Neoclassicism and the Enlightenment

548 Words Jan 30th, 2018 2 Pages
Bolstered by exponential advances in scientific discovery, the six principles of classicism likewise saw a revival in seventeenth and eighteenth century neoclassical art. Perhaps no other artist better epitomizes the neoclassical movement than French revolutionary Jacques-Louis David. David “eschewed the constraints of the Académie” (Mahabir) in pursuit of his ideals, and “appropriated [those] of ancient Greece and Rome for [his] own era” (Sporre 424). Perhaps his most important painting, The Oath of the Horatii was created in accordance with classical principles. Forgoing rococo decadence, “David organizes the canvas with a geometric precision that recalls the innovation of the ancient Greeks and of the Italian Renaissance that harked back to the rationalism of antiquity” (“David's Oath of the Horatii”). Elements in the piece are neatly arranged and ordered. The space is divided into three distinct parts. Strong geometrical shapes, rational space, a mainly subdued palette, and the lack of discernible brush strokes display order. The work is organized, with its austere simplicity and direct message presented in a methodical composition. With sculptural modeling and strong poses, the idealized figures are “solid, active, and full of presence” (Mahabir). The men, in particular, are youthful, virile, and…

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