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Neoclassicism
• Neoclassicism became the leading art
movement in France during the French
Revolution and subsequently as the style of
choice during the rule of dictator Napoleon
Bonaparte.
• Focused on the concepts of the French
Revolution: “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.”
• Patriotic andd somewhat anti-religious
• Inspired by ancient Greece & Rome and the
Renaissance.
• Rejects the excess and frivolity of Baroque and
Rococo – Neoclassicism is a reaction to these.
• Also became popular in the United States as
they were experiencing their own American
Revolution based on similar principles.
PREVIOUS / CONTEMPORARY ART MOVEMENTS THAT FELL OUT OF FAVOUR…
Baroque Art in France:
Rococo Art in France:
• Mood: playful,
energetic
• Style: light,
graceful, delicate
• Colours: white,
silver, gold, pinks,
greens, blues
• elegant, refined,
rich, upper class
• Mood: emotional,
pompous, ornate
• Style: dark, fancy,
inspired by nature
• religious, royalty,
luxury, gold / silver
Neoclassicism was a reaction to
Baroque & Rococo…
• Art used to convey Patriotism
• Meant to be morally uplifting and
inspirational
• Strict use / copying of classical (Greek
& Roman) architectural features:
columns, domes, arches
Values: order, solemnity
Tone: calm and rational
Subject: Greek & Roman history,
mythology
Techniques: drawing with lines (not
colour), no trace of brushstrokes
25. Jacques-Louis David. Oath of the Horatii. (1784-1785)
• worked for
King Louis
XVI, then
French
Revolution,
then
Napoleon
• studied
classical art
in Rome
• known for
no visible
brushstrokes
• political
message of
unity and
patriotism
Other notable works by Jacques-Louis David…
The First Consul crossed the Alps at the
Col du Grand St. Bernard
The Death of Marat
Intervention of the Sabine Women
The Coronation of Napoleon and Josephine
26. Dominique Ingres.
Napoleon I on His Imperial
Throne. (1806)
• A student of J-L David’s
• Known as a talented portraitist
• Used by Napoleon, along with
David and other artists, to create
artistic propaganda for his rule
• How are elements of ancient Greece
and Rome used here to glorify and
promote Napoleon’s authority? What
is he trying to say?
Other notable works by Dominique Ingres…
Princess de Broglie
Portrait of Bier
Grande Odalisque
27. Antonio Canova. Paolina Borghese
as Venus Victrix. (1805-1808) Marble.
• portrait of Napoleon’s sister, when engaged to
Camillo Borghese of Rome
• Paolina is shown as
Venus, Goddess of
Love – ancient
tradition of showing
contemporary people
as gods/goddesses
• may be idealized
female form or a
realistic portrait
(unknown)
Other examples of NEOCLASSICAL SCULPTURE…
Canova’s Cupid and Psyche
Statue of Liberty
28. Thomas Jefferson. Monticello. (1770-1784)
• American Revolution also happening at this time (similar to France)
• Jefferson brought Neoclassical art / architecture of Paris back to the U.S.
• architecture was returning back to balance and classical ideals – can you identify
some of these features?
Other examples of NEOCLASSICAL ARCHITECTURE…
• Arc de
Triomphe,
Paris (left)
• Brandenburg
Gate, Berlin
(right)
• Pantheon,
Paris (left)
• The White
House,
Washington
D.C. (right)

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