AntiquesDictionary of antiques

The dictionary of antiques – Eclecticism

Today’s word is: eclecticism. Let’s discover together the characteristics of this style and its origins.

What does eclecticism mean?

Eclecticismis the adjective that identifies all the furnishings and accessories made between the 50s and the last years of the nineteenth century. It is precisely in this period, in fact, that the eclectic style develops.

What are the characteristics of the eclectic style?

The characteristic of eclecticism is the mixture of styles of the past. The furniture was characterized by stylistic confusion; the forms of Baroque, Neoclassicism and Gothic are resumed. The furnishings are overloaded with decorations, arabesques, flowers and trophies even at the expense of the lines. Textile coating and the mechanical processing of many wooden and metal parts were also used excessively. The watchwords of this style are virtuosity and elegance.

How is eclecticism born?

Universal exhibition

A first factor was 1850 when the first universal exhibition was organized: a large exhibition where artists could exhibit their works and update themselves on the latest innovations. It was an opportunity to discuss the arts. This is precisely how the mixing of the various decorative repertoires is encouraged and, consequently, national styles suffer from their integrity and homogeneity.

Another interesting element is that in those years the bourgeoisie increasingly needed to show off its wealth. One way to do this is to use the luxury and prestige of past eras. What better way to mix them all together?

Finally, we cannot forget that these were the years of the first industrial revolution. Artists felt the need to experiment with these new technologies in their own fields.

Here, these three great factors together with others, make Eclecticism develop.

An example

If you’re a little confused and can’t imagine a piece of furniture that has all these features, that’s normal. Here, we decided to show you an eclectic mirror of the nineteenth century.


If you want to discover all the other antique objects in eclectic style in our warehouse, you just have to come and visit us. We are waiting for you!

Amo l'arte. Ho fatto ingegneria gestionale.

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