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Neoclassicism 1750—1815.

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Presentation on theme: "Neoclassicism 1750—1815."— Presentation transcript:

1 Neoclassicism 1750—1815

2 Key Ideas The Enlightenment brought about a rejection of royal and aristocratic authority. The Rococo style was replaced by the Neoclassical, which was perceived as more democratic. Neoclassicism was inspired by the unearthing of the ruins at Pompeii and the books of art theorist Johann Winckelmann. Even if works of art depict current events or contemporary portraits, there are frequent classical allusions The late eighteenth century was the age of the Industrial Revolution: new technologies such as cast iron were introduced into architecture, and for the first time it became more economical to carve from bronze than marble.

3 Background Industrial Revolution
Population Boom due to mass-production, technological innovation and medical science Improvements in quality of life that the Industrial Revolution yielded was offset to mechanized work and inhuman working conditions. Europe gets swept by a new intellectual transformation called The Enlightenment. Philosophers and scientists based their ideas on logic and observation, rather than tradition and folk wisdom. Knowledge began to be structured in a deliberate way: Denis Diderot (1713—1784) organized and edited a massive 52-volume French encyclopedia in 1764, Samuel Johnson (1709—1784) composed the first English dictionary singlehandedly in 1755, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau discussed how a legitimate government was an expression of the general will in his 1762 Social Contract.

4 Patrons & Artists Rome saw little artistic progress
This was magnified by the discovery of Pompeii. As Roman works were being dug up the world would admire the ancient city. Pompeii inspired art theorist Johann Winckelmann (1717—1768) to publish The History of Ancient Art in 1764, which many consider the first art history book. Winckelmann heavily criticized the waning Rococo as decadent, and celebrated the ancients for their purity of form and crispness of execution. This inspired a renewed interest in the ancients. Academies sprang up in Europe and the US. Artists would train in what was thought proper classical tradition—part of that training sent many artists to Rome to study works firsthand. The blessings of the Neoclassical period were firmly entrenched in the mind of art professionals and educated amateurs.

5 Architectural Innovations
Introduction of Cast Iron (not to be confused with Steel) Classicists saw the daring use of exposed iron as an anathema because ancient buildings with their massive stone walls were to them the only acceptable building medium. Gradual change. Even conservative architects recognized the strength and economy of metal construction and used these material in the substructure or behind the walls of stone or wood buildings.

6 Characteristics of Neoclassical Architecture
Clever mix of classical principles into modern framework Outward character of the Roman works and tailored to living in the eighteenth century Greek and Roman columns, capitals on façade of great houses. Pediment crowned entrances and a topped windows. Domes graced the center of homes creating gallery space. Almost perfectly symmetrical. Rectangular rooms almost mirroring each other. Each room a different theme. Like the White House sometimes labeled ‘The Green Room’, ‘The Red Room’.

7 Chiswick House Richard Boyle and William Kent, Chiswick House, 1725, London, England Boyle: amateur architect. Kent interior and designer Influenced of Palladian motif of the decorated balls on the balustrade of the main floor; Palladian low dome; main floor raised over exposed basement level; pediments over windows and doors Jones statue at far right (father of English classicism) Symmetrical balance of façade, even chimneys were balanced

8 Chiswick House Un-Italian are the large semicircular dome windows and obelisk like chimneys Rusticated bottom floor influenced by Italian Renaissance buildings Clear, open, white stone surface above, with no ornamentation Baroque tradition lingers in the double staircase that changes view as it ascends Domed central room is an art gallery containing busts and paintings Not a real residence, but a pavilion where Boyle would entertain guests and show his art collection Richly decorated rooms of brilliant color

9 Monticello Thomas Jefferson, Monticello, 1770—1806, Charlottesville, Virginia “Little Mountain” in Italian Chief building on Jefferson’s plantation Symmetrical interior design Brick building, stucco applied to trim to give the effect of marble Tall French doors and windows to allow circulation in hot Virginia summers

10 Monticello Appears to be a one-story building with a dome, but the balustrade hides the second floor Inspired by Palladio and Roman ruins in France Octagonal dome Jefferson obsessed with saving space in his home: very narrow spiral staircases, beds in alcoves or in walls between rooms

11 The Royal Crescent John Wood the Younger, The Royal Crescent, 1769—1775, Bath, England Bath is a summer resort where the wealthy can take in the health benefits of the naturally warmed waters Wood’s Roman design is in keeping with Bath being an ancient Roman city Thirty residences in an elliptical sweep Grand Ionic columns rhythmically framing windows Balustraded cornice unifies composition Typically English chimney pots placed at rhythmically spaced points along the roofline English characteristic in great length of the crescent Public rooms on the second floor of the houses to provide a majestic view down the hill below

12 Coalbrookdale Bridge Abraham Darby and Thomas Pritchard, Coalbrookdale Bridge, , England First substantial structure made of iron Five parallel metal Roman arches Cast iron is brittle, but the clever design has made the bridge stand effectively

13 Painting Innovations Artists cloak their modern sitters in ancient garb, and make their faces more noble to appear antique Example; Canova sculpted George Washington to look like a Roman General Despite the new idea Benjamin West took epic contemporary events and would wrap the figures in modern drapery as in Death of General Wolfe

