The Architectural vocabulary of the seventeenth century

At the turn of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, architectural motifs provided the framework for a new ornamental vocabulary that appeared during a transitional period that saw the emergence of cabinetmaking. Cabinets and armoires are the most striking illustrations of this trend, especially in northern Europe, the Netherlands and Germany – the most innovative centers in terms of form and technique. The German, Flemish and French armoires and cabinets assembled here exemplify this trend. An armoire from Alsace – an early eighteenth-century masterpiece of craftsmanship by a Strasbourg journeyman – marks the culmination of this movement at a time when other styles were gaining popularity. Alongside the furniture and objects, architectural paintings by François de Nomé and Paul Vredeman de Vries point to the dissemination of projects by architects, painters and ornamentalists. Going against this trend, an auricular frame from the mid-seventeenth century is a reminder that other, often more ephemeral kinds of decorative research were also underway during this period.

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