Visual Arts in the Classical Era

The first half of the 1800’s was much different than the later half.

Rococo style dominated the art world until about 1775, then in 1785 there was a clear shift to a new style of painting: Neoclassical style.

Rococo Style

Rococo

“Church in the Meadows” Bavaria – Rococo style

Roco Transcript (PDF)

 

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  • Characteristics are very similar to Rococo Architecture
  • Pastel Colors
  • Curving forms
  • Light subject matter, emphasis on pleasure
  • Fetes galantes  required
  • References to Greek and Roman mythology
  • A reflection of the tastes of the aristocracy

Browse Lisa’s Rococo Art Pinterest board –  required

Rococo Style Artists

The links in this section are optional. They are here for you to explore and to give you potential starting points for your Classical era blog assignment.  

The French Artists

Jean-Antoine Watteau 1684-1721

Portrait of Watteau – 1721 by Rosalba Carriera

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  • Studied with Peter Paul Rubens
  • Ruben’s sensuous style was redefined by Watteau
  • Most noted for his fetes glantes
  • Most popular work –  Pilgrimage  from Cythera  

François Boucher   1703-1770


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  • Favorite painter of Madame de Pompadour, mistress to Louis XV
  • Appointed as director to the French Academy
  • His color choices were described by friends as “rose petals floating in milk’
  • His popular subject was nudes
  • Popular work — Bath of Diana

Jean-Honoré Fragonard 1732-1806


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  • Student of Boucher
  • Rapid brushstrokes, at times completing works in an hour
  • Overtly erotic subject matter
  • Patronized by Madame du Barry — last mistress of Louis XV
  • Most popular works — The Swing and The Meeting

Élisabeth-Louise Vigée-Le Brun 1755-1842


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  • Child prodigy
  • Supported her family by painting from the time she was 15
  • Popular with the aristocracy, including Marie Antoinette
  • Fled France to escape the Reign of Terror
  • Published 3 volumes of memoirs — great insight into the era
  • Popular works — The Artist and Her Daughter

English Artists

Sir Joshua Reynolds 1723-92

  • A leading portrait painter of London society
  • First president of the Royal Academy of London
  • Frequently painted aristocratic ladies in a gracious and refined manner
  • Popular work — Lady Elizabeth Delme and Her Children

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Thomas Gainsborough 1727-88


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  • Portrait and landscape artist
  • More money in portraits
  • Rival of Reynolds
  • Popular work — Blue Boy

William Hogarth 1697-1764

  • Painted series of pictures, like scenes from a play
  • Painted as a social critique — satirizing the decadent aristocracy
  • Made engravings of his paintings and sold black and white prints
  • Popular work — Marriage a la Mode
  • Link to a marvelously informative supplementary video – option:

Neoclassical Style

Neoclassical Style

“Oath of the Horatii” Jacques Louis David 1784

Neoclassical Transcript (PDF)

Traits of Neoclaccism

Neoclassical Traits Transcript (PDF)

  • Moral virtue
  • Patriotic self-sacrifice
  • Goodly deeds
  • Roman Ideals

Subject matter of:

  • Roman stories of virtuous behavior
  • Heroism
  • Tributes to self-sacrifice

Characteristics:

  • Somber
  • Linear

 

Required Video

Neoclassical Style Artists

The links in this section are optional. They are here for you to explore and to give you potential starting points for your Classical era blog assignment.  

French Artists

Jacques Louis David 1748-1825

Jean-Antoine Houdon 1741-1828

  • Created sculptures of some of the most important figures of the Enlightenment
  • His busts were very intimate and natural portrayals
  • His sculptures were all commissions
  • Most Popular work — George Washington

English (International)

Angelica Kauffman 1741-1807

Americans

Benjamin West 1738-1820

  • One of the first American painters to gain an international reputation
  • Abandoned the Neoclassical style of portraying Greek and Roman dress
  • Painted historical and religious subjects
  • Popular work — Death of General Wolfe

John Singleton Copley — 1738-1815

portrait by Gilbert Stuart

  • American born — worked in England
  • History paintings
  • Innovative revisions of earlier paintings
  • Popular work — Watson and the Shark

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