The auricular style or lobate style (Dutch: Kwabstijl, German:Ohrmuschelstil) is a style of ornamental decoration, mainly found in Northern Europe in the first half of the 17th century, bridging Northern Mannerism and the Baroque. The style was especially important and effective in silversmithing, but was also used in minor architectural ornamentation such as door and window reveals, picture frames, and a wide variety of the decorative arts. It uses softly flowing abstract shapes in relief, sometimes asymmetrical, whose resemblance to the side view of the human ear gives it its name, or at least its "undulating, slithery and boneless forms occasionally carry a suggestion of the inside of an ear or a conch shell". It is often associated with stylized marine animal forms, or ambiguous masks and shapes that might be such, which seem to emerge from the rippling, fluid background, as if the silver remained in its molten state.
In some other European languages the style is covered by the local equivalent of the term cartilage baroque, so called because the forms may resemble cartilage (e.g. Knorpelbarock in German, bruskbarokk in Norwegian, bruskbarok in Danish). But these terms may be rather widely and vaguely applied to a bewildering range of styles of Northern Mannerist and Baroque ornament. In Dutch a "dolphin and mollusk" style is mentioned.
Adam van Vianen, Constighe Modellen
Johannes Lutma, Detail van een schaal, 1653.
Lutma, Detail of brass choir-screen, Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam
Nota. - Surreal aufgefasster Antoní Gaudí, möchte man sagen: aber in ganz kleiner Form und gar nicht genialisch gemeint - ein Vierteljahrtausend zuvor.