Neoclassicism: characteristics, origin, context and authors –

It is known as neoclassicism or new classicism, an artistic movement that originated during the eighteenth century in Europe. It was born as a reaction to the great abundance of forms and sensual superficiality that at that time included the rococo and also the baroque, which were predominant since the 17th century. Sounds interesting, right? We encourage you to learn more about the Neoclassicism: characteristics, origin, context and authors with this post. Keep reading.

Among the most important aspects of this movement is the recovery of the artistic values ​​present in the ancient classical Greco-RomanIn other words, one of its main purposes was to continue with everything that classicism had proposed since its inception.

However, neoclassicism does not focus only on restoring what was originally classicism, but goes further, since it is a movement that flourished when the French illustration shone in all its splendor, so neoclassicism I longed for values ​​such as seriousness, simplicity and rationality could be reflected, since at that time they were quite their own and in turn, they were exalted during the time of Ancient Greece.

Keeping that same point of view, this european origin movement It can be defined as an art form that is more inclined towards the part of illustration and also, of what is known as the Age of Enlightenment.
Just as it happened with classicism, neoclassicism greatly influenced the different forms of art, such as painting, literature, music and architecture.

Historical context of Neoclassicism

There are at least three historical contexts of great importance within this artistic movement, these were:

  • The rise of the Enlightenmentalso known as Enlightenment, a philosophical movement that focused on the defense of secularization, reason and, above all, knowledge, not only as an objective but also as a means with which they sought to break dogmatism and at the same time promote progress. It appeared in The Encyclopedia, whose artists were D’Alembert and Diderot. The first time it was published was between 1751 and 1772.
  • Findings such as the one from the ruins of Herculaneum in 1738 and the one from Pompeii 10 years later, fueled a new interest in the study of everything related to the Greco-Latin culture.
  • The industrial and french revolutionknown as “double revolution”, were key within the historical context of neoclassicism, since the industrial revolution changed the forms of production, as well as social organization, while the French revolution not only proclaimed freedom but also equality and fraternity.

Learn more about Illustration:

Origin of Neoclassicism

As we mentioned in the first part, neoclassicism makes itself known in the course of the eighteenth centurywhich translated into return of ancient Greco-Roman culture. Although this movement lost prominence due to the emergence of other artistic styles, such as realism and romanticism, neoclassicism was able to survive through academicism.

Neoclassicism was born in Rome around 1750, a place where a large number of artists of different nationalities met and who, upon witnessing this movement, were totally surprised by discoveries such as Herculiano and Pompeii. Engravings and publications belonging to neoclassicism emerged rapidly, so much so that many artists replicated the different models of this ancient movement.

Learn about the French Revolution:

Characteristics of Neoclassicism

Among the most important characteristics of this movement we can mention the following:

  • Neoclassicism completely revalued the vast majority of art forms that existed in classical antiquity. As the main source of inspiration, some important archaeological remains were taken that were being studied in Rome and also in the cities of Pompeii and Herculiano, located in the southern part of Italy. With the discovery of these ruins, details about the daily life of the Romans at that time were collected, such as decoration, furniture, customs and also their houses, which were completely unknown at that time.
  • Everything related to artistic training, taught through guilds and teachers, was replaced by innovative art and architecture academies. These institutions not only became official, but were also what marked the taste of that century. Among the notable ones are the French School in Rome, the Royal Academy in England and the Accademia di San Luca located in Naples.
  • The training of the artists was based mainly on life drawing, composition and study of ancient Roman and Greek sculpture, as well as other series of disciplines. For an artist to be successful he needed the prior approval of the academy.
  • Johann Joachim Winckelmann He was one of the most prestigious characters within this movement.
  • used reason as a guide for their productions, in other words, setting aside the spiritual, subjective and religious.
  • All the artists who were part of this movement had the objective that their works represent eternal and universal values.
  • Neoclassicist artists were able to become independent from all the demands made by the church and the monarchies, which were the largest institutions of that time.

Look how curious:

Authors of Neoclassicism

The most important and influential artists of neoclassicism They were the following ones:

  • Jacques-Louis David: a painter of French origin known as one of the most important in neoclassicist painting. He was also Napoleon Bonaparte’s painter and had an important participation in the French Revolution.
  • Francesco Militia: he was an architect born in Italy, he was the promoter and faithful defender of this movement.
  • Antonio Canova: famous painter and sculptor of Italian origin, known for his impeccable sculptures in white marble, he was awarded the title of Best Sculptor in Europe. He was protected by Napoleon Bonaparte himself.
  • Voltaire: Known for being one of the greatest referents of the Enlightenment. Born in France, this philosopher, writer, lawyer and historian was elected a member of the French Academy in 1746.
  • Denis Diderot: Without a doubt, she was one of the key artists of the Enlightenment. Among her most relevant work is: the Encyclopedia, published in 1751.

It may interest you:

Image gallery Neoclassicism: characteristics, origin, context and authors