Late Neoclassical- Directoire, French Empire

Neoclassicism dominates the period, although it changes in responce to political and social developments. Little important building takes place, so interiors and furniture, manifest stylistic developments. In interiors and furniture, the simple, plainer Directoire defines the beginning of the post Revolutionary period and evolves into the heavier, more majestic Empire.

Design Characteristics/ Motifs

Directoire: Characteristics generally reflects the charm and grace of Louis XVI. Forms and motifs are simple and originate in symbols of the Revolution and ancient Greece and Rome.

Empire: Characteristics and protypes derive from the grandeur of Egypt and Rome. Interiors and furniture become pompous, formal, and more masculine, and these forms reveal this change  more than architecture does.


These include the classical figure, acanthus, leaf, swag, rinceau, rosette, anthemion, scroll, arabesque, cartouche, vase, and lyre.

Directoire Motifs: lozenges, rosettes, spirals, and symbols of the Revolution, such as the oak leaf and clasped hands.

Empire Motifs: Roman motifs emerge such as animal legs, swans, caryatids, chimeras, and monopodia. Military symbols such as stars, swords, spears, helmets, and x shapes. Additional motifs are millitary icons, swords, and symbols of Napoleon and Josephine , such as the honeybee, laurel wreath. letter N, eagle, amd swan.



  • The most common building is some form of Monument to Napolean .
  • The Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile monument to Napolean.
  • New building type are not introduced.

Site orientation:

  • To creat a more imperial Paris, Napoleon commands that the areas around the Louvre to be clear because he wanted open space.
  • He also orders the restoration of public gardens.
  • Roof passages between block and luxuey shops.

Floor Plans:

  • Most Public and Private buildings plans are rectangular in form symmertically distruted at least along one axis
  • Residences follow earlier patterns, with emphasis on formality, rank, and status.
  • Plans are organized around public and private apartments.


  • Most new buildings are of stone
  • Cast iron, used for bridges. domes, and structural support


  • Scale is monumental.
  • Most buildings are raised on podia t oemphasize their importance.
  • Arcades or columns may completely surround the building.
  • Lesser buildings often have Palladian columns.


  • Rectangular windows, large and small, delineate facades of both state and lesser buildings
  • French windows allow access to porches or balconies.
  • Palladian windowa appear on less-important buildings.


  • Columns, pilasters, and pediments identify doorways.
  • Some entrances have a monumental portico.
  • Arcaded walkways are common


  • Are flat with balustrades.
  • Pyramidal or gabled with a low pitch.



  • Directoire- soft and muted blues, grays, and greens.
  • Consulate years- rich reds, blues, and grays.
  • Empire-  saturated; deep red, magenta, blue, green, yellow, and purple.


  • Fixtures include candlesticks, candelabra, applique, lustre, lanterns, gueridon, and oil lamps.
  • Classical motifs embellish the surfaces.
  • Chandeliers are luxury items for formal spaces and rooms of state.


  • Floors are wooden boards or parquet.
  • Entrances, bathrooms, and dining rooms are sometimes black and white marble.
  • Middle-class homes use small red tiles.


  • Retain classical proportions and details with emphasis on the chimneypiece.
  • Symmetrical compositions of paneling with decorated centers are typical.
  • A dado forms the base, and the wall is capped by a frieze and cornice.


  • The use of wallpaper increases, particulary in public buildings.
  • Patterns include small repeating designs, stripes, borders, architectural details imitations of textiles and drapery, flocked papers, and irise or shaded papers.


  • Mantels usually are of white, black, red, or brown marble.
  • Shelf supported by columns, pilasters, consoles, caryatids, or winged lions.
  • Above the mantel, there is a large painting, ,mirrior, or window.

Window Treatments:

  • They feature elaborate fringed and tasseled swags and festoons draped over rods.
  • Pair of windows may be treated as one continuous drapery.
  • Muslin or other thin fabrics hang close to the glass.


  • Are paneled in mahogany often with gilded moldings.
  • Important doorways have painted or inlays to match the interior.
  • a complete  entablature typically surmounts  doorways.


  • Important rooms are are the most heavily decorated.
  • Guilding and painting are also in only imoortant rooms.

Furnishings and Decorative Arts.


Bergere with swans


Pier Table



This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s