Neoclassicism vs Romanticism

Topics: Ancient Rome, Painting, Age of Enlightenment Pages: 5 (1240 words) Published: June 21, 2013
Neoclassicism & Romanticism


Neoclassicism, 1780s:

Neoclassical pieces generally portrayed Roman history; they elevated Roman heroes. During the 1780s was an Age of Reason and through its history paintings, its works were modes for conveying the Enlightenment ideals. Many of the pieces, like the Oath of the Horatii, are reactions to the revolutions of their time. This piece is a call to arms, which shows that man is great and can be in control. Pieces during the Neoclassical time show a heightened contemplative moment like the one in this piece.

-brought back and depicted Roman history
-formal composition
-the use of diagonals shows the apex of emotion/moment (versus a regular moment) -local color
-overall lighting
-classic geo-structure
-completed canvas

Romanticism, 1800s-1810s:

Unlike Neoclassicism, Romanticism was during the Age of Passion; there was no time for contemplation, so pieces generally showed emotional extremes. Romanticism is a reaction to the classical, contemplative nature of Neoclassical pieces. Romanticism celebrated the elemental forces of nature, depicting nature as out of control. When the uncontrollable nature is compared to life, it makes people think life should be uncontrollable; life should be continuously on the edge.

-shows the height of action
-emotional extremes
-celebrated nature as out of control
-dramatic compositions
-heightened sensation (life and death moments)


Neoclassicism in France:

Adéläide Labille-Guiard, Self-Portrait with Two Pupils, 1785 Jacques Louis-David, Oath of the Horatii, 1784-1785
Angelica Kauffmann, Cornelia Pointing to her Children as Her Treasures, 1785


Antoine-Jean Gros, Napoleon in the Plague House at Jaffa, 1804 Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres, Large Odalisque, 1814

Adéläide Labille-Guiard, Self-Portrait with Two Pupils, 1785, Oil on Canvas

-pastel colors, delicately curving forms, dainty figures and a light-hearted mood -French portrait painting before the French Revolution of 1789, like this piece, may be characterized as a modified form of Rococo; elegant informality continued to be featured, but new themes were introduced, figures tended to be larger and more robust and compositional arrangements were more stable -Labille-Guiard was elected to one of the four places in the French Academy available to women and later successfully petitioned to end the restriction on women -this work is often seen as a propaganda piece that argues for the place of women in the Academy -the monumental image of the artist at her easel was meant to eradicate any rumors that men painted her works and the works of other female artists; for example, in a role reversal, the only male in her work is her muse – her father, whose bust is behind her -the self-portrait flatters the painter’s conventional feminine charms in a manner generally consistent with the Rococo tradition; she has a more monumental female type, in keeping with her conception of women as important contributors to national life, which is an Enlightenment aspiration; the triangular arrangement of the figures adds to this effect -the work also shows a rich palette and fine detail

-the artist’s fashionable dress asserts her femininity; the presence of her pupils and the statue of the Vestal Virgin in the background emphasize the feminist mood (and show that women can and should be teachers) – in ancient Rome, the Vestal virgins were the holy priestesses of Vesta, the goddess of the hearth; their primary task was to maintain the sacred fire of Vesta – the Vestal duty brought great honor and afforded greater privileges to women who served in that role

Jacques Louis-David, Oath of the Horatii, 1784-1785, Oil on Canvas

-royal commission
-reflects the taste and values of Louis XVI who was sympathetic...
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