Archive for Classicism

Neo-Classicism, Classicism, Romanticism and Rococo Part Two

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY with tags , , , , , , , on August 6, 2009 by echostains

Continued from yesterday (part one HERE)

Rococo style depended on titillation.  It was elaborate, opulent and warm.  But now with the discoveries of Herculaneum in 1738 and Pompeii 1748, artists were becoming sober in their outlook – they wanted to educate.  Winklman said “Dip your brush in intellect“, he thought that artists should raise themselves up beyond craftsmen.

Sober messages emerged: abstinence, patriotism and sacrifice.  The virtuous widow had replaced the naked girl of Rococo and the tone of images had changed.  The French artist Jacques Louis David (1748 -1825)was determined to revive, in his paintings, the values of the ancients.  He was a student of Boucher (1780 -70) and the teacher of Ingres (1780 -1867).  He was a firm supporter of Napoleon and supported those who called for Louis XVI’s execution.

Death of Marat by Jacques Louis David

Death of Marat by Jacques Louis David

Jean Marat, a leader of the revolution became an instant martyr to the cause when he was stabbed to death in his bath by fervent loyalist Charlotte Corday.  The letter he holds in his hands is the fake letter of introduction with which she fraudulently entered his home.  The work captures David’s grief and anguish over his friends death.

Oath of the Horatii by Jacques Louis David

Oath of the Horatii by Jacques Louis David

In this next painting ‘The Oath of the Horatii’, David uses Classical figures with noble features to fire the viewer with patriotism.  Here we see David’s trademark, the open hand, – a symbol of supressed truth.  This particular painting uses the kinetic image of a wheel: the sort of shapes used in the Golden Means.  The spokes represent unity in the brothers: power in unity.  The upright solidarity of the brothers is contrasted with the soft fluidity of the women who cling together in a dejected mound.  They are painted in washed out shades.  The theatrical feel of the Roman, as opposed to the Doric pillars, symbolise a ‘back to basics’ attitude to morality.  David has faithfully copied the Roman toga’s, helmets and swords of the men, even their Roman noses!  Every gesture confirms total commitment to the solemn oath.  David is vey much aware that through a work of art, men can become conscious of moral responsibility, and he does not hesitate to make use of it.

More about Jacques Louis David HERE

Taken from an original essay by myself

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There’s Nothing Romantic about Romanticism…or is there? part 2

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY with tags , , , , , on June 21, 2009 by echostains

Continuing from part one

In Delacroix’s ‘Liberty Leading the People‘ 1830, we see an emotional approach.  One of the main differences between Classicism and Romanticism is that Romanticism shows a way of feeling and Classicism is a way of thought.

Liberty leading the people delacroix

Liberty leading the people delacroix

This painting is was used as part of a propaganda campaign regarding the Revolution.  I think that it is in some ways similiar to Jacques Louis David’s ‘Oath of the Horatii’, as it calls the country’s people to arms.  But the main difference between the way that the artist’s do this lies in David’s use of patriotism, duty and allegiance and the more emotional cry of hope and freedom from Delacroix: the possibility of overcoming injustice.

Oath_of_the_Horatii Jaques Louis David

 

 

 

Oath_of_the_Horatii Jaques Louis David

By the use of emotional messages in his paintings, Delacroix manages to unify the peasants with hope and stirs within them, the longing for freedom.

The-Sheepfold,-Moonlight,-1856-60 Millet

The-Sheepfold,-Moonlight,-1856-60 Millet

Jean Francois Millet, son of a peasant farmer (1814 – 1875) painted rustic scenes, endowing with majesty the often overlooked aspects of nature.  He never achieved popularity in his own lifetime.  He had a revulsion for frivolity and ‘told it like it was’.  Unfortunately for him, the public preferred the artiface of nature, not the nitty gritty: the wheelbarrows, peasants tending their flocks or field workers.  Millet’s emotional response seems to have come from his environment.  The abandoned plough in ‘Sheep Fold’ indicates the frustration that man feels when the seasons conspire against him, and also symbolises the life and death cycle that we are all part of.

Continued tomorrow

Millet galllery