François of Cuvilliés

François de Cuvilliés (October 23, 1695, Soignies – April 14, 1768, Munich), is an architect, born in Belgium

It is recognized as one of the masters of the Bavarian rococo. Its very ornamental style, rich in plant motifs, is diffused throughout Europe thanks to a series of engravings published in 1738

François de Cuvilliés dit l’Ancien is the father of the architect François Cuvilliés le Jeune (1731 -1777)

Jean François Vincent Joseph Cuvilliés was born on October 23, 1695, in the small town of Soignies in Hainaut, Belgium, which was part of the Spanish Netherlands at the time when Prince Elector Maximilian-Emmanuel of Bavaria held the office Of Governor General Cuvilliés was the second last in a family of six children

In 1706, before his eleventh birthday, he found shelter at the court of the sovereign at Mons Maximilian-Emmanuel, who had to leave Bavaria in 1704, after the defeat of Hochstatt, during the War of the Spanish Succession, His exile, a small court, first in Brussels, and later in Mons, where he was entertained with plays, concerts, and chases, Cuvillies was puny and small, the duke-elector made him his dwarf He followed the court in Paris, Namur, Compiegne, Saint-Cloud and finally, after the Treaty of Rastatt, in April 1715, in Munich

Cuvillies, whose talents as a draftsman had been noticed by the Elector, was appointed in Munich as draftsman of the court buildings. Like Louis XIV in France, the absolute sovereign of Bavaria took it upon himself to systematically protect particular talents. In Cuvilliés, mathematics and the art of fortification. In spite of his small size, in 1717 he made him enter the regiment as a standard-bearer. In this way he was kept financially and remained in the closest surroundings of Maximilien- Emmanuel, for whom he probably had to continue drawing

From 1720 to 1724 the Prince Elector sent him to Paris to study the new architecture and modern interior decoration of the period and to make acquaintance with the last artistic movements. The “Regency Style”, which owes its name To the regency (1715-1723) of Philippe d’Orléans, during the minority of Louis XV remained the predominant style until 1730, it was he who was the starting point of the future architectural and decorative creation of Cuvilliés During Of his stay in Paris, he became familiar with the rules of “distribution” (arrangement of rooms), “convenience” (just relation between the size and degree of decoration of a building and the rank of its owner ) And “decency” (just measure of interior decoration)

Returning to Munich, Cuvillies was able to make use of his Parisian experiments for the decorative arrangement of Schleissheim Castle, as master of the buildings, since 1725 under the orders of Joseph Effner (1687-1745), chief The court Although he was a subordinate of Effner, Cuvilliés, who did not become master in chief of the court buildings until 1763, soon surpassed him in influence, and it was he who, from 1730 to 1740, under the reign Of Prince Elector Charles-Albert of Bavaria, determined the style at the court of Munich, because of these great qualities of architect and decorator

Cuvilliés also worked for the brother of the Prince-Elector of Bavaria, Archbishop-Elector of Cologne, Clement-Auguste of Bavaria He provided drawings for the Augustusburg castle in Brühl (1728-1740) and built the small castle of Falkenlust (1729 -1734) In the Munich Residence he created, at the beginning in joint work with Effner, rows of pieces which today belong, despite the destruction of the Second World War and the subsequent restorations, that the museum of The Residence has more value to present to the public: the Gallery of Ancestors (1726-1730) with the former Cabinet of the Treasury, nowadays Cabinet des Porcelaines (1730-1733), and the Apartment to the “Riches Pieces” (1729-1733) with the Galerie Verte (1731-1734) With the help of the artisans of art who executed his projects, Cuvilliés succeeded here with masterpieces of interior decoration, and, starting from the regency style, A style of court The Rococo of South Germany was built in the Electoral Residence L’Amalienbourg (named after the wife of Prince Elector Charles-Albert), built by Cuvilliés between 1734 and 1739 in the castle park Of Nymphenburg, represents the summit of this court style of the early rococo

