Saturday, November 19, 2011

neo- clssicism

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Neo-Classicism originated in Rome and spread like wildfire in reaction to the utter excesses of the early Baroque and especially the Rococo periods. During this time, scenes from Roman history became popular again. In a neo-classical work of art, composition is balanced, colours are bright and the work has soul. Artists at this time started to copy and imitate antique art.

Hence their emphasis on proper subject matter; and hence their attempts to emphasize details to an overall design, to employ in their work concepts like symmetry, proportion, unity, harmony, and grace, which would facilitate the process of delighting, instructing, educating, and correcting the social animal which they believed man to be, they saw man as an imperfect being, inherently sinful, whose potential was limited. They replaced the Renaissance emphasis on the imagination, on invention and experimentation, and on mysticism with an emphasis on order and reason, on restraint, on common sense, and on religious, political, economic and philosophical conservatism, because of the revolution that had arisen. They maintained that man himself was the most appropriate subject of art, and saw art itself as essentially pragmatic--as valuable because it was somehow useful--and as something which was properly intellectual rather than emotional.

The English Neoclassical movement, predicated upon and derived from both classical and contemporary French models, as critical statements of Neoclassical principles that embodied a group of attitudes toward art and human existence, ideals of order, logic, restraint, accuracy, correctness, and decorum, which would enable the practitioners of various arts to imitate or reproduce the structures and themes of Greek or Roman originals.

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Neoclassicism was an art movement based on the revival of the arts and ideals of ancient Greece and Rome. Artists working in the neoclassical style used ideas and motifs that would evoke the values of the ancient Roman republic, with which the U.S. government and public wished to associate themselves. Neoclassicism, which emphasised moderation and rational thought, dominated European and Euro-American architecture and art from the mid-18th century to the late 1th century.

With the surge of patriotism following the American Revolution, a desire for commemorative portraits arose. Because the nation, dubbed the New Republic, continued to associate itself with the glories of the ancient Greeks and Romans well into the 1th century, the neoclassical style remained popular for portraits of Americas leaders.

Art produced in Europe and North America from about 1750 through the early 1800s, marked by the emulation of Greco-Roman forms. More than just an antique revival, neoclassicism was linked to contemporary political events. Neoclassical artists at first sought to replace the sensuality and what they viewed as the triviality of the rococo style with a style that was logical, solemn in tone, and moralising in character. When revolutionary movements established republics in France and America, the new governments adopted neoclassicism as the style for their official art, by virtue of its association with the democracy of ancient Greece and republican Rome. Later, as Napoleon rose to power in France in 1804, the style was modified to serve his propagandistic needs. With the rise of the Romantic Movement, a preference for personal expression replaced an art based upon fixed, ideal values.

Neo-classicism was the successor to Rococo in the second half of the 18th century and was itself superseded by various historicist styles in the first half of the 1th century. It formed an integral part of THE ENLIGHTENMENT in its radical questioning of received notions of human endeavour. It was also deeply involved with the emergence of new historical attitudes towards the past -- non-Classical as well as Classical -- that were stimulated by an unprecedented range of archaeological discoveries, extending from southern Italy and the eastern Mediterranean to Egypt and the Near East, during the second half of the 18th century. The new awareness of the plurality of historical styles prompted the search for consciously new and contemporary forms of expression. This concept of modernity set Neo-classicism apart from past revivals of antiquity, to which it was, nevertheless, closely related. Almost paradoxically, the quest for a timeless mode of expression (the true style, as it was then called) involved strongly divergent approaches towards design that were strikingly focused on the Greece-Roman debate. On the one hand, there was a commitment to a radical severity of expression, associated with the Platonic Ideal, as well as to such criteria as the functional and the primitive, which were particularly identified with early Greek art and architecture. On the other hand, there were highly innovative exercises in eclecticism, inspired by late Imperial Rome, as well as subsequent periods of stylistic experiment with Mannerism and the Italian Baroque.

Neo-classicism anticipated the political revolution in France with which it is inevitably associated, providing visible expressions of ideology in buildings and images. By the early 1th century an increasing concern with archaeological fidelity, together with the daunting range of newly explored cultures and alternative styles (including the medieval, Gothic and Oriental), began to inhibit imaginative experiment and originality of vision within the Classical tradition for all but a few outstanding artists and designers.

Neoclassical paintings of Jacques-Louis David reflect the classical virtues of Stoicism, masculinity, and, above all, patriotism. In Death of Marat, David portrayed the death of a hero of the French Revolution. David later became the unofficial court painter to the emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. The leading French Neoclassical painter was Jacques-Louis David (1748-185). David won the Prix de Rome in 1774 and spent the next six years there, assimilating the principles of Neoclassicism.

After his return, he produced a series of severely undecorated, anti-Rococo paintings that praised the antique virtues of Stoicism masculinity and patriotism. The first and most influential of these was the Oath of the Horatii (slide), of 1784- 1785, which was a royal commission.

In general, the work reflects the taste and values of Louis XVI (ruled 1774-17), who along with his minister of the arts, Count d’Angiviller, was sympathetic to the Enlightenment.d’Angiviller and the king believed art should improve public morals. Among his first official Eats, d’Angiviller bawled indecent nudity from the Salon of 1775 and commissioned Paintings of French history. David’s commission in 1784 was a part of that general program.

David’s painting was inspired by Pierre Comeille’s drama Horace, although the specific incident David records seems to have been his own invention. The story deals with the early Republican period of Roman History. Ingres was a major figure in paving the way for neo-classicism, he was a leader and painted historical and religious subjects throughout his life. Ingres meticulous style of painting did much to reinforce the distinction between romantic and neoclassic works.

The oath of Horatii

? contains a message of heroism and patriotism, in which the neoclassical movement were trying to enforce, the celebration of horatii… self sacrifice of brutus who put his state before his family

? trying to record a significant contemporary event

? excessive amounts of light, in which the figures are dramatised and stand out

? a sense of stillness is created, characteristic of neoclassicism as opposed to the flowing nature of the rococo compositions

? clear forms

? very detailed moral message, key in understanding davids emotional works.

? symbolises the triumph of duty and reason over human emotion, a key concept of the movement.

woman bathing (1808)

? linear composition

? muted colours

? he was able to capture details and textures extremely well

? the picture is very well lit, and the contours of the womans body have been accentuated

? The stress on line, derivative of greek art, was an integral part of ingres work

? The picture is able to emphasize the soulful nature of the works, aswell as the bright, compostionally balanced style.


lexicon universal encyclopedia .published 187, eng

Art of the nineteenth century

Art and diversity


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