Wednesday, 20 November 2013


Finally I've reached the end of the course notes and arrived at Neoclassical art, yay. As with Neoclassicism architecture, Neoclassical painting and sculpture arose alongside the Age of Enlightenment. This course is then continued chronologically by Romanticism to Fin-de-Siecle which I've also covered. So, this movement here is the very movement responsible for the stubborn Classicism that existed beside romanticism, realism, impressionism and post impressionism in the 19th century...

Belisarius Receiving Alms, 1781
Painting became less 'pretty' after rococo and far more serious. Even the architecture in the background is plain. The composition of bodies are narrow and close. No underhand jokes or puns like Rococo.

Andromache Mourning Hector, 1783
The most admired sculpture around this time was the Apollo Belvedere, a skinny untoned man. The return to classicism meant a return to big and muscly men a la michelangelo.

Portrait of Antoine-Laurent & Marie-Anne Lavoisier, 1788
This is the clever man who discovered nitrogen and hydrogen. An enlightened portrait through and through!

The Tennis Court Oath, 1791
This was displayed by David's Oath of the Horatii (which I've spoken about so much in the past that it makes me want to chew my hand off). This shows a scene before a revolution and the purpose of the Horatii Oath beside it (three brothers ready to fight for Rome) shows that one must be faithful and stoic for a revolution to work. The Horatii brothers serve almost like a precursor to the story told in this below:

Death of Marat, 1793
Marat was a radical who opposed to sciency things and wanted a chemist dead. He was then executed.

The Intervention of the Sabine Woman, 1799
Just as the Sabines and Romans made peace; so should the moderate and radical factions in France. Shows the slowly changing roles of women too, as oppossed to being portrayed as either a) naked or b) disloyal or c) crazy she's shown to be the peacemaker.

Bonaparte, Calm on a Fiery Steed, Crossing the Alps, 1801
As I said, classicism was knocking about at the same time as romanticism - you can see that on this occasion the two styles have met in the middle.

Consecration of the Emperor Napoleon I, 1805-7
This episode was considered an outrage. Napoleon was considered a betrayal to the revolution and angered many. He took the crown from the Pope and crowned himself. This has a slight more medieval look towards it - maybe on purpose as a reference to Napoleon's medieval actions!

Napoleon in his Study, 1812
Some propaganda for good measure. Shows napoleon as a down to earth man - noticeably without any crown or reference to his consecration.

Ingres, Napoleon on his Imperial Throne, 1806
Ingres, on the other hand, went EXTREMELY far with the whole 'emperor' thing that even those who admired him weren't keen.

Antonio Canova, Cupid and Psyche, 1786-93
His early work were very feminine having been influenced by rococo sculpture. Although, it didn't have the same sensuality that Bernini's works had.

Tomb of Pope Clement XIII, 1792
No dramatic movement, more severe with idealised and smooth forms.

Tomb of Dutchess Maria Cristina od Saxony-Teschen 1798-1805
Quoting a Roman-Pagan monumentl and things are getting increasingly more classical.

Paolina Borghese as Venus Victrix, 1804-08
The pose is undoubtedly classical as is the bed she's laying on.

Theseus and Centaur, 1804-19
Sense of violence which is arguably a remnant of Baroque/Rococo however it is without a sense of movement and 'upwards thrust'. Sculptors were re-finding their obsession for sculpted bodies (very literally).

The Three Graces, 1814-17

George Washington, 1821
The height of Enlightenment sculpture perhaps - not in terms of style as things got pretty samey from quite early on - but because George Washington was considered the first 'enlightened' law maker as the first president of the new world and was portrayed as such with Roman clothes on.

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