French Revival Mirror
37" x 29"
This 18th-century French revival mirror is a fine example of the Louis XVI design style, which was also known as “Louis Seize.” This style referred to visual arts and architecture produced in France during the reign of Louis XVI (r. 1774–1792), which was the final phase of the Rococo and the first phase of Neoclassicism. This period and style was defined by symmetry, straight lines, and classical ornamentation. The most popular of the various Louis styles today, the emphasis on clean lines, geometric angles, and classically inspired motifs are all seen on this mirror. Along the entire frame, shell motifs and scrolling acanthus leaves are openly carved. These symmetrical sculptural elements add visual dynamism and texture to the mirror, and are indicative of Louis XVI’s desire to revive earlier design styles. The opulent and ornamental quality of this object is due to its gilded nature. Gilding is a decorative technique where a very thin layer of gold is applied to solid surfaces such as wood, metal, porcelain, or stone.
At this time in history in France Louis XVI was the last King of France before the monarchy fell during the French Revolution. After the monarchy was abolished in 1792, in an attempt to compromise his status as king, the new government gave Louis the name “Capet” before he was executed by the guillotine.