The Baroque style uses exaggerated motion and clear detail to produce grandeur and exuberance in painting, sculpture, music, and decoration. Baroque furniture captures that flair and is obvious in rich detail, vibrant colors, and opulence. Decorations of the period were profusely detailed and highly ornamental. The Baroque started in the early 1600s in Rome and spread all around Europe.
The Roman Catholic Church encouraged the opulent style by using Baroque furniture and paintings. The church said it wanted to use Baroque art and style to inspire raw emotions, thus enabling people to feel closer to religion. Aristocracy also appreciated the dramatic style of Baroque furniture and used it in their palaces. Baroque style favors large pieces, exaggerated decorations, colossal sculptures, and high volumes.
Louis XIV of France enjoyed the Baroque furniture and used it as evidence of his regal glory. He was the King of France from 1643 until 1715, when he died. It was heavily incorporated at his Versailles royal palace.
Small details were generally incorporated into Baroque furniture. Cherubs were often depicted in the art, and were added to almost any piece of furniture or decor. The cherubs were evident from fireplaces to paintings. They were also used as an accent in the furniture, often being carved into an arm chair or sofa. Nymphs and angels often accompanied, or replaced, the cherubs.
Gold-leaf gilded Baroque furniture was common during this period. Deep colors were used in rich velour or velvet fabric to cover sofas or chairs. Seating was large, soft, and comfortable. Gold and marble were often expensive showcase elements of Baroque tables. Mirrors with elaborate foliate designs accessorized and created a larger-looking room.
The Baroque design enjoyed immense popularity in England. This ornately gilded style was use as a display of the owner's wealth. The Baroque style also influenced American artisans, who started to employ intricate designs in the carvings in the furniture, which was usually made from oak. This simple, yet exquisite imitation of Baroque furniture was known as Pilgrim style.
Poland embraced the Baroque style, mixing it with Oriental influences. Poland shared a large border with the Ottoman Empire, so this influence was incorporated into the Baroque style. This created something that was unique to Polish furniture.
In the 18th century, the Baroque era gave way to Rococo style. This new style was lighter and more decorative, often described as being overly complicated. The Rococo era continued to be popular until around 1750.