The 18th and 19th Centuries


 



(Neoclassicism, Romanticism and Art Styles in 19th century - Art Map)

 




Neoclassicism and Romanticism

 

 




John Flaxman

see also collection:

Homer  "Odyssey"  illustrations by John Flaxman

***

William Chambers

John Nash

Giovanni Antonio Antolini

Leo von Klenze

Karl Rossi





see collection:


Thomas Lawrence


Joseph Wright


Benjamin West


Thomas Rowlandson

(comic images of familiar social types)

 

 
 

 

English Masters

English painting at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century maintained a certain independence regarding the strict canons of Neoclassicism, displaying a characteristic gracefulness and a strong feeling for nature. Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-92). the first president of the Royal Academy of Arts, painted his Parody of the School of Athens in 1751, in which he affirmed that imitation was "a perpetual exercise of the spirit, a continual invention," This was the age of the great English portraitists: Reynolds, Gainsborough (1727-88), and Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830) combined the fascination with nature, light, and life itself with the luminous elegance of the human face. In the early 1790s, the painter and sculptor John Flaxman (1755-1826) published his engraved illustrations for Homer's Iliad and the Odyssey, which immediately became famous throughout Europe. Using his knowledge of Greek vase painting. Flaxman dispensed with the illusion of space and reduced volumes to unshaded outlines, giving his figures a sense of unreality and ghostliness that made them resemble imaginary creatures. At this time, England was undergoing the upheavals of the Industrial Revolution, and many new technical advances were reflected in art. In his Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump, of 1768, Joseph Wright (1734-97), painted a young girl weeping over a bird killed in a scientific experiment. One of the most versatile British artists in the 18th century, Derby-based Wright depicted the scientific and technological advances of the time - often painting his work by candlelight.

 


Joseph Wright
An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump
1768
National Ganery, London.

As the 18th century progressed, contemporary science,
with its instructive language and moral teaching, became a suitable subject for art.

 

 

Thomas Rowlandson

born July 1756, Old Jewry, London, Eng. died April 22, 1827, London

English painter and caricaturist who illustrated the life of 18th-century England and created comic images of familiar social types of his day, such as the antiquarian, the old maid, the blowsy barmaid, and the Grub Street hack. His characters ranged from the ridiculously pretentious, with their elaborate coiffures, widely frogged uniforms, and enormous bosoms and bottoms, to the merely pathetic, whose trailing handkerchiefs expressed their dejected attitudes.
The son of a tradesman, Rowlandson became a student in the Royal Academy. At age 16 he went to study in Paris. After establishing a studio as a portrait painter, he began to draw caricatures to supplement his income, and this soon became his major interest.
His series of drawings “The Schoolmaster's Tour,” accompanied by verses of William Combe, was published in the new Poetical Magazine (1809–11) launched by the art publisher Rudolph Ackermann, who was Rowlandson's chief employer. The same collaboration of designer, author, and publisher resulted in the popular Dr. Syntax series—Tourof Dr. Syntax in Search of the Picturesque (1812), The Second Tour of Dr. Syntax in Search of Consolation (1820), and The Third Tour of Dr. Syntax in Search of a Wife (1821). They also produced The English Dance of Death (1815–16) and The Dance of Life (1816–17). Rowlandson illustrated editions of novels by Tobias Smollett, Oliver Goldsmith, and Laurence Sterne.
Rowlandson's designs were usually executed in outline with a reed pen and delicately washed with colour. They were then etched by the artist on copper and afterward aquatinted—usually by a professional engraver, the impressions being finally coloured by hand. Rowlandson compromised his reputation in his later years by producing a mass of inferior drawings. The works of his prime, however, are outstanding in the vitality of their outline and the gusto of their comment on human weaknesses.
 

***

see also collections:


Thomas

 Rowlandson


 


Thomas Rowlandson
Connoisseur


 


John Flaxman
The Doncaster Cup

 
John Flaxman

(b York, 6 July 1755; d London, 9 Dec 1826).

English sculptor, designer and teacher. He was the most famous English Neo-classical sculptor of the late 18th century and the early 19th. He produced comparatively few statues and portrait busts but devoted himself to monumental sculpture and became noted for the piety and humanity of his church monuments. He also had an international reputation based on his outline illustrations to the works of Homer, Aeschylus and Dante, which led him to be described by Goethe as ‘the idol of all dilettanti’. More recently attention has focused on his models for pottery and silver, and he has emerged as an important pioneer in the development of industrial design.
 


John Flaxman
Vase

 

see also:


Homer  "Odyssey" 


illustrations by


John Flaxman


John Flaxman
The Fury of Athamas

1790-94
Marble
Ickworth, Suffolk


 


John Flaxman
Bust of Henry Philip Hope

 


John Flaxman
Monument to Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson

1808-18
Marble
St. Paul's Cathedral, London


 

 


John Flaxman
Monument to Admiral Earl Howe

 


John Flaxman
Bust of John Hunter

 


John Flaxman
Bust of Alexander Monro

 

 


John Flaxman
Monument to Abraham Balme


 


John Flaxman
Portrait of William Blake

 


John Flaxman
The Apotheosis of Homer


 

 

John Flaxman
Venus Wounded by Diomedes Returns to Mount Olympus
1793

The majority of Flaxman's illustrations of the Greek classics are housed at the
Royal Academy of Arts, London, where he was Professor of Sculpture.
Shown here is a drawing for the Iliad.

