Monday, February 8, 2010

design inspiration :: rococo

I gleefully carted home a stack of new books from the library yesterday.  The most impressive--with thick, glossy pages--was Rococo: The Continuing Curve, 1730-2008.  Design history books always grab my attention, though I'm afraid that I rarely actually read them, despite having studied art history in college.  It's all about the pictures for me, baby.  And there's some ridiculously gilded, encrusted, gorgeous, extravagant stuff in this one.  While my design tastes for my home have certainly simplified with each passing year, the dreamy, romantic girl in me enjoyed stepping into this fanciful, almost fairytale world of  Rococo exuberance.
I also appreciate art history books that share the artist's sketches along with finished works.  The process and the beautiful imperfection in these hand renderings I find quite captivating--like the drawing of the blue "corsage ornament" just above.  And then there are things like sketches of Cinderella-style carriages and the most princessy jewelry boxes you've ever seen, which make me smile and feel nostalgic for the imaginative play and ridiculous daydreams of my girlhood.
This book covers Rococo from its heyday in 18th century France, illustrating how these elaborate, organic designs, so popular during the reign of Louis XV, later influenced the Art Nouveau style (one of my favorites) and beyond.  So, enjoy these pretty pictures.  I feel like I should end this post with something along the lines of "...and they lived happily ever after."
 All images from Rococo: The Continuing Curve, 1730-2008