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An introduction to the history of rococo and neoclassicism

Germany In Germany also there was a reaction against classicism and the academies, and, as elsewhere, it involved all aspects of the arts. Again, as elsewhere, theory preceded practice: Wackenroder advocated a Christian art closely related to the art of the early German masters and provided the artist with a new role as interpreter of divine inspiration through his own feelings.

The painter Philipp Otto Runge had been reared on 17th-century German mysticism, and he proved susceptible to the ideas of writers such as Wackenroder when introduced to them in Dresden at the very end of the 18th century.

In Dresden he formed a close association with the leading German landscape painter Caspar David Friedrich. Like Friedrich he was fascinated by the potential symbolic and allegorical power of landscape, which he used as a vehicle for religious expression. His vision of nature was pantheistic as was Friedrich'sand in his portraits his aim was to capture the soul of the individual as part of the universal soul of nature.

His interest in the German past, including folklore and fairy tales, was reflectedin a bizarre fairylike quality in much of his work e. Friedrich was a deeply religious man whose vision demanded complete subjection to the spirit of God in nature; in suggesting through landscape the eternal presence of the Creator, he intended to induce in the beholder a state of religious awe.

Other important painters influenced by Friedrich were Ernst Ferdinand Oehme, a landscape painter, and Georg Friedrich Kersting, who captured in his stark interiors something of the master's atmosphere of silent worship.

An introduction to the history of rococo and neoclassicism

However, two other pupils of Friedrich subsequently abandoned tragic landscapes; one, the Norwegian Johan Christian Dahl, reverted to naturalism; the other, Karl Blechen, joined the Romantic realists. Whereas Runge, Friedrich, and their followers interpreted Wackenroder in a highly personal way, others were inspired to communal activity. A number of young painters in Vienna founded in 1809 a group they called the Guild of St.

Their semimonastic existence occasioned the nickname Nazarenes. Only Joseph Anton Koch and Cornelius, who were both older and more experienced, achieved great vigour in their history paintings, combining medievalizing tendencies with the powerful classicism of Carstens see above Neoclassicism: Not long afterward there was a move toward themore dramatic, though no less nostalgic, approach of von Schadow and his pupil Karl Friedrich Lessing.

The Nazarenes' greatest contribution, however,was to landscape painting: As the movement gathered momentum, the possibilities for development expanded, and the Nazarene landscape was valuable to later painters of the Biedermeier period and to painters of naturalistic landscape, Romantic realism, and secular historical subjects.

France The French Revolution greatly stimulated interest in the depiction of contemporary events, although richly documented and highly detailed paintings of topical patriotic events were being painted in London by West and John Singleton Copley even before the Revolution.

Encouraged by David's example, however, painters in Francesought to represent authentically the crucial moments of their own time.

Napoleon I enthusiastically endorsed this awareness of modern heroism and demanded pictorial celebration of the glorious achievements of the empire. David recorded the ceremonies of the imperial court with scrupulous precision.

After the fall of Napoleon few were disposed to depict contemporary subjects. The paintings of Delacroix frequently disrupted the salons ofthe 1820s and '30s with their tumultuous colour and emotive energy. To many young men after 1815, France appeared to settle into a bourgeois respectability that implicitly disparaged the exhilarating years of the republic and the empire. In consequence, the art of the period often seems melancholic and introverted, the discontent expressing itselfin historical and exotic themes or in a passionate concern with the humble and rejected members of society.

Delacroix has justly been acclaimed the leader of the Romantic school in France.

His fertile imagination, embracing a novel range ofliterary and historical themes and fastening with a characteristic sense of the sadness of life on moments of death, defeat, and suffering, together with his prodigious technical resources exemplify Romanticism in its most obvious aspects. His vigorous handling of paint and expert use of colour values for both description and expression were important for the later development of French painting.

Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps, whose small canvases have a delicate, jewellike quality, provided the most refreshing variations on the theme.

  1. Friedrich was a deeply religious man whose vision demanded complete subjection to the spirit of God in nature; in suggesting through landscape the eternal presence of the Creator, he intended to induce in the beholder a state of religious awe.
  2. Whereas Runge, Friedrich, and their followers interpreted Wackenroder in a highly personal way, others were inspired to communal activity.
  3. The quintessential neoclassical painter, david's monumental canvases were perhaps the final triumph of traditional history painting completely rejecting the decorative and painterly effects of the rococo, his canvases created powerful ,. Whereas Runge, Friedrich, and their followers interpreted Wackenroder in a highly personal way, others were inspired to communal activity.
  4. The freedom and freshness of Constable's handling is echoed in Daubigny's flickering treatment of sunset and light over water. Overview of the style and elements of neoclassicism - it was developed as a result of a reaction against the rococo style talented artists in the history of painting, sculptural works, classical music, architecture, and other forms of art alike.
  5. The rise of Neoclassical Art was part of a general revival of interest in classical thought, which was of some importance in the American and French revolutions.

Early in his career Ingres made notable contributions to the historical genre with episodes from medieval French history painted in a style of linear purity that parallels the methods of Flaxman and Blake in Britain and the Nazarenes in Germany. Under the spell of Raphael he returned to the academic fold, but his portraits always retained that trenchant simplicity and lucid insight that make him such a memorable exponent of lyric realism.

The career of Ingres and in a converse sense that of Paul Delaroche well illustratethe imprudence of too readily distinguishing between academic and Romantic artists. At the end of the century, Gustave Moreau and Odilon Redon transformed these features, along with others in Louis Boulanger's work, into whimsical, haunting fantasies that delighted the Symbolist poets. In contrast, his truly excoriating depiction of the weaknesses and vices of the privileged classes, particularly officialdom, often displeased authority, which had long identified Romanticism with liberalism—and with good reason.

A strain of poetic realism in the 1840s, essentially Romantic in approach, gathered sudden momentum with the Revolution and short-lived republic of 1848.

NEOCLASSICAL

A new approach to the familiar and unsophisticated occurs inthe landscape painting of the 1830s and '40s; for, although French Romanticism produced no Turner, it did give rise to the Barbizon school, a group of naturalist painters who were particularly active in the forest of Fontainebleau.

In this period the charm of the spontaneous sketch as opposed to the finished study was recognized: A direct approach to nature and an interest in transitory moments, especially the changing effects of light, were features common to Romantic landscape painters throughout Europe and the United States. Paul Huet, a friend of Delacroix and Bonington and a painter closely associated with the Romantic school, represented dramatic, stormy scenes of solitude; yet, though scarcely a naturalist, he was deeply impressed by the works of Constable, several of which he copied and which inspired him to adopt a broken style of brushwork with dabs of bright pigment.

At the same time, his close attention to detail and painstaking accuracy in the delineation of plants and grasses betray the scientific concern shared by many Romantic artists. The freedom and freshness of Constable's handling is echoed in Daubigny's flickering treatment of sunset and light over water.

The work of Camille Corot, despite the restrained classicism of his style, is similarly enlivened by an instinctive feeling for naturalistic landscape. For, while they laid the foundation for the painterly revolution of the Impressionists, the Barbizon painters always retained the generous appreciation of natural beauty and emotional involvement with their subject that everywhere distinguish the Romantic temperament.