The Late 18th Century and Early 19th Century Is Marked with Revolution and Change

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The late 18th century and early 19th century is marked with revolution and change. This change was not restricted to just the political and economic landscape of that time, instead there was a large cultural response to the revolutionary ideas of the time. These cultural responses can be seen in the art of this time period. We will focus on one major artistic style of the era; and Romanticism. We will also briefly discuss Neoclassicism which preceded Romanticism. We will look at what these styles represented and the historical context which brought them about.

Neoclassicism began in Europe in the late 1700's and lasted until the early 1800's. The movement revived ancient Greek and Roman stylization in European art. Neoclassical art emphasized courage, sacrifice, nationalism, and tradition. Neoclassicism spread throughout Europe, but France and England were the countries that used neoclassical art the most. There are few reasons for the start of neoclassicism. The discovery of ancient artifacts at the ruins of Herculaneum and Pompeii was a big inspiration to neoclassicism. German art historian Johann J. Winckelmann may have also helped develop the movement when he stated that the most important aspects of classical art were "noble simplicity and calm grandeur (Buser)." Neoclassicism was also created to replace the ostentatious rococo art style. Neoclassicism was very important in France. The movement started as a rebellion against the rococo style, which symbolized French aristocracy. After the French Revolution, France became a democracy, putting an end to aristocratic rule. The new leaders of France wished to model the government on the high virtues and moral principles of classical Rome. Therefore, neoclassical artists were commissioned to create paintings and sculptures that depicted inspirational scenes from Roman history. Some famous artists of this stylistic era include David, and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres.

Beginning with the late 18th to the mid...
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