city at night

city at night

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Going Neoclassical

In the last entry from the Cleveland Museum of Art, I wrote that the ornate Baroque and Rococo styles were replaced by Neoclassicism in the late 18th century.  Ancient Greece and Rome had always been an inspiration for artists, but the discovery of the buried Roman cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii in the 1700s gave new insights into Roman interior design.  Its straight lines, symmetry and restraint inspired a new generation of artists, architects and craftsmen.  Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette embraced the new style, but Neoclassicism is most associated with the era of the French Revolution and Napoleon.

In the earlier entry, I mention Jacques-Louis David, the most important of the Neoclassical painters.  One of his pupils was Anne-Louis Girodet Trioson.  His 1810 painting "Aurora and Cephalus" is based on the myth in which the goddess of the dawn falls in love with a shepherd and carries him to the heavens.  The painting shows hints of the Romantic style which would emerge later in the century.



After the death of Jacque-Louis David, the leading painter of the movement was Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres.  His unfinished painting "Antiochus and Stratonice", from 1838, portrays the story of the prince Antiochus who became gravely ill because he was in love with his father's new bride.



This self portrait of Alexandre LePage was done in 1824.  There is no further information given, and when I searched for the artist on the internet, I could find nothing about him.



Here we see a portrait by French painter Louis Horsent done in 1801.  The young woman is wearing the "empire" style dress which was the fashion at the time.  The gilt porcelain vase is from the St. Petersburg Imperial Porcelain Factory in Russia, and it sits upon a French flower stand from around 1800.



Here we see a gilt bronze clock from France from around 1780.  Also from France, a mahogany and oak secretary from around 1800.  A hinged panel lowers to become a writing surface.



A writing desk, vases and a clock from late 18th century France.



A pair of gilt bronze andirons from France from around 1785.



This painting, "The Death of Sophonisba" from around 1810 is attributed to the French artist Pierre Guérin.  Sophonisba was a Carthaginian noblewoman who drank poison rather than become a captive of the conquering Romans.



These painted wooden doors copy ancient Roman design.



In the next entry from the Cleveland Museum of Art we will leave France and see what artists were doing in merry old England.

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