Paris under the Bourbons: 1724-1789 PDF Print E-mail

Paris Art Studies – January-February 2011


Fridays: The History of Paris with Chris Boïcos


Architecture, Urbanism, Society - Part 5: Paris under the Bourbons:

The Age of Enlightenment: The Reigns of Louis XV and Louis XVI, 1724-1789 *



The official majority of Louis XV at 13 in 1723 coincided with the death of his uncle the Regent , Philippe d’Orléans. The young King and the court returned to Versailles opening the last gilded age of  the great palace. The life of ease, pleasure and aristocratic glamour inaugurated in Paris under the Regency continues through the youth of Louis XV.  The dominant decorative and artistic style of the day is the Rococo. Boucher, Lancret, Pater, Lemoyne, Natoire and the Van Loo brothers are its main practitioners in painting, Nattier, Drouais, Peronneau and Quentin Latour its main portraitists, Boffrand, Aubert, Gabriel the Elder the architects and the great ébenistes (cabinet makers) are Sené, the Foliots, Oeben and van Riesenburgh.

One of the chief art patrons of the age is the King’s chic and cultivated Parisian mistress the Marquise de Pompadour.Founder of the Sèvres porcelain factory, she will employ all of the great artists of the day, but also encourage and protect the writers of the Enlightenment, including Voltaire.

Her brother Marigny named Superintendant of the King’s buildings will be responsible for the return of the classical style as the crown launches again great building projects like Place Louis XV (Concorde), the Ecole Militaire and Ste Genevieve (Pantheon). Gabriel will be the leading architect of this royal Neoclassicism whose jewel is the Petit Trianon in Versailles.

The age of the Bourbons closes with the ill-fated reign of Louis XVI and his Austrian Queen Marie Antoinette which opens in 1774. The Queen’s frivolous and pleasure-loving taste is reflected in the exquisite renovations, the romantic gardens and the fantasy village she commissions from Mique for her private domain, the Petit Trianon.

Riesener and Jacob are the masters  of the new, more restrained, but supremely elegant “Louis XVI” style in furniture. A shift, however, to seriousness and virtue initiated by the Kings’ new Superintendant, d’Angivilliers, is felt in royal architectural commissions: The School of Surgery, the Odéon Theater and the new Paris city gates by Ledoux. Greuze, followed by the puritanical David, introduce this new spirit in genre and history painting. A more relaxed

and  sentimental classical style is introduced in portraiture by Marie Antoinette’s favorite artist, Elisabeth Vigée Lebrun, in an almost nostalgic attempt to halt the inexorable movement towards Revolution that will bring the gilded age to its violent end in 1789.


Course Schedule:  Fridays 10:30 am – 12:00 noon. Coffee and tea served at gallery sessions at 10 am.
14 Jan.  - Gallery - Rococo! Paris and Versailes under Louis XV, Mme de Pompadour and Mme du Barry.

21 Jan.   - Visit    - Musée du Louvre : Rococo art and sculpture. Meet inside pyramid by information desk.

28 Jan.  - Gallery - Neoclassicism! Paris and Versailles under Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

  4 Feb.    -Visit    - Musée du Louvre : Neoclassical art. Meet inside pyramid by information desk.

11 Feb.   - Visit    - Neoclassical architecture on the Left Bank, from the Pantheon to the School of Surgery.

                            Meet on the steps of the Pantheon 75005 (closest metro RER Luxembourg or buses 84 and 89)

                                   Please bring 8€ in change for Pantheon ticket and a metro ticket for the bus.




Course fee: 100 € for the 5 sessions or 25 € for one session.


To register for classes please call 06 86 58 98 09 or send us an This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Please note: Museum admissions are additional to course fees. Exact change is appreciated.

Nota Bene:  Paris Art Studies suggests that you call or email in advance for all course registrations.

Unannounced arrivals can be refused if the class is full.  Reimbursements will be given only if the class is cancelled.



Paris Art Studies at Galerie Beckel Odille Boïcos - 1, rue Jacques Cœur 75004 Paris.

Métro Bastille – exit boulevard Henri IV.  Paris Art Studies telephone: 06 86 58 98 09

Email : contactus   Website: www.parisartstudies.com



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