Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Decorating With Neoclassical Relief Sculptures


The relief sculpture has a long and  impressive history starting with the petroglyphs on the walls of caves. Stone buildings and pyramids created by the Egyptians and Assyrians were next to adopt this style of work, followed by bas-relief sculptures that were heavily dominant in Greek and Roman architecture. The Gothic period maintained this tradition which became popular in Romanesque churches to celebrate the lives of important religious events and figures. Use of the relief flourished under the Italian Renaissasince (1400-1600) thanks to Da Vinci, Cellini, Donatello and Michelangelo. The French got on board when Francis I invited Da Vinci, Francesco Primaticcio, and Cellini to work in France. They formed new style and a school of art, the School of Fontainebleau.

Advancing decorative architectural designs that drew inspiration from ancient antiquity, Neoclassicism began in Rome in the 18th Century. This art movement gained popularity and quickly spread over Europe. Today it 
 still continues to be one of the most embraced visual art styles in the world, especially in Italy and Europe as a whole.

The topic of this post is the relief sculpture which was one of the prevailing design elements of the time.The beauty of these pieces is how today they can be used eclectically. A piece can work with a variety of interior styles as you will see from the images below. If you have a yearning to include some neoclassical elements into your interior, I highly recommend investing in a relief sculpture.


18th-Century Royal Palace at Caserta

Architectural millwork and visually stunning reliefs have always been associated with power, opulence, and good taste. Most people associate these with grand interiors. Hopefully this post will show you how to incorporate smaller versions of relief sculptures into your own old world or modern homes.

Michael Smith's elegant apartment.

Here is an example of how relief sculptures are lovely in a home that is not graced with awe inspiring architectural  details. In fact I love using architectural fragments in rooms such as these. I am warmed by the immediate old world elegance and sense of history they bring to a room.


Studio Peregalli Design Firm

Relief sculptures bring to mind a sense of antiquity when homes were luxuriously detailed.They are beautiful when used on walls that are textured in old world paint techniques like stucco or Venetian plaster. Today there are many textured paints and faux techniques to choose from. Or there are many paint colors that lend to an old world aesthetic. Just be selective and do your homework as to which colors are best.

Studio Peregalli Design Firm

Another picture of this gorgeous corridor saturated with reliefs. The frescoes, furnishings, and harlequin flooring just add to the perfection.

Relief sculpture is any work which projects from but which belongs to the wall, or other type of background surface, on which it is carved. Bas-relief has less depth to the faces and figures and projects only slightly from the background surface. High relief sculpture projects more from the background where the carving is sunk below the level of the surrounding surface.

Providence Ltd. Interior Design

Elegant bathroom with a touch of neoclassical in the form of a relief sculpture. A touch of architectural fragment adds so much old world charm.

Victoria Magazine

Relief sculptures with a music theme take center stage in this cute Euro-country bathroom. 


Lisa Farmer-Eye For Design

Whether you're looking to make a decorative statement with something grand or to fill an empty wall a relief sculpture is a good choice. This is part of our bedroom leading into my office. The area is predominately French but I like the addition on neoclassical elements thrown into the mix. I found the composite relief above the dresser at an antique mall in a nearby city.

Lisa Farmer-Eye For Design

I found this composite relief frieze at an estate sale and placed it atop an antique watchmaker's cabinet that sits on the desk in my office. In architecture the frieze (pronounced freeze) is a long narrow band of sculpture that runs along the main beam resting across the tops of columns of a Greek temple or other building. There are several companies making old world style composite reproductions at affordable prices.


Many lovely things bring warmth and charm to this old world style dining room but the relief sculpture brings the needed texture and depth that makes a room very interesting.

Alexa Hampton

The owners of this dining room can count on the relief sculptures to be conversation starters as they provide a unique feature to the room. They can be educational if you know the historical account of the sculpture.

atelierdecampagne.webs.com

A relief sculpture can be dressed up for use in formal interiors or they can create a relaxed elegant feel when displayed with other faded French antiques.


