Baroque design was an offshoot of the Roman Catholic influence in Italy in the 18th Century. Over the previous 200 years, more and more new churches began to be built across Italy, with over 300 in Rome by the mid 1700s. It was through the use of modern design and furniture accents, from gilded statues to ornately carved tables that the Roman church gained influence.
The larger a church building was, the more likely it was to have extensive carvings and rich gilded walls with lush fabrics adorning the pews. Paintings were large with ostentatious frames surrounding them. The more ornately designed a church was, the more popular it became.
This led to a trend of luxurious furnishings taking over the homes of the elite. Families who were connected to the church were the leaders of a trend that brought in a rich, Baroque setting for the home. Chairs were lined with rich, custom carvings, ebony, stone, jewels and more for additional flair. Homes became in competition with each other to see who could create a more elaborate home.
Early on, Pietro da Cortona was a student in what was known as High Baroque. Cortona, also known as Pietro Berrettini, was born in Cortona and quickly came to the attention of the papacy in Italy where he began working on major commissions of paintings inside the churches. He was only one of many early painters, sculpturers and designers who influenced the way Baroque designs influenced the rich and poor alike.
And it was the art that influenced the design of Baroque furniture in the 17th century. Cabinets, cupboards, bed posts and other wood furniture has large bulky twisted columns and rich carvings and mouldings in the interior design. Baroque was an offshoot of a large Asian influence on design and the Oriental influence led to the deep ornamentation and design of modern Italian furniture.
These large, grand and overly ornate designs were popular for the nobles, and were influenced by the Renaissance Age and various intricate etchings and design techniques embellished furniture. Tables with gilded carved bases became popular. Even tables with slim lined legs had rich carvings or etchings shaping the way the furniture reflected its Baroque influence. Under Louis XIV, Baroque became extremely popular and was later phased out under Louis XVI when a less ornate style came into play as the peasants and the lower class became wearier of the ornate and rich influences in modern design. Functionality came back in the late 1800s as the Industrial Revolution began and design began to change again.