Renaissance and Classicism

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  • Topic: Renaissance, Ancient Rome, Ancient Greece
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  • Published : June 4, 2011
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“Classicism: Aesthetic attitudes and principles based on culture, art and literature of ancient Greece and Rome, and characterized by emphasis on form, simplicity, proportion, and restrained emotion.”

Classical Idealism


Classical idealism is best understood if one starts at the beginning, with Plato and his notion of paradeigma, which in essence is describing the other worldly, or heavenly place that all beings were originally designed after.[2]

The classical idea was that all beings were made in the image of a perfect God, but because earthly beings are mortals they cannot be perfect. In response to this Plato came up with the term paradeigma, which was actually the place that earthly beings came from.

After all of this was established by Plato he then derives a concept of Ideas, or “eidos.”[3] The Idea was simply how a person would interpret an object or image from nature and make it more perfect by using his mind to depict the perfect image that does not really exists on earth.

The fact that nothing perfect is the true sense can be seen on earth artists who were trying to obtain perfection did so by using proportion, symmetry and many models until they could come up with the perfect form for their sculpture or painting.[4] An example of the Classical idea can be seen in Michelangelo’s depiction of Bacchus, sculpted in 1497.

Classicism Characteristics


The main idea behind the stylistic concept of Classicism is proportion and symmetry in order to produce a perfect form, whether it is in a painting or sculpture. However, it is also important to realize that since the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans, the term Classicism has also become associated with all of the fine arts; drawing, painting, sculpture, music and poetry.

Classicism today encompasses all that is ideal or perfect and the reason for that does date back to the ancients because of their never-ending search for the perfect form. As...
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