Goût grec  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Goût grec (French, "Greek taste") is the term applied to the earliest expression of the neoclassical style in France, it refers specifically to the decorative arts and architecture of the mid-1750s to the late 1760s. The style was more fanciful than historically accurate though the first archaeological surveys of Greece had begun to appear at this time. It was characterized by severe rectilinear and trabeated forms with a somewhat crude Greek detailing such as Ionic scrolls, Greek keys and guilloche. The style's origin may be found in the suite of furniture designed by Louis-Joseph Le Lorrain for the Parisian financier Ange-Laurent de La Live de Jully (now in the Mus. Condé, Chantilly). In comparison to the prevailing Rococo style the austerity of these pieces is stark, and found praise from the then authority on Greek antiquity the Comte de Caylus. Also influential were the engravings of the architect Jean-François de Neufforge, the work of Charles De Wailly, and the designs of Philippe de La Guêpière. The goût grec was perhaps one of the more vigorous products of the Louis XV style yet was short lived and replaced quickly with the delicate (or insipid, according to preference) goût étrusque and goût arabesque.

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