Louis XVI Style

Rococo Excess to Elegant Classicism

Also referred to as Louis Seize, Louis XVI style is a style of architecture, furniture, decoration and art which developed in France during the 19-year reign of Louis XVI (1774–1793). Though it overlaps with the last phase of Rococo it is primarily considered to represent the birth of Neoclassicism, which was inspired by Greek and Roman art described in contemporaneous accounts of discoveries at Herculaneum and Pompeii. Espoused by Marie Antoinette and other wealthy nobles, it became the prevailing style and is characterized by luxurious materials, gilt or inlaid details, and Greco-Roman decorative elements. After the French Revolution, the royal family's furniture was summarily confiscated, auctioned, and thus dispersed first to England and then to America throughout the 19th century, leading to a continuance in the style's popularity and desirability by elite members of society throughout the world.