Essay on Jaques Louis David

1898 Words8 Pages
1. Introduction Set on a stage of revolution and Enlightenment, the Neo-Classical period presents a broad and interesting topic. Jacques Louis David was the first political painter, and a true revolutionary, but one cannot disengage his art work from the social and political systems of the period. Therefore, this essay will present an overview of the social context and systems of Pre Revolution France, Neoclassicism and how David’s work was influenced by it and how his work influenced it. Also important to note are the art work that influenced Neoclassicism. 2. Social and Artistic Climate in the 18th Century 2.1. Neoclassicism Neoclassicism refers to the style of painting, sculpture, decorative arts and architecture used from…show more content…
(Mettais: 152-156) The second noted influence on the New Classical period was the excavations of Herculaneum and Pompeii and the paintings, sculptures and jewellery that were brought forth from these sites. These mines of wealth motivated an interest in Greco-Roman art, which is the mark of Neoclassicism. Within the recovered works, people saw a physical perfection and moral health which was a dominant theme of the Enlightenment. New perceptions of society based in the Athesian commonwealth and the Roman republic was beginning to form, and later these themes became symbols of freedom and democracy (the basis of Romanticism). The artistic assumption of the time was the idea that, one must raise beauty over morality and that beauty lies in shape and contour, not in colour, which only assisted beauty. This principle simplified the Neo-Classical forms. (Praz: 70, 71) 2.2. The Academy The first academy was started by Leonardo da Vinci in 1498. It was designed as a gathering of people to discuss art and science. This evolved to the instruction of these subjects by means of an apprenticeship system; masters teaching students. Later, the Academy adopted a policy of exclusion to non members, offering only students the opportunities to be given commissions, exhibitions and prestige. Also, artists could only gain recognition for their art by the guilds if they had studied at the Academy. During the seventeenth century, the French
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