of Mainz elicit not only our approval but also our admiration, while the celebrated privilege d altar of Vierzehnheiligen repels us both by its forms and its plastic decoration. Thee are certain Rococo chalices (like that at the monastery of Einsiedeln which are, as one might say, decked out in choice festive array; there are others, which are more or less misshapen owing to their bulging curves or figures. Chandeliers and lamps may also be disfigured by obtrusive shellwork or want of all symmetry, or may amid great decorativeness be kept within reasonable limits. The material and technic are also of consequence in Rococo. Woven materials, wood-carvings, and works in plaster of Paris are evidently less obtrusive than works in other materials, when they employ the sportive Rococo. Iron (especially in railings) and bronze lose their coldness and hardness, when animated by the Rococo style; in the case of the latter, gilding may be used with advantage. Gilding and painting belong to the regular means through which this style, under certain circumstances, enchants the eye and fancy. All things considered, we may say of the Rococo style--as has not unreasonably been said of the Baroque and of the Renaissance--that it is very apt to introduce a worldly spirit into the church, even if we overlook the figural accessories, which are frequently in no way conducive to sentiments of devotion, and are incompatible with the sobriety and greatness of the architecture and with the seriousness of sacred functions.
We are in the habit of speaking about Greek architecture and ornament as though the style was something definite and easily definable. As a matter of fact, Greek style was of slow growth, and constantly changing. In the main, however, it may be described as based, on a sense of proportion in the use of horizontal and perpendicular lines and the adaptation of ornament to the role of assisting and accentuating structural requirements. The column is the centre of the design, circular, straight, or diminished, with base (except in the Doric), shaft, and capital, supporting a well-defined entablature composed of mouldings, deep frieze, and projecting cornice, capped by a triangular pediment. The columns are often fluted or reeded, offering opportunities for decoration in the hollows; mouldings have varied contours with an endless variety of ornaments for the hollows; the capitals are voluted, foliated or floriated, adorned with sculpture, and more ornamentation is found on the frieze, the tympanum of the pediment, and the considerable flat spaces of walls, cut up by few openings and these nearly always rectangular.
Ornamentation .-Much of the ornamentation is based on survival of structural details; as in the dentils (ends of rafters), gutt~ (pegs), pater~ and bosses (pegs and carved beam ends), abacus (flat bracket or table for the superstructure), and so on. Next we have the vegetation forms, as in the acanthus leaf, the palmette, the anthemion or honeysuckle buds, the rosettes and the encarp~ or swags, many of these highly conventionalised, but always true to type, in spite of the exaggerated volutes, the spirals, and the conspicuous, expansive mixed growths, later to be misnamed arabesques. From the animal kingdom we have the bucrania, the skeleton ox head festooned with flowers, evidently derived from the sacrificial altar. It is interesting to watch the evolution of many of these motifs. Among the undated fragments of the Mycenean civilisation we find roundels with concentric ~circles and spirals, derived from local fossils and shells; the squid or octopus appears with its sack-like body and curved tentacles; the hippocampus, or sea-horse, with bony equine head, small pectoral fins, and curving tail, is there. It reappears on the friezes of Grecian temples and gave rise to that curious company of fish-tailed horse, hippocentaur (horse with man’s torso and head), hippopod (man with horse’s legs), and hippogriff (half horse, half griffon). Here we can see the early types of the wave forms, borders and mouldings-a recurring chevron, or an undulated line with equal semicircular or semi-oval depressions and elevations, or the wavy line with voluted crest; out of these were evolved the fret and meander in their many variations, just as the rope suggested the cable moulding and the twining creepers gave rise to the guilloche.
Diversity of Decorative Motifs .-In spite of these continuous patterns and flowing lines it is to be observed that Greek ornamentation does not clothe, in the sense of providing a covering, uniting mass; rather does it accentuate the horizontal, perpendicular, and diagonal lines. This is true whether we are considering sculpture, incised, in low, medium, or high relief or in the round, or inlay or painting. It is stratification, but so nobly conceived as a whole that we derive a satisfying sense of completeness in contemplating the structure with its embellishments. Yet this completeness, so far as decoration is concerned, is not derived from hard- and-fast uniformity. The reverse is the case. There is endless diversity. In sculpture we have the idealised human and animal forms, grouped and adjusted to the space to be filled; we have the strange array of humanised and manned monsters, the grotesques or creatures evolved as though they were the flowers and fruit of scrolled and involuted vegetation. To understand this we need only note the different treatment for a metope (the flat spaces in a Done frieze lying between the triglyphs or vertical fluted bands) and a tympanum (the triangular space in a pediment). In the one the figures are treated naturally, in the other they are so grouped that we have upstanding figures in the centres, and seated or crouching figures on each side. Other ornaments are dealt with in the same way. Or again, we can observe the handling of the columnar figures such as the majestic Atlantes (representations of Atlas), graceful caryatides and canephores (young women, the latter with baskets on their heads, filled with flowers and fruit), the Persians, sometimes complete, at others with pedestal or foliated terminations, which are used in place of pilasters or painted to represent them.
Without these accommodations Greek ornamentation would lose half its distinctive character, for adjustment is the true keynote here. The underlying principle of ornamentation is strict symmetry, as exemplified by the meander borders, the exact dualism of the honeysuckle device, and so on. But in broader effects symmetry is attained by means of balancing, though within a strictly limited compass. Thus, two columnar figures, one on each side of a doorway, may be shown in different attitudes, and with different attributes, but will be of equal bulk and outside measurement as to height and breadth. The curves of plants and waves are free, but are measurably similar in dimensions, unless, indeed, there is progressive increase or decrease in order to fill a given space, or if placed at a considerable height in order to preserve the semblance of continuity. In contrast to the rigid lines of the entablature and mouldings there is the entasis (or swelling out) of the cohjmn shaft, the roundels of patene and rosettes, the curves of volutes (spirals), and the charming drooping of the encarpa~ or swags, which may be single or in festooned groups, conventional or naturalistic. In association with sculpture and carving we have surface decoration, which includes incrustations of marbles, wood, and precious metals, ivory, etc., monochrome inlays, and polychrome mosaics. Colour is not reserved for the subject paintings on walls, but for the decorations, flat or carved, as well as for the statuary. This is particularly noticeable in the elaborate mouldings, forming borders, etc.
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