 



see also:


Homer  "Odyssey" 


illustrations by


John Flaxman


John Flaxman

Ulysses Following the Car of Nausicaa

 

 

 

North America

In America, the Neoclassical style enjoyed a particularly long life and a rich variety of expressions. Following the Declaration of Independence in 1776, a distinct style, influenced by European models, evolved and became the pride of a young nation. The Virginia State Capitol (1785-96) was designed by Thomas Jefferson and was inspired by the small Maison Carree at Nimes. The model's Corinthian style was replaced by plainer, Ionian ornamentation. The Englishman Benjamin Latrobe (1764-1820), the first fully professional architect to work in the US, decorated his capitals with tobacco leaves, and those of the Capitol in Washington with ears of corn. The American painter Benjamin West (1738-1820) ennobled historical events in his work, with paintings such as Death of General Wolf (1770), which broke with Neoclassical conventions by depicting the figures in contemporary dress, and William Penn's Treaty with the Indians (1771-72). By looking at the development of the Neoclassical style in various countries, it is clear how the premises originally codified by Winckelmann culminated in a sensibility that foreshadowed Romanticism. The reaction to the artificiality of the Rococo movement in favour of a severity of line, colour, and form began to reveal a human complexity that had lain hidden beneath the frivolity of earlier 18th-century high art.

 

 




Josephine Bonaparte's bedroom at Malmaison,
 refurbished by Louis Berthault in 1812.

THE MALMAISON STYLE

Josephine Bonaparte acquired the Chateau de Malmaison on the outskirts of Paris in 1799. After Napoleon was installed as Consul, the Chateau was enlarged and decorated by Percier and Fontaine. It subsequently became the most sophisticated example of interior decoration, a model of style for the famous visitors who attended the receptions and political meetings held there. Warm mahogany interiors housed stucco panels with Pompeiian-style dancers, extravagant drapery, and ornamental army trophies, while the song of exotic birds imported from America. Africa, and Brazil filled the air. The French style could also be seen to luxurious effect in the interiors of the Winter Palace at St Petersburg, those of the Casita at the Escorial in Madrid, and in the private residence at Rosendal of King Charles XIV of Sweden.


The Lantern Room at Rosendal, private residence of Charles XIV.
This palace is recognized as one of the most spectacular examples
of the Empire style in Sweden.
Its sumptuous furnishings were all made by local artists.
 

 




 


THE NEOCLASSICAL CITY


The Baroque concept of the city had favoured the lavish embellishment of individual buildings and features in the urban centres, but held little regard for the city as a whole. In contrast, the Neoclassical approach was more ambitious and idealistic, with architects envisaging the city as a harmonious, visually balanced environment. At the Adelphi in London, James and Robert Adam created a single complex of buildings, a group of austere houses that were almost devoid of decoration. This project was challenged eight years later by the Adams' great rival William Chambers (l723-96), who embarked on the construction of his great public work, Somerset House, with its massive columns and an imposing archway running parallel to the River Thames. John Nash (1752-183S) undertook the remodelling of Regent Street and Regents Park in London, combining freedom and formality to produce a brilliant, harmonious marriage between street and garden. In Paris, Percier and Fontaine, Napoleon's chief architects, celebrated the emperor's victories with the beautiful Arc du Carrousel (1806-08). In Milan, Giovanni Antonio Antolini (1756-1841) designed the Bonaparte Forum (1801), a vast circular piazza with the Sforza castle at its centre, surrounded by mansions with Doric porticos. In Germany, Karl Friedrich Schinkel transformed the appearance of central Berlin and Leo von Klenze (1784—1864) reshaped the centre of Munich. Even Warsaw took on Neoclassical features, thanks to Domenico Merlini (1730-97), as did Copenhagen through the work of Christian Frederick Hansen (1756-1845). From the time of Catherine the Great to that of Alexander I. St Petersburg rose from a small wooden town to an impressive stone city. Giacomo Quarenghi (1744-1817), Karl Rossi (1775-1849), Luigi Rusca (1758-1822), Kazakov (1733-1812), Ivan Starov (1745-1808), Zacharov (1761-1811), and Thomas de Thomon (1754—1813) abandoned traditional Russo-Byzantine forms to transform the city into a grand Neoclassical vision. In the US, Washington, DC, was another capital city that was rebuilt to the new specifications. It was laid out by Pierre-Charles L'Enfant (1754-1825) according to a V-plan based loosely on Versailles, with broad avenues converging on the Capitol and the White House.
 

 

 

 

William Chambers

(b. Gothenburg, Sweden, 1723; d. London, 1796)

Born the son of a Scottish merchant in Gothenburg, Sweden in 1723, William Chambers studied in England. He returned to Sweden at the age of sixteen to join the Swedish East India Company. His subsequent travels through Bengal and China gave him an Oriental perspective on art and design. By 1749 he had saved enough money from his travels to make architecture his only profession.

