Archive for jacques louis david

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

Neo-Classicism, Classicism, Romanticism and Rococo Part one

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, HISTORY with tags , , , , , , on August 5, 2009 by echostains

The art movement  known as Neo Classicism, made it’s appearance in the 1750s.  It was a reaction against Rococo: a lighter and more playful version of Baroque – associated with Louis XV of France.  It emerged in the 1750s and was established by the 1770s.  It was dedicated to static and harmonious revival in the arts.

valpincon_bather by Ingres

valpincon_bather by Ingres

Classicism or Neo-Classicism can also be seen as a state of mind within the arts.  It emphasises an ideal: power or reason over emotion.  It was seen to show restraint, moderation, clarity and respect for tradition which were attributes that were much admired.  It was opposed to the somewhat frivilous, emotional content of Rococo.  It was used to ‘instruct’ and relied on scholarship – so in this sense it was not for the working class.

Classicism and Romanticism are not opposed: one lends itself to the other.  It was hailed as ‘the true style’, – the revival of the arts.  It matured quickly and died quickly: a shortlived artistic phenomenon.  It’s roots sprang from the unrest between the French Crown and the French aristocrats, and the churches the crown wanted to tax.  The country had already seen the peasants revolt against the taxation of bread and grain, which had resulted in the storming of the Bastille (14th July 1789) and Versailles .  But now a revolt between all classes overlapped.

More information about Ingres HERE

Continued tomorrow