Monday, August 1, 2011

"... what the eye demands."

 "It matters not if the connection between base and cornice be maintained by actual pilasters or moldings, or by their painted or woven imitations. The line, and not the substance, is what the eye demands."
The Decoration of Houses, 1897
Edith Wharton & Ogden Codman, Jr

The iconic Institut Guerlain, Paris, decorated by Christian Berard

Fromental's Berard wallcovering... I love the fractured baseboard

Villa Barbaro, trompe l'oeil frescoes by Paolo Verenese... my favorite details are the ceremonial flags in the corners

The Opera Garnier's curtain... this building is one of the most sybaritic works of architecture ever created

The trompe l'oeil dome of Sant'Ignazio di Loyola in Rome... the first time I saw this I couldn't actually believe it wasn't real until I walked around the church

I'm not sure Wharton or Codman was talking about over-scaled bird cages... 

or mid-century bars...
but my eye demands both.


  1. I admired photos of Guerlain for years before I learned that the design was not painted but a fabric appliqué instead. Chic, no?
    __ The Devoted Classicist

  2. Berard was one of my favourite artists along with Vertes.

  3. The fact that it is a fabric applique makes it even more interesting... he really was amazing

  4. great.
    i have been so frustrated with the new showroom's bathroom i am dealing with.
    i had forgotten all about the freely painted on molding.
    i love-
    and am going to do it for a temp. fix.