Chapter

THE RENAISSANCE ELSEWHERE

(1500-1650)

I HAVE begun with the Italian Renaissance because it is of prime importance. Before proceeding, however, it may be well to take a hasty glance at the styles of an even earlier era. The furniture of those ancient times now in existence may be considered negligible. It is but remotely related to our modern styles. The student of the history of ornament, however, must take cognizance of many diverse styles, some of them primitive in type, in order to round out his subject. Oriental ornament—Chinese, Persian, etc.—as well as Scandinavian, Celtic, etc., all played a part in the general evolution of decorative styles.

Period decoration, however, as exemplified in the furniture styles of Europe, shows a fairly direct development from ancient Egypt to modern America. The antique Egyptian had a recrudescence in both France and England in the time of Napoleon, and it formed the basis of some of the art of Greece. Its decorative features included the column and entablature, the papyrus, lotus, palm, sphinx, and scarab.

With classic Greek and Roman architecture we are fairly familiar; we are always harking back to it. The decorative styles of Greece and Rome were adapted by the style creators of the Italian Renaissance and by the promoters of succeeding classic revivals. Allied to the Greco-Roman was the Pom-peian style, one of the most beautiful of all the classic types. Its origin, in turn, was partly Egyptian. It employed the pillar, the pilaster, the carved support, the panel, the fluted column, and, on the furniture, modeled bronze. Wonderful use of color in interiors was an outstanding feature.

Then came the decadence of the Dark Ages and the gradual emergence therefrom. In southern Europe during the tenth to the fourteenth centuries we have the slow development of the Saracenic and Byzantine styles. The Byzantine, following the Roman, had its center in Constantinople. In the north we find the Romanesque and Gothic.

These styles found expression chiefly in architecture. After the Roman and Pompeian, the Gothic was the first to make itself vitally felt in furniture design. vThe Gothic school originated in northern France and its influence spread over a large part of

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