ARCHITECT, French
(active 1700-1740 in Paris)

Interior view

1735
Photo
Hôtel de Soubise, Paris

In the first decades of the eighteenth century a shift occurred in focus from grandiose façades to the decoration of the interior. This is clearly demonstrated by the Hôtel de Soubise. While the garden frontage, begun in 1704 by Pierre Alexis Delamair (c. 1675-1745) was still modeled on Versailles, new avenues were being explored in the composition of the living quarters by Germain Boffrand (1667-1754), the gifted draftsman and interior architect who designed several apartments for the palace, interconnected with oval areas.

Among the finest rooms of the period was the Princesses' Hall, which was decorated with stucco and paintings by the artist Charles-Joseph Natoire. It display the new style in its most complete form: the gilded filigree stucco across the walls and ceiling suggests light branches entwined around a pergola, but is nevertheless technically very complete and controlled. A striking feature is the high division between wall and ceiling; the decoration spills over the main cornice.. On the surfaces between the windows and the ceiling, Natoire's paintings tell the story of Psyche.

The photo shows the Princesses' Hall.




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