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Home >> Popular Painting Styles >> Neoclassicism


Neoclassicism emphasized rationality and the resurgence of tradition. The towering art of ancient Rome and Greece was revived in the 18th century and this attempt was an opposition to the ostentatious Baroque and Rococo art that preceded the movement

Neoclassicism as an Art Form

Neoclassical artists were meticulous in their adaptation of Classical style and subjects. The drew their themes and models from the work of Homer and Plutarch and John Flaxmann's illustrations for the Illiad and Odyssey. Other classic models included Virgil, Raphael, and Poussin among others. Neoclassical painters painstakingly depicted the costumes, settings, and details of classical subject matter with as much accuracy as possible. As stated before the subject matter was derived from classical history and mythology. Neoclassicism emphasized line quality over color, light, and atmosphere. The most distinguished Neoclassicist works are the paintings of Jacques-Louis David and Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres.

Some important Neoclassicist painters (1929)

Jean-auguste-dominique Ingres

In the latter part of his career Ingres adopted the Neo-classical style of his mentor and his influence, engraver John Flaxmann. He won the Prix de Rome in 1801, and afterwards was a sought-after portrait artist. Ingres' work after 1806 in Italy was a blend of Classical style with Romantic subject matter.

Jacques-Louis David (1937)

Jacques-Louis David was clearly influenced by his mentor Joseph-Marie Viens, in his early paintings. Davidís stint in Italy made his painting style stronger and passionate. It also lent a patriotic air to his paintings. His paintings became increasingly political; he slowly became one of the most important proponents of the Neoclassicism. Davidís political ideals made him join the National Convention during the French Revolution. However this particular decision proved to be quite a rash one because he was almost executed at the demise of his group. His loyal wife came to his rescue and saved him from sure execution. In his later life, David became involved with Napoleon, and when Napoleon was overthrown he was forced to move to Brussels

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