Art Movement: Neoclassicism

Art Movement: Neoclassicism - 701gallery

Neoclassicism is an influential art movement that began in Rome in the 1760s and lasted until the 1850s. The movement sought to return to the classical beauty of Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire, largely thanks to the writings of German historian Johann Joachim Winckelmann who argued Ancient art, specifically Ancient Greek art, was superior to Modern art.

Winckelmann believed the Greeks were truly free and that great art was born in a climate of freedom. He also reported on the discoveries of Pompeii and Herculaneum, which led to a greater interest in the classical world and brought on a revival in classical thought.

As a result, there was a return to the study of science, history and mathematics, where philosophers believed that we were able to control our own destinies by learning from and following the laws of nature. This period signified moderation and rational thinking.

Additionally, neoclassical art rose in popularity as a reaction to the overly decorative and gaudy styles of Rococo and Baroque that were infusing society with a vanity culture.

Neoclassicism is characterized by straight lines, clear and distinguished, non-decorative colors and classical subject matter.

Some of the most famous neoclassical artists include Antonio Canova, Jacques-Louis David, Angelica Kauffman and Benjamin West.