A movement beginning in the 18th century, Neoclassicism was characterized by a movement towards order and rationality among the arts. As its name suggests, there was a revival of Classical Greek and Roman culture, reflected most notably in architecture. The Neoclassical period coincided with the Enlightenment, and reflects its confidence in reason, among other ideas. In music, the neoclassical style can be seen in the stricter adherence to various forms, such as the sonata. It also displays a somewhat light and serene character, in comparison with the more emotional character of the Romantic era. Architecture displayed a certain cleanness, with much reference to Classical Greece and Rome. The greatest example of Neoclassical architecture today can be seen in the Capitol of the United States, where Grecian and Roman elements such as columns are seen in abundance. The other art forms showcased theses tendencies as well. These tendencies may in turn be products of the scientific discoveries and theories of the time, revealing a very orderly universe. Isaac Newton’s discoveries in the realm of physics suggested that all objects move predictably, including the heavenly bodies. The idea of the universe as a very rational thing no doubt contributed to the emphasis on reason and order seen in Neoclassicism. A style that emphasized conformity and simplicity under the guidance of human rationality, Neoclassicism was an important phase whose influence can be seen today.


2 thoughts on “Neoclassicism

  1. Please allow me to add the importance of the Aristotle’s “Poetics”, that is, the importance of Order and “act of imitation of perfection”. It is really worth looking at all those 19th century portraits and their realism with a touch of idealization. Neoclassicism believed that there is no perfection in nature-it is the artist’s duty to do this! Thank you for the beautiful article.

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  2. Pingback: Romanticism | supererling

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