Neoclassicism art;Definition and Characteristics

Neoclassicism was an aesthetic and artistic movement, one of the first revolutionary movements that shook all of Europe from the mid-eighteenth century until the next century. It emerged with the thought of opposing the highly ornate and ornamental aesthetic of the Baroque movement, which it succeeded.

It was the end of movements and artistic representations in a universal way, to say, this style of art affected everyone and all styles of art. Neoclassical art could be said to be a social, moral, philosophical and intellectual movement that is united and linked to enlightened ideals. This kind of art could be observed all over the world but this style of art settled in France, mainly in Paris, replacing Rome as the new artistic capital.

It was characterized by being founded on classical culture and this is why all the artists of neoclassicism tried to be inspired by ancient architecture. Furthermore, the objective of this type of art was to represent feelings and movement, an absolutely thought-out and rational art, with rules and very simple, and which aims to imitate Greek, Roman and Renaissance art.

Neoclassicism art assumes coherence with new ideas, absolutely contrary to medieval art and everything related to the Old Regime.

In what we call Neoclassicism art, two currents must be distinguished: The first one responds to a pure aesthetic reaction against the Baroque, trying to find nudity in what the Baroque concealed and concealed, although it is still tied to the exaltation of power, such as the Baroque. The other current responds to the illustrated postulates: functionality, rationality, clarity … symbol of a new society that is in the making.

Characteristics of neoclassical art

  • The models in this style of art are clearly Greco-Roman: pediments, columns, domes, preferring the Greek Doric style to enhance severity, solidity and horizontality.
  • Statism is used, which is to use a very slow pace against the movement of curves and countercurves.
  • It is an art committed to the problems of its time. The architects look for the functional thing counting on the social development
  • Sculptors define themselves with the portrait, because it is a way of analyzing and clarifying the relationship between the naturalness and the sociability of the person, between feeling and duty.
  • The transformation of social structures is accompanied by the transformation of customs.
  • The artists use a new technique, that of projecting, realization is the translation of the project using operational instruments.
  • Neoclassical art fulfills a task of civic education, instead of the ancient function that was religious. The artist no longer aspires to the privilege of genius, but to the rigor of the theoretical; projects are achievable.
  • This era indicated the time when technology was separated from artisanal production.
  • Neoclassical art uses: the principle of the correspondence of the form with the aesthetic function that in architecture; from the study of the resistance of materials in the figurative arts and the basis of all drawing.
  • It is reduced to the essential, it does not give rise to creating interpretations.
  • A narrative intention was added to the narrative function.
  • The themes used are the mythological gods who rise towering above mortals. The heroes appear victorious.
  • The historical figures are patient, sober and self-sacrificing. They are moral examples of conduct.
  • The landscape becomes fashionable: places with real archaeological remains, especially you want to recreate the views of cities with traditional recreations.

Neoclassical architecture

It can be classified as a ramification of the moral and social arts. For this reason, the constructions and buildings that aim to improve the quality of human life stand out, such as theaters, libraries, museums, parks, hospitals, among other buildings that have a monumental nature. This new trend causes the

With this new development new ideas and movements are created among them we highlight the criticism that defends the functionality that these constructions have and also defends also the need to construct a building that not only serves to decorate the environment but also is constructive and with a trade practical and fundamental. All these new ideas create a new image and idea of ​​architecture, that is, real architecture is one that is built with common sense. However, during the neoclassical period new architects appeared named as utopians, innovators and idealists who came to represent buildings based on geometric shapes. These groups result in a third classification of architecture called “picturesque architecture” in the eighteenth century.

Neoclassical sculpture

Neoclassical sculpture was worked, mainly with various materials, but the most outstanding was always white marble, they were not too striking since they wanted to give it an air of sculptures with great antiquity and for this reason what stood out from neoclassical sculpture was simplicity and quiet beauty that their works had. The most outstanding themes of sculpture in these centuries were the nude and the portrait that took an important place in neoclassical sculpture.

Neoclassical painting

Among neoclassical painting we can highlight a great artist named Jacques-Louis David, both this artist and other painters tried to imitate images of the revolution and highlighted Roman myths. Structural luminosity and mastery of drawing are the main characteristics of neoclassical painting

Neoclassical music

Nowadays when we talk about neoclassical music we are based on the concept of “classical music” that was referred to the music of the classicism period. However, neoclassical music refers to the end of the 18th century where music tried to be inspired by the aesthetic canon of the Greco-Romans.

Neoclassical literature

In neoclassical literature what stood out the most was the illustration that was a movement that began in the 18th century and became known as the “century of lights. The illustrators had studies and research on education, nature, scientific-technical evolution and in general everything that served to acquire new knowledge. But a few years later, literature became more accessible and was addressed to a less specific audience. The highlight of neoclassical literature is that it went from the novel to the essay and its main themes were the importance of education, the pleasures of life, the role that women played at that time and also criticized the daily customs they had the men.

Neoclassical art artists

Giovanni Battista Piranesi: e s an Italian artist born in 1720, architect and engraver. He was an important engraver at this time for making the record of all the Roman archaeological discoveries of the time. His reproductions and interpretations of the newly discovered ancient Roman monuments were a source of inspiration for other neoclassical artists. His most important works were, the Prisons , in them “he transformed the Roman ruins into fantastic and excessive dungeons dominated by huge and dark passageways, steep stairs to incredible heights and strange galleries that lead nowhere and the Engravings on Roman architecture.

Antonio Canova: Italian artist who was born in 1757, was a sculptor of some popes of the time, at the height of his career he was a sculptor of Napoleon Bonaparte and his family. His most important works are Venus Victrix, Psyche and Cupid and finally Hercules and Lica.


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