I love to see a relief sculpture tucked away somewhere unexpected in a Euro eclectic interior. Here is one over the doorway in the antiques and French-inspired interior of style icon Iris Apfel’s exuberant three-bedroom Park Avenue apartment....via Architectural Digest.

Another relief over the doorway in this beautiful classically designed interior in Dallas Texas.


Antique plaster bas-reliefs by Jean-Paul Aubé

Relief sculptures are the perfect accompaniment to French marble pieces and other antique furniture. This look is becoming more and more attractive to homeowners as we have seen a resurgence in luxury decor over recent years. Whether in a classical French space........

or a French country interior with marble topped table, a lovely relief sculpture adds an immediate taste of the old world .

Windsor Suite at the Ritz Carlton

Such a pretty room! The relief sculpture panel over the doorway is built into the millwork but you can achieve the same look by hanging one directly over the door. You can find them made from wood or a composite which is less expensive. You can find companies on line that make them.

Timothy Corrigan

This style of circular relief sculpture which became popular in Italy during the 15th century, is called a tondo and derives from the Italian rotondo, meaning round. 

Gianni Versace villa, Lake Como, via brillanteinteriors.blogspot.com

This neoclassical dining room draws on classic Greek and Roman art and architecture by featuring gilt, classical reliefs and opulent furnishings.



A vignette in the home of Howard Slatkin



Reliefs are also easily incorporated into the Swedish/Gustavian interior. Their "tondos" take on more of a cameo appearance.



During his reign, King Gustav III (1772-92) transformed Sweden’s image, setting a standard of style and a level of architectural and cultural sophistication never known before. The Gustavian home will usually have some elements of classical decor such as reliefs.

via Pinterest


In the master bedroom of a 17th-century Italian home by design firm Studio Peregalli, a painting is displayed above a neoclassical bas-relief cameo .The cameo is described as a small relief carving of a face, figure or scene. In Italian, the word itself, means to engrave. 

Studio-Peregalli

People usually think of jewelry when they think cameo but they can also be wall art.


I love the fabulous mix of paintings and reliefs that fill the wall of designer Stephen Shubel’s previous apartment in Paris.


A relief can be used in vignettes alongside other old world items to add a bit of neoclassical style.


Remember you don't always have to hang reliefs on the wall.....I like leaning them!


Aaaaaaah, the Notting Hill home of Master plaster caster Peter Hone and his fabulous collection of urns, busts, architectural fragments, and the topic of our blog.......relief sculptures. His 45 year old collection of over 3,000 casts was sold in 2016 at Christie's.


You may not be interested in wall to wall reliefs. I love the look of antiquity but I understand it is not for everybody.


Maybe only one piece of relief sculpture is your idea of perfection. Even one piece can really make a strong statement.

Robert Reeder Interiors

Elements of Neoclassical design are very much in use in homes today. If you want to create the look, search for refined and elegant pieces. Add beautiful chandeliers and other classic lighting as well as ornate mirrors, urns, columns, and reliefs. Accent with elements such as Greek key, scrolls, medallions, rosettes and lyre designs. Neoclassicism is all about rich but muted colours so look for fabrics and upholstery in moss greens, grayish blues, dusty pinks or terra cottas, toned down reds, browns, and crisp, classic creams and whites. Wide stripes were also popular during the period


Here a modern relief sculpture is used as part of the headboard. I think relief sculptures are a good fit for modern interiors.


Reliefs add interest to the walls of Darryl Carter's DC home.


Use art plaster reliefs to add elegance, history, and beauty to  your homes. Many reproductions are made to show age in the casting. If you want more patina there are tutorials on line to help you with the aging process.



Perfect image to show you how you can beautifully mix classic reliefs with other design styles.




Bring this ancient art form into your kitchen. It's a great place to bring some artistic flair.




And don't forget outdoor entertainment areas. Another great place to create distinctive style with some neoclassical ornamental pieces.


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This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

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