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Neoclassicism

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  1. Introduction.
  2. The Neoclassical Movement.
  3. How Neoclassicism Shaped the Interiors of the Day.
  4. Neoclassical Architecture.
  5. Neoclassical Art.
  6. Conclusion.

During the late eighteenth century, significant changes in the arts promulgated the development of, what has since become known, as the period of a neoclassicism. The period has become such an important part of art and architectural history that any examination of these areas must include an overview of neoclassicism and its effect on the interiors of the day. With the realization that the neoclassicist movement had such a profound impact on the development of art and architecture, there is a clear impetus to examine how changes during this time period impacted these specific areas. To this end, this investigation considers the neoclassical period in general and focuses on the specific changes that it brought to the art and architecture of the eighteenth century.The Neoclassical Movement.
Before a clear understanding of how neoclassicism impacted the interiors of the day a clear understanding of how the movement is classified in general terms is first warranted. Saisselin (1991) in his examination of the neoclassical period makes the following observations: ?The term neoclassicism awakens in the mind certain images, and words which correspond to them, virtue, civic and moral values, heroic gestures, quiet grandeur and noble simplicity, as well as certain works of art representing noble Romans and ancient Greeks? (p. 14). Saisselin goes on to argue that ?both the images and words [of neoclassicism] are somehow connected in art histories with the rise of the bourgeoisie, the liberal aristocracy, and the French Revolution?

[...] As such, a work such as David's Death of Socrates is not about the unique style of the Greek era. Instead, the painting is about the universal experience of death and its implications for the integrity of the individual. When placed in this perspective, it is evident that the neoclassical period, which took place in the late eighteenth century was truly unique when compared with the antecedent classical era. While most laymen would argue that the neoclassical era was simply a revitalization of the classical styles of the Greek and Roman dynasties, the reality is that the work produced in the neoclassical period has a complex multilayered meaning that could not have been conceptualized when classical art and architecture were developed. [...]


[...] Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharp. This text considers the evolution of art history and the underlying philosophies that facilitated the development of these movements. In this text the author attempts to capture the true essence of how various changes occurred in each movement. In addition the text considers how one period evolved into the next. Pellas, G. (1963). Art, Artists and Society: Origins of a Modern Dilemma: Painting in England and France 1750-1850. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. In this text, the author provides a broad overview of the impact of society on the development of art. [...]


[...] Other artworks that have become integral to the neoclassical period include The Death of Socrates also by Jacques-Louis David. Describing a basic overview of this work, Eitner (1992) reports that, ?Socrates is shown in prison, surrounded by his disciples. He is about to reach for the cup of hemlock and consoles his grieving friends by speaking to them of the soul's immortality. Plato sits at the foot of the bed, Criton at Socrates' side? (p. 21). Although the basic context of the painting provides a clear understanding of this historical event, Eitner notes that the meaning that is conveyed through the work is of critical importance. [...]

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