Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Episode 80: French Baroque

This is our third installment in our series “Baroque the Basics”.  Under the “Episodes” tab above you will find the links for #61 Italian Baroque and #64 Northern Baroque.


The French Academy was chartered in 1648.  In 1961 Jean-Baptiste Colbert selected painter Charles Le Brun to be the director of the academy. Modeled after Italian academies, the French Academy sought to train artists in the classical style preferred by the monarchy.  French Baroque painters such as Charles Le Brun, Nicolas Poussin, and Claude Lorrain followed the classical style of Carracci rather than his contemporary Caravaggio.

Seaport with the Embarkation of the Queen of Sheba, 1648

Claude Lorrain


While landscapes were not popular at the time, Lorrain loved them and he pulled his viewers in with themes of heroes, demigods,and saints.
Apollon and the Nymphs,1666-73, marble
Fran├žois Girardon
Girardon was inspired by Hellenistic sculpture.


Unlike Italy and Spain, where the Catholic Church was the major patron, in France the top patron was Louis XIV, aka the “Sun King”.  
Portrait of Louis XIV, 1661
Charles Le Brun
Louis XIV called Charles Le Brun “the greatest French artist of all time”.
In 1682 the King and his entire court moved 14 miles from Paris to the village of Versailles.  At Versailles life revolved around the king just as the earth revolves around the sun.  He expanded the existing chateau and hunting lodge into a magnificent palace.

"There is nothing that indicates more clearly the magnificence of great princes than their superb palaces and their precious furniture." -- Louis XIV

The baroque style fit the needs of the king perfectly.


Hall of Mirrors


The king’s bedchamber.  Fabulous vases of feathers!


Much of the art at Versailles featured Apollo, alluding to the connection between the god and the Sun King.



Join us next week as our newest podcast member, Zach, joins Julia in talking about graphic designer Milton Glaser!

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