Also called French classicism, Louis XIV Style was an aesthetic style intended to glorify king Louis XIV of France (a.k.a. Louis the Great, or the Sun King) and his reign. The dominating features of this style are majesty, harmony, and regularity. In collaboration with his Chief Minister, Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1619-83), Louis XIV created a system of manufacture and ateliers (workshops) dependent on the crown, which raised France’s art and craftsmanship to a high level of perfection that would go on to influence the whole of Europe. There are three periods within this style.The first period (1643-1660) took place during the Sun King’s youth under the reign of reagent Anne of Austria and was predominantly influenced by the style of Louis XIII and the Italian Baroque brought in by Cardinal Mazarin. The furniture during this period was massive, and featured heavy sculpture and gilding, but it was in this early period that we begin to see the emergence of French classicism.The second period (1660-1690), under the rule of Louis XIV, saw the culmination of the classical style and became more triumphant and ostentatious. Much of the furniture during this period was made for the decoration of the grand halls of the new Palace of Versailles, initially directed and choreographed by painter and designer Charles Le Burn. In the various ateliers of the Gobelins and the Louvre, Le Burn coordinated the work of some 250 craftsmen, carpet weavers, painters, bronze casters, cabinet makers, and gold- and silversmiths to produce most of the furnishings of the royal residences. It was especially around 1680 when we start to see a more original and delicate style, thanks to influential furniture designer and ebeniste, André Charles Boulle. Boulle refined and developed the technique of ebony, copper, and other rare wood inlay. We also see the development of new types of furniture like the commode, the canapé, the console table, and the fauteuil en confessionale or “Confessional armchair”. Decorative elements during this period were often military in nature, and the masks of Apollo (the Sun God) and the eagle of Jupiter also featured prominently.In the final period (1690-1715), in contrast to the preceding heavy sculpture and gilding, the style became lighter with greater fantasy and freedom of line. Strongly influenced by the marquetry of Boulle, the décor became more and more elaborate, fanciful, and exotic, particularly in the work of another influential designer, Jean Bérain the Elder. Reliefs of gilded bronze covered the faces of the pieces of furniture, decorating the keyholes and the corners. The corners of commodes were occupied by sculptures of women or angels, and the feet were dressed in gilded bronze shoes or sculpted lion’s or deer’s feet. The geometric forms of the second period were replaced by curving lines, and an assortment of new, more portable furniture appeared, including folding chairs and tabourets (small tables), which could be easily moved from room to room. This led directly into the more fanciful, curving forms of Louis XV Style.