McAndrew 5

This gallery shows art from the Neo-Classical period which ranged from the mid 1700's to the early 1800's. Like the Renaissance, this period focuses on the art from classical civilizations. It also focuses on reason and logic and to some extent, politics, as well as nationalism which was sweeping across Europe. Anton Raphael Mengs and Jacques-Louis David are two artists from the Neo-classic period.

This piece directly corresponds with Renaissance art as St. John the Baptist was a major focus. The idea that people should be portrayed in a realistic form also appeared as St. John has muscles and facial features highlighted and pronounced. There is little emotion in the face which was a characteristic of the original classical art. The fact that he is also nude shows Mengs attempts to follow Renaissance artists. However, the attention to detail in the background is unlike Renaissance art as it is fairly basic. Harmony is also used for St. John remains as the focal point. Mengs was able to capture and replicate the classical art extremely well.
The portraits of Mengs became unique and could be identified. Though in his other pieces he tried to reject Baroque and Rococo style, he used the Rococo pastel colors in his portraits. The skin of the man remains very light and the colors of his clothing do not stand out. However, Mengs was still able to capture the realism and shading and contouring is used to give depth to his face and clothing. Mengs was able to succeed as both a painter and portraitist and in his attempt to revive the Renaissance style.
Although Jacques-Louis David focused on the principles of classicalism, he was also the artist behind the revolution. In this piece, the radical voice of the revolution, Marat, is killed. The portrayal of Marat's dead body is representative of the political theme which dominated this new age. It also shows a hero, well for some, which was another common focus. The balance in the piece is also amazing. There is no perspective, but the focus is solely on Marat and his writing. With this piece, not only does David capture certain aspects of classical art, but also captures the voice of the revolution; as ideas change, so do the actions.
Just as David was the picture of the revolution, he was also the picture for Napoleon. He idealized him and made him strong and valiant; he was the hero at the time. Like other neoclassic pieces, the perspective wasn't that great; the background of this picture has little contrast and is overall flat. However, Napoleon himself couldn't be more precise and perfect. Everything from the outline of the horse to the fluidity of the cape to the detail in the eyes is on point. Again, politics is the main theme as one the leaders is a focal point. David wanted Napoleon to be known and respect. He wanted to make the people believe in him which he did with a flawless approach.
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