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Monday, 23 September 2013

17th Century Style Wood carving | Acanthus leaf design carved in walnut | North German Baroque | Baroque Cabinet from DANZIG



17th Century Style Woodcarving

Woodcarving inspired by the style of the 17th century

 Acanthus leaf design carved in walnut

In this modest project I will introduce you to the method and technique for carving an acanthus leaf design for the 4 corners of the supporting or constructive part of a Danzig baroque cabinet. 


During the baroque a piece of furniture had to look luxuriant and rich in detail. With its robust yet elegant curls, the acanthus leaf is extremely suitable to radiate that luxuriant and rich feel, which makes it a design that is characteristic for this period.
Often they would use various types of wood as well as a variety of decorative techniques such as inlay, sculpting, gold leaf, etc. 
These techniques were used on one and the same piece of furniture to create that overwhelming sensation of richness. But the personality of a piece of furniture mainly came from the baroque woodcarving.

The symmetrical and crossed acanthus leaf design still tends to be the eye-catcher; a simple yet effective solution for limited space on the piece of furniture.
In its most basic form, a panel consists of a frame, a constructive part and the filling. An architectural frame is inlayed into the constructive part, to create a luxuriant effect and to add depth to the piece, which is another typical characteristic of the baroque period. 
The panel is completed with the inlay of a symmetrical composition executed in walnut, rosewood and coromandel wood.

The concerning panel is destined for a so called Danzig baroque cabinet or “Danziger”. 
A Danzig baroque cabinet is a typically regional 17th century piece of furniture, which (as you can tell by its name) originated from the region in and around the north German city of Danzig (currently the Polish Gdansk). 


17th Century Style Woodcarving , Acanthus leaf design


Baroque
The 17th century is an era that is marked by a great number of changes that took place throughout Europe: exploratory expeditions, rediscovery of Greek and Roman art and science. 
The architecture of these two peoples came back into fashion, giving rise to a new style: baroque. Baroque stretches from the middle of the 17th century to the first half of the 18th century. Baroque wasn’t just limited to architecture alone. 
Quite the contrary! Sculpture, furniture, ornamentation and music were all influenced as well.

Early baroque found its origin in Italy, more specifically in Rome, and slowly started to fan out to northern Europe. It’s interesting to see that the style developed differently in different areas, according to the temperament of the inhabitants of a certain region, and due to the influences of artists and tradesmen.

These differences in style are specifically noticeable in the ornamentation.
A distinction is made between early, high and late baroque. Late baroque is also known as rococo. 
Early baroque still inclined towards the renaissance, whereas late baroque overindulged in luxuriance, with much pomp and circumstance.
Over time many rulers discovered the effects of the dramatic baroque style; we see it used by the Vatican during the Counter Reformation. By putting the emphasis on splendor and magnificence in the architectural style of churches, the Roman Catholic Church was trying to impress people and lure them back to church.  

This, however, caused a breach within the Roman Catholic Church: Protestantism was born, leading to austerity in protestant countries.
One of the developments of the baroque period is that pieces of furniture display less and less architectural characteristics. They no longer resemble miniaturized constructions; there’s a tendency to use more exotic types of wood, rather than local types of wood; and other materials are applied, such as brass, tin and tortoise.
The use of exotic wood (ebony, palisander, acajou) coincides with the expeditions made to East and West India.

The fact that people at this time are more self-assured and start acting as individuals, who tend to make their own choices (notably among artists and tradesmen), leads to a decline in the use of traditional materials and to the creation of completely new furniture. 
The upper class, that is growing ever richer, wants to flaunt its wealth. The result of this is that we now have an amazing collection of furniture from this period in our patrimony.

The carving of a stylized
acanthus leaf design in walnut






Acanthus leaf design carved in walnut

Baroque Cabinet from DANZIG

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