Paris: Life & Luxury (April 26, 2011 to January 2, 2012)
- Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, September 18, 2011 to January 2, 2012
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Bed (Lit à la turque)
Attributed to Jean-Baptiste Tilliard (French, 1686 - 1766)
Paris, France (Place Created)
Gessoed and gilded beech and walnut; modern silk upholstery
174 × 264.8 × 188 cm (68 1/2 × 104 1/4 × 74 in.)
Jean-Baptiste Tilliard made this unusually large bed for a bedroom in a grand private residence. The bed would have been placed sideways against a wall, with a draped baldachin (canopy), now missing, above. The large wheels allowed servants to pull out the body of the bed easily, leaving the tall back attached to the wall while they made it up. It was probably set into an alcove or niche in the bedroom wall.
In eighteenth-century France, a bed of this shape was called a lit à la turque (Turkish bed) because of its two scrolling ends. This title does not refer to any specific Turkish design source but reflects the eighteenth-century preoccupation with anything exotic and unusual from foreign countries. Turkey, China, and Egypt were among the places that inspired craftsmen in their creation of romantic and luxurious interiors. The intention was not to accurately recreate foreign objects but to impart a feeling of exotic opulence, even if only through the name attached to an object. The fashion for all things "Turkish" peaked in the middle of the 1700s, when Madame de Pompadour had a bedroom that was known as the chambre à la turque (Turkish bedroom) only because the paintings displayed in the room showed a slave girl presenting a cup of tea to a sultaness.
Pallot, Bill G. B. L'Art du siège au XVIIIe siècle en France (Paris: ACR-Gismondi Éditeurs, 1987), p. 75, ill.
Stein, Perrin. "Madame de Pompadour and the Harem Imagery at Bellevue." Gazette des Beaux-Arts 123 (January 1994), p. 72, ill.
Jodidio, Philip. "Le Monastére de Brentwood." Connaissance des arts 511 (November 1994), pp. 132-33, ill.
The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 4th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), pp. 210-11, ill.
The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 6th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), pp. 210-11, ill.
The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 7th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007), p. 241, ill.
Bremer-David, Charissa, ed. Paris: Life & Luxury in the Eighteenth Century, exh. cat. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2011), p. 116, no. 8.
DeJean, Joan. "A New Interiority: The Architecture of Privacy in Eighteenth-Century Paris." In Paris: Life & Luxury in the Eighteenth Century, exh. cat. Charissa Bremer-David, ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2011), pp. 46-47, fig. 29.
Arevalo, Carolina. "Madame de Pompadour and Turquerie: Masquerade, Decor and Power." Objective, Journal of the History of Design and Curatorial Studies, Parsons School of Design 2 (Spring/Summer 2016), pp. 55, 57n16, fig. 3 and cover.
Students learn to measure using their feet as the unit of measurement and sketch the pieces of furniture they measured.
Visual Arts; English–Language Arts; Math
Single Class Lesson
Two beds show students that everyday objects can be works of art, and that artists design functional items that are often beautiful.
Visual Arts; English–Language Arts