The Neoclassicism Art Movement

In the late 18th Century and early 19th Century, artists melded innovative new ideas with Ancient Greek and Roman styles.

The Neoclassicism Art Movement was a Western movement which involved decorative and visual art, music, theater, and architectural designs which drew influence and inspiration from the ancient classical artists and the cultures of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Neoclassicism began in Rome in the 18th Century and gained popularity spreading over Europe due to the Grand Tours made be the students from other parts of the world to Italy. The Neoclassical Art Movement rapidly spread because it coincided with the Age of Enlightenment in the 18th Century. The art movement continues to be one of the most embraced cultures especially in Italy and the larger Europe competing with Romanticism.

5. Overview of the Style and Elements of Neoclassicism -

Neoclassicism highlights the spirit and style of the classic antiquities, and is inspired by the art of the classical period. It was developed as a result of a reaction against the Rococo style. Neoclassicism in art implies a simple but unique style of a classical model. In English, the term Neoclassicism is used to exclusively refer to the visual art. However, the term has since been expanded to include other elements which it has greatly dominated, especially from the 19th Century such as classical music, architecture, sculpture, and decorative arts. The painting was also revived under the neoclassical movements through bas-relief friezes, pottery painting, and the painting works of the High Renaissance of Raphael’s generation.

4. Origins and Development -

The Neoclassicism Art Movement began in Rome in the mid-18th Century, and from there spread across much of Europe at a time when European art students returned to their countries at the ends of their "Grand Tours" which introduced them to new artistic ideas. With their newly acquired Greco-Roman ideals, they were able to practice classical art leading to a rapid spread of the Neoclassical movement. The main movement which coincided with the Age of Enlightenment continued into early 19th Century with the architectural styles continuing up to the 21st Century. The visual art began in 1760 to counter the dominance of the Baroque and Rococo styles which emphasized grace and ornamentation. The architecture is based on the principle of simplicity which is visible in the Rome and Greece arts.

3. Notable Artists and their Works -

The Neoclassicism Art Movement witnessed some of the greatest and the most talented artists in the history of painting, sculptural works, classical music, architecture, and other forms of art alike. John Flaxman was able to turn the drawings of Raphael Mengs into prints by using simple line drawing or purest classical mediums to depict the Odyssey in 1795. The painting works of Angelica Kauffman which were mainly portraits are considered tender and very soft bringing out the emotions and reflective thoughts. Jean-Antoine Houdon’s sculpture work represents a smooth transition from Rococo to classical dignity. He majored on producing portraits producing most of the great figures of Enlightenment. Other sculptors included Johan Tobias and Antonio Canova. Scot architecture Charles Cameron is credited with creating a palatial Italianate in Russian Saint Petersburg for Catherine II the Great.

2. Decline and Subsequent Movements -

The decline of the Neoclassicism movement began in the late 19th Century, and this decline was see with stylistic shifts in music, painting, and sculptural works simultaneously. However, the architecture continued throughout the 19th Century up to the 21st Century. The decline of the Neoclassicism movement coincided with the rise of the Romanticism. Rococo movement which rivaled Neoclassicism from the 18th Century also contributed to its decline since most of the artist would include the Rococo ideas in most of their classical work. The modern art is also steadily drawing away from the neoclassicism.

1. Neoclassicism's Legacy -

Neoclassicism influenced much of the greater simplicity of modern society in almost every aspect, such as in fashion and the ways women were seen dressing. Classical costumes are associated with royalty and high status in the society. The ancient buildings constructed during the neoclassical period are among the strongest and most appealing building, especial in Europe and Rome in particular. Neoclassicism paints the history and way of life especially in the ancient Greece and Rome from which the modern students can learn and emulate. The movement is also credited for replacing the Rococo art which was complex and time consuming because of the required details.

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