The private mansions he built at the same time for the nobility, reflect this elegant court rococo Unlike the French, he was willingly inspired by the artists of the country and he developed an art of interior decoration where, The set of decorations became more and more constructively imagery, and where the ornament gained, thanks to its abundance of figurative and figurative motifs, an inexhaustible richness of form

The period of construction at the court of Bavaria was temporarily terminated when, in 1742, Prince Elector Charles Albert was crowned Germanic Roman Emperor. A few days after the coronation, Bavaria was occupied by Austrian troops. The death of Charles Albert, the military, economic and financial situation of the electoral court seemed desperate. His successor, Maximilian III, succeeded, it is true, in ratifying in the same year the peace separated from Füssen, but only the Treaty Of Aachen (1748) put an end to the war of the Austrian Succession. During this period of economies there were very few occupations for the artists attached to the court; Cuvilliés remained until 1750 without any commission from the court. On the other hand, it was Johann Baptist Gunetsrhainer (1692-176) and not Cuvilliés who succeeded to Effner in 1745 as chief court

During these years, Cuvilliés once more devoted himself to drawing. Between 1738 and 1754, he published two series of engravings in large format (initially as author-publisher), which consisted of 50 volumes each with 6 sheets. (1723-1796) A third series, after 1756, was completed and completed by his son, François Cuvillies the Younger (1731-1777). ), Which added the representation of buildings made by his father. With his first volumes, Cuvilliés sought not only a financial success of publisher, which unfortunately did not take place, but above all a means allowing him, while leaving him a complete (1695-1750), a Jacques de Lajoue (1687-1761), a Jean Mondon son (who died in 1749) and Many others, which Made similar series of engravings appear, representing cartouches and ornaments intended to serve as models of style. In these ornamental books, a new style developed in the 1930s of the eighteenth century, the leitmotif of which was the rock form : An asymmetrical, elusive, rhythmic and fluctuating form based on shells, waterfalls, C and S curves, and bat wings. Sometimes this ornamentation frames capricious or bucolic scenes, sometimes , It replaces architectural slides, or, with its fluid and faded forms, it takes the place of architecture with the static structure and the geometric tracing

It was thanks to the engravings of ornaments published at Augsburg that the Rocaille style (1730-1745) was diffused, and especially at the initiative of Cuvilliés, who was one of the first to import the rockery into his engravings, That the artists of southern Germany advanced in these new ways and developed a colored rococo, sometimes fantastic and unquestionably qualified as popular Here, contrary to the French usage, the rock form is passed in the wood carving and in Stucco Towards the middle of the century, ornament became the eminent genre, the rockery the most common motif of decoration Influenced by French examples as well as by the Bavarian artists of its surroundings, while continuing to evolve its works Cuvilliés created, in parallel, a variant of the rocaille style, a court rococo very advanced, which he could realize for the first time in the construction of the new Op Era, ordered by Prince Elector Maximilian III Joseph

Shortly before, in 1749, Cuvilliés had produced drawings for a new theater at the Landgrave Guillaume VIII in Hesse-Cassel. There are still two plans and three water-color cuts, which are preserved in the Hesse National Archives in Marburg Although it was conceived to be about half the size of the Opera house built in Munich, there are already, in this theater with balconies, a central princely lodge, the essential elements Of the arrangement, and we also find, in particular, the motifs of the ornament. According to the sketches, the room had to give a very bucolic impression, thanks to the naturalistic frame and colored of certain motifs of the decoration – garlands of Flowers, for example – standing out against the white and golden background of the rows of boxes, and thanks to the palm trees framing the boxes and the cartouches in the rocky crowning them This theater imagined by Cuvil Linked was not realized, its rococo appeared a blamable luxury, not suitable for a city marked by Calvinism

The “Theater Cuvilliés” of the Munich Residence, completed in July 1755, remains the major work of this artist

Castle of Augustusburg, Brühl (1726)
Pavilion Falkenlust, Brühl (1729)
Facade of the Theatinerkirche, Munich (1765-68)
Decoration of the residence of Munich (1730-37)
Théâtre Cuvilliés, in the immediate vicinity of the residence (1751-53)
Pavilion of Amalienburg, Nymphenburg (1734)
Abbey of Schäftlarn