Dictionary of Art and Artists



 

 


History of

Architecture and Sculpture

 
 

 

 
 

 
 

CONTENTS:

 
 

PART ONE
THE ANCIENT WORLD
PREHISTORIC ART
EGYPTIAN ART

ANCIENT NEAR EASTERN ART
AEGEAN ART
GREEK ART
ETRUSCAN ART
ROMAN ART
EARLY CHRISTIAN AND BYZANTINE ART

PART TWO
THE MIDDLE AGES
EARLY MEDIEVAL ART
ROMANESQUE ART
GOTHIC ART

PART THREE
THE RENAISSANCE THROUGH THE ROCOCO
LATE GOTHIC
THE EARLY RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
THE HIGH RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
MANNERISM AND OTHER TRENDS
THE RENAISSANCE IN THE NORTH
THE BAROQUE IN ITALY AND SPAIN
THE BAROQUE IN FLANDERS AND HOLLAND
THE BAROQUE
THE ROCOCO

PART FOUR
THE MODERN WORLD
NEOCLASSICISM AND ROMANTICISM
REALISM AND IMPRESSIONISM
POST-IMPRESSIONISM, SYMBOLISM, AND ART NOUVEAU

PART FIVE
TWENTIETH-CENTURY
TWENTIETH-CENTURY SCULPTURE
TWENTIETH-CENTURY ARCHITECTURE


INDEX
FIGURES
 

 
 

 
 

CHAPTER ONE
 

NEOCLASSICISM AND ROMANTICISM
 

NEOCLASSICISM
PAINTING
SCULPTURE and ARCHITECTURE- Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

THE ROMANTIC MOVEMENT
PAINTING
SCULPTURE and ARCHITECTURE - Part1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20

PHOTOGRAPHY
 

 


SCULPTURE and ARCHITECTURE
 

SCULPTURE

The history of Neoclassical sculpture does not simply follow that of painting. The phenomenon of Neoclassicism, which in painting is sometimes hard to distinguish from Romanticism, stands out far more clearly in sculpture. Unlike painters. Neoclassical sculptors were overwhelmed by the authority accorded since Winckelmann to ancient statues such as the Apollo Belvedere (see fig. 209), praised as being supreme manifestations of the Greek genius, although in fact most of them were mechanical Roman copies of no great distinction after Hellenistic pieces. (Goethe, upon seeing the newly discovered late Archaic sculpture from Aegina, pronounced it clumsy and inferior; see figs. 163 and 164.)

When Winckelmann published his essay advocating the imitation of Greek works, enthusiasm for the virtues of classical antiquity was already well established among the intellectuals of the Enlightenment. In Rome from 1760 on, the restoring of ancient sculpture and its sale, especially to wealthy visitors from abroad, was a flourishing business. To these patrons, "classics" such as the Apollo Belvedere or The Laocoon Group (fig. 217), to cite only two of the most famous, belonged to a different world. They were venerated as embodiments of an aesthetic ideal, undisturbed by the demands of time and place. To enter this world, the modern sculptor set himself the goal of creating "modern classics," that is, sculpture demanding to be judged on a basis of equality with its ancient predecessors. This was not merely a matter of style and subject matter. It meant that the sculptor had to find a way of creating monumental sculpture in the hope that critical acclaim would establish such works as modern classics and attract buyers. The solution to this problem was the original plaster, which permitted him to present major works to the public without a ruinous investment in expensive materials. We first encounter it at the Salons, the exhibitions sponsored by the French Academy, where success was crucial for young artists. Without the original plaster, the Neoclassic revolution in sculpture would have been impossible to accomplish.

If Paris was the artistic capital of the Western world, Rome during the second half of the eighteenth century became the birthplace and spiritual home of Neoclassicism. However, as we have seen, the new style was pioneered by the resident foreigners from north of the Alps, rather than Italians. That Rome should have been an even stronger magnet for sculptors than for painters is hardly surprising. After all, it was in ancient sculpture that the "noble simplicity and calm grandeur" praised by Winckelmann were most strikingly evident, and Rome offered an abundance of sculptural monuments but only a meager choice of ancient painting. (The city also had many skilled artisans in both marble and bronze.) In the shadow of these monuments, Northern sculptors trained in the Baroque tradition awakened to a new conception of what sculpture ought to be and thus paved the way for Antonio Canova, whose success as the creator of modern classics was the ultimate fulfillment of their aspirations.



England

The leading role of Anglo-Roman artists prior to 1780 in the formulation of Neoclassicism was a result of England's enthusiasm for classical antiquity since the early years of the century. This precocious appreciation was political, philosophic, and literary, with a new nationalism as its common denominator, but this soon turned into a demand that England become "the principal seat of the arts" as well.




Thomas
Banks.

Thomas Banks
(1735-1805) came closest to establishing the creation of modern classics as the sculptor's true goal. Little is known of Banks' career before he went to Rome in 1772 for seven years on a traveling fellowship from the Royal Academy. The Death of Germanicus (fig. 865) of 1774, a large relief, shows his close study of classical sources, yet it is not in the least archaeological in flavor. While the facial types and drapery treatment derive from classical sources, the strained poses, the pronounced linear rhythms, and the emotional intensity of the scene have no counterpart in ancient sculpture.

They reflect, rather. Banks' admiration for the two chief Anglo-Roman painters, Gavin Hamilton (who had treated the same subject, but with much less originality) and Henry Fuseli.

On his return to England, Banks found little demand for his "new classics." although they were enthusiastically received by the recently established Royal Academy. Devoted to the nude and to heroic drama, he nevertheless sought commissions for funerary monuments, which were the main source of steady employment for sculptors in England.



865. Thomas Banks. The Death of Germanicus. 1774.
Marble. Holkham Hall, Norfolk, England

 

 


Thomas Banks


(bapt London, 22 Dec 1735; d London, 2 Feb 1805). English sculptor. To his contemporaries and immediate heirs, Banks was one of the most original British Neo-classical sculptors, distinguished from John Bacon (i) and Joseph Nollekens by his greater dedication to the antique spirit rather than to the fashionable classical style alone. His persistent efforts to establish a market for modern gallery sculpture were exceptional in an age when most patrons preferred restored antique marbles, replicas, pastiches, busts and memorials. Sir Joshua Reynolds is said to have considered him to be ‘the first British sculptor who had produced works of classic grace’ and John Flaxman ranked him alongside Canova in stature.
 

 




Thomas Banks. The Falling Giant, 1786




Thomas Banks. Thetis dipping Achilles into the River Styx, 1790




Thomas Banks. Monument to Captain Richard Rundle Burges
1802
Marble
St. Paul's Cathedral, London





Thomas Banks. Thetis Rising from the Sea. Marble bas-relief, 1778. From the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
 

 
 

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