ArtLex Art Dictionary



eempire style or Empire style - A neoclassical style, primarily in clothing and the decorative arts, prevalent in France during the first part of the nineteenth century, obtaining its name from the "First Empire" of France (1804-1815), in which Napoleon I (Napoleon Buonaparte, 1769-1821) was the emperor.

Examples of objects made in the empire style:


see thumbnail to rightLouis-Leopold Boilly (French, 1761-1845), A Game of Billiards, 1807, oil on canvas, 22 x 32 inches (56 x 81 cm), Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia. The ladies and gentlemen populating this room are dressed in clothing of the empire style. See Neoclassicism.


Thomire (French manufacturer of ornamental bronzes), The Demidoff Vase, 1819, malachite and ormolu, height 67 1/2 inches (171.5 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. This malachite, mined on lands belonging to the Demidoff family in Russia, was cut into small, thin pieces, and then joined together as a veneer. Prince Nicholas Demidoff commissioned Thomire to produce this monumental vase to furnish his Florentine palazzo and to advertise his family's wealth.






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