Chambers studied in Paris and Italy, absorbing ideas current at the French Academy in Rome. Upon his return to England, Chambers became the architectural tutor to the Prince of Wales. This led to a long and fruitful patronage by the royal family. In 1761 Chambers was appointed as one of the Joint Architects of the King's Work and by 1769 he was so indispensable that he was appointed Comptroller of the King's Works. When the office was reorganized in 1782 he became the Surveyor General and the Comptroller.

William Chambers was a confidant of George III and the first Treasurer of the Royal Academy of the Arts, which became public in 1768. He wrote a Treatise on Civil Architecture, and was a patron of John Soane while Soane was a student at the Academy.

Chamber's architecture blended the symmetrical, well-ordered facades of Palladianism with early forms of Neoclassicism. He died in London in 1796.

 

 


William Chambers
Somerset House
1776 to 1786
London, England

 

 


William Chambers
Dundas Mansion

 



 

 

John Nash (1752-1835)

The architect of the Regent's Park terraces. John Nash was nearly lost to English architecture, as after training as an architect under Charles Taylor, he was able to retire on being left a large fortune. Fortunately (for us in retrospect), he lost his money through unwise investments in 1792, and was forced to take up architecture again, commencing his own architectural practice in 1793. He found a great patron in George IV (then the Prince of Wales), who awarded him the design of the long terraces around Regent's Park.

The views from Regent's Park of the Nash terraces, in the sunlight, is a real treat. Cumberland Terrace (1827) is one of the most impressive, with its many columns and pediment filled with sculpture. It was the last in the sequence, which includes Cornwall Terrace (Decimus Burton, under Nash's supervision), Hanover Terrace (more sculpture), Chester Terrace and York Terrace. Behind, not viewable from the Park, are further streets, and beautiful crescents.

He built himself a mansion, East Cowes Castle, on the Isle of Wight, where he died in 1835.

 

 


John Nash
Cumberland Terrace
Regent's Park, London, 1825-27

 

   
 

Giovanni Antonio Antolini

(1756-1841), Italy

Italian Neo-Classical architect, he came from Faenza, and settled in Milan in 1800 after a long stay in Rome. He was much influenced by French Neo-Classicists, as his monumental scheme for the Foro Buonaparte, Milan (1801), shows, but his realized projects are few.

   


Giovanni Antonio Antolini

Le Forum Bonaparte a
Milan
dans un projet
1801

Giovanni Antonio Antolini

Le Forum Bonaparte a Milan, dessin de la facade

 


 

 


Karl Rossi
Arch of the General Staff Building in Palace Square
 

Carlo Rossi

Carlo Rossi was born in Naples and in his childhood he was brought into Russia when his mother, a well-known ballerina, was invited into Russia. From the youth he was connected with the world of arts.
He built a theater on the Arbat Square (destroyed by fire of 1812). He was rewarded with the Order of St. Vladimir of IV degree.Rossi died at St. Petersburg in 1849.
 


Karl Rossi
The Military Gallery of the Winter Palace

painted by Grigory Chernetsov, 1827
 

 


Karl Rossi
The Mikhailovsky Palace, Russian_Museum
 


 


Karl Rossi
The Senate and the Synod buildings
1829-34
St Petersburg

 

 

 

AN ARCHITECTURAL UTOPIA

The two most daring and imaginative architects of the Neoclassical era were Etienne-Louis Boullee (1728-99) and Claude-Nicolas Ledoux (1736— 1806). Both believed in the simplicity of geometric forms — spheres, cubes, cylinders, and pyramids — which, according to Platonic ideals, "live in nature". Although Boullees great treatise on architecture was not published until 1953. his prolific teaching meant that he was possibly more influential than Ledoux. He regarded his work as "the architecture of shadows", but his projects became increasingly fantastic and eccentric - and were often unrealized. His design for a library (1783-85) was a Utopian monument to learning, romantic and dreamlike, while that for a monument to Newton (1784) was a 150-metre (500-feet) high sphere - a cosmic globe that was to "sparkle with light and banish all shadows."
Ledoux took up Boullee's ideas and designed other very imaginative works. Again, many of his projects did not progress beyond the drawing board, such as his plan for the "ideal" cemetery including a giant sphere that would act as a central chapel. From his designs for the "ideal" city, Ledoux planned and partly constructed the industrial centre of Chaux at Arc-et-Senans (1774-79); its saltworks remain one of the most celebrated monuments of industrial architecture.

 

 


Cenotaph to Newton, designed by Etienne-Louis Boullee, 1784
 

Boullee's project was never realized, but the design shows how Neoclassical architecture aspired to a
monumental grandeur that would have far surpassed that of ancient Rome.
Here, the enormous globe - which symbolizes Newton's discoveries - is combined with a Roman mausoleum,
surrounded by cypress trees.

 

   
   


Two house projects by Claude-Nicolas Ledoux for the ideal city of Chaux
 


see also collection:

Homer  "Odyssey"  illustrations by John Flaxman

***

see collection:


Thomas Lawrence

Joseph Wright

Benjamin West

Thomas Rowlandson

 

 

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