An Example Of Neoclassicism

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Neoclassicism Art and Architecture is a mid 18th century art movement in the United States and Europe exemplary of the social and intellectual climate of the time. The growing intellectual climate, coupled with the revival of classical ideals, culminated in the artistic climate that brought about the famous Neoclassical works of art and architecture we see today. Thomas Jefferson’s country house Monticello, is a paramount example of Neoclassicism in architecture in the United States, set apart by Jefferson’s own unique take and design.
It is crucial to discuss Neoclassical architecture in the US and Europe in the context of the Enlightenment. The revival of Enlightenment ideals and culture brought about the revival of interest in Classical
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Moreover, these social and political ideals of the Enlightenment directly influenced the social climate that sparked the French Revolution, which Jefferson himself supported and endorsed (2). Neoclassical architecture in Europe and the US is generally characterized by a fondness for blank walls, symmetrical simple structures, and a grand scale contrasted by the dramatic use of columns (3). These preferences directly contrast the excessive, convoluted themes favored by Rococo works (3). Instead, neoclassical architecture preferred an understated sense of grandeur and appreciation for the finished, simple, and classical. That said, in discussing Thomas Jefferson’s Neoclassical architectural design for Monticello it is also important to discuss his influence on Neoclassical architecture known as Jeffersonian architecture. Jefferson as an architect was one of the earliest proponents of Neoclassical architecture in the Unites States (1). Jeffersonian Architecture is defined as the American form of Neoclassicism specific to Jefferson’s personal tastes and influences, most notably his incorporation of octagonal forms (6).
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