14 Painting Characteristics
Reminiscent of antiquity Mythological or Biblical scenes with modern context Horatii might be boring if it didn’t add the implication of self-sacrifice for the greater good This would be called exemplum virtitus; a painting that tells a moral tale for the viewer

15 Painting Characteristics
Even without exemplum virtitus they would have reference to subtexts inviting the viewer to take measure of a person, a situation, and a state of affairs. Copley’s portrait of Samuel Adams considering Adams statement about the Boston Massacre Compositions were symmetrical, with linear perspective leading the eye Mostly invisible brushwork and clear detail

16 Samuel Adams John Singleton Copley, Samuel Adams, , oil on canvas, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Portrait contains forceful and direct gaze, engaging the spectator in a confrontation; focus on the head Figure up close to the picture plane Rich colors, concentration on reflective surfaces Meticulous handling of paint Adams pointing in an animated way at the Massachusetts charter; confronting the Massachusetts governor over the Boston Massacre; powerful gesture


18 Death of General Wolfe Benjamin West, Death of General Wolfe, 1771, oil on canvas, National Gallery, Ottawa Scene depicting the Battle of Quebec in 1759 An attempt to show the entire battle in the background of the painting: English boats unloading their cannon in early morning at extreme right; cannon put in place in center distance at mid-morning; battle at left with Quebec cathedral breaking through the smoke Very short battle, French in disarray and running from the battle scene French colors captured at left and brought to General Wolfe before his death Wolfe died nearly alone, but in the painting he is surrounded by friends and admires Wolfe’s unflattering looks, his cleft chin, his large protruding eyes, his small mouth, and his upturned nose are minimized in his upturned heavenward glance

19 Death of General Wolfe Wolfe’s unflattering looks, his cleft chin, his large protruding eyes, his small mouth, and his upturned nose are minimized in his upturned heavenward glance Compositional arrangement in thirds reflects triptych, like compositions of the Renaissance; triangular units reflect High Renaissance paintings Religious associations of the victory: Protestantism over Catholicism Wolfe bathed in the pool of light; he is in the pose of Christ being taken down from the cross

20 Wolfe’s pose also cf. Dying Gaul and Michelangelo’s Pieta
Native American sets the scene as the Americas and contemplates the consequences of Wolfe’s victory Great innovation in portraying Wolfe in contemporary costume rather than Roman robes

21 Cornelia Pointing to Her Children as Treasures
Angelica Kauffman, Cornelia Pointing to Her Children as Treasures, 1785, oil on canvas, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond Exemplum Virtutis Story and setting is Roman, with figures before an Italian background Cornelia, a noble woman, is shown jewelry by a visitor who asks to see Cornelia’s jewels Cornelia responds that her children are her jewels and presents her sons; interestingly, her daughter is not presented in this light A truly noble woman places her children above material possessions

22 Oath of the Horatii

23 Oath of the Horatii Jacques-Louis David, Oath of the Horatii, 1784, oil on canvas, Louvre, Paris Exemplum virtutis Story of three Roman brothers (the Horatii) who do battle with three other brothers (the Curiatii) from a nearby city; they pledge their fidelity to their father and to Rome One of the three women on right is a Horatii engaged to one of the Curiatii brothers; another woman is the sister of the Curiatii brothers Forms are vigorous, powerful, animated, emphatic Gestures are sweeping and unified Figures pushed to the foreground Neoclassical drapery and tripartite composition

24 Oath of the Horatii Not Neoclassical in its Caravaggio-like lighting and un-Roman architectural capitals Painted under royal patronage

25 Death of Marat Jacques-Louis David, Death of Marat, 1793, oil on canvas, Royal Museum, Brussels Marat was a leader of the French Revolution, who was stabbed in his bathtub by Charlotte Corday, a more moderate revolutionary who denounced the killing of the king Suffering from skin cancer, Marat took baths for hours to relieve the itch; he is not shown with the effects of cancer except for his turban soaked in vinegar, thought to have been a cure

26 Death of Marat His desk is set up in the tub so he can do work; killed at the moment of issuing a letter of condolences Killed with a butcher knife with blood still on the handle Pose is the Descent from the Cross, or Michelangelo’s Pieta Tombstone like desk inscribed “To Marat, David, Year 2” reflecting the French Revolution’s reordering of the calendar Caravaggio-like lighting

27 Sculpture Prior to Industrial Revolution, bronze was inefficient
Mass production of metal in England & Germany caused price of bronze to fall Stonework relied on manual labor; a high cost It was felt that ancients preferred marble and so it seemed more authentic and more authoritative in appeal It was also assumed the ancient preferred unpainted sculpture; because the painted on the marbles came off over time

28 Sculptural Characteristics
Mindful of the classics Desire for the realism Wrapped in robes but in more realistic contemporary poses Carved from white marble with no paint added

29 Cupid and Psyche

30 Cupid and Psyche Antonio Canova, Cupid and Psyche, 1787—1793, marble, Louvre, Paris

31 Pauline Borghese as Venus

32 Pauline Borghese as Venus
Antonio Canova, Pauline Borghese as Venus, 1808, marble, Galleria Borghese, Rome

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