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					Art of the Enlightenment
       and Neoclassical Art

William V. Ganis, PhD – constructed PowerPoint frame work.
Notes from Gardner's Art Through the Ages 12th and 13th editions.

The Enlightenment expanded the boundaries of European knowledge.

It offered a new way of thinking critically about the world and about humankind.

The Enlightenment employed reason and empirical evidence, and
promoted the scientific method.

The Doctrine of Empiricism:

 The Doctrine of Empiricism, promoted by John Locke, argued that the mind is
 a blank tablet upon which our experience of the material world, acquired
through the senses, is imprinted. Ideas are formed on the basis of this

 Locke also believed that the law of Nature grants people the natural rights of
life, liberty, and property, and that the purpose of government is to protect these
The Doctrine of Progress:

 The philosophies in France identified individuals and societies-at-large as part of
physical nature and argued that through the application of reason and common
sense the problems of society could be remedied. They believed that knowledge
was the basis of freedom and that through knowledge societies could be
systematically improved.

A compendium of knowledge:

 The comprehensive compilation of articles and illustrations (historical, scientific,
technical, religious and moral) by over one hundred contributors in the Encyclopédie
provided access to all available knowledge and political theory. Editor, Denis
Diderot, greatly influenced the Enlightenment's rationalistic and materialistic

Diderot's contemporary, Comte de Buffon's Natural History provided a kind of
encyclopedia of the natural sciences.

Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus established a system of plant classification.
Revolutionary change:

The political, economic, and social consequences of this increase in knowledge
and the doctine of progress were explosive. It is no coincidence that the French
Revolution, the American Revolution, and the Industrial Revolution in England all
occurred during this period.

 Advances in manufacturing technology, together with advances in heating,
lighting, and transportation, produced the Industrial Revolution, which also led to
an expansion in the growth of cities and of an urban working class. The increase
in the demand for cheap labor and raw materials also promoted territorial
expansion and colonial exploitation.

 This enthusiasm for growth gave birth to the doctrine of Manifest Destiny the
ideological justification for the continued territorial expansion.

 While Voltaire thought the salvation of humanity was in science's advancement
and in society's rational improvement, Jean-Jacques Rousseau believed that the
arts, sciences, society, and civilization in general had corrupted "natural man" and
that humanity's only salvation was to return to its original condition. The eighteenth
century developed a taste for depictions by artists of "natural" landscapes.
Growing travel opportunities, including the "Grand Tour," also increased interest in
the depiction of particular places and geographic settings.

The taste for the "natural" in France:

Rousseau placed feelings above reason as the most "natural" of human
expressions and called for the cultivation of sincere, sympathetic, and tender
emotions. Because of this belief, he exalted as a model for imitation the unsullied
emotions and the simple, honest, uncorrupt "natural" life of the peasant
 The new state and direction of society gave rise
to "modern" art, which, with a new awareness of
history, responded to and addressed these
William Hunter
Child in Womb
from Anatomy of the
Human Gravid Uterus
Joseph Wright of Derby
A Philosopher Giving a Lecture at the Orrery
ca. 1763-1765
oil on canvas
4 ft. 10 in. x 6 ft. 8 in.
Wright's celebration of the inventions of the Industrial Revolution
was in tune with the Enlightenment doctrine of progress. In this
dramatically lit scene, the wonders of science mesmerize all that
are present
Joseph Wright of Derby
Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump
oil on canvas
6 x 8 ft.
Abraham Darby III and Thomas E. Pritchard
Iron Bridge at Coalbrookdale
Coalbrookdale, England
The first use of iron in bridge design was in this bridge over the Severn River.
The Industrial Revolution brought engineering advances and new materials
that revolutionized architectural construction.

Abraham Darby III and Thomas F. Pritchard designed and built the
first cast-iron bridge. The bridge's exposed cast-iron structure
prefigures the skeletal use of iron and steel in the nineteenth century.
Jean-Baptiste Greuze
The Village Bride
oil on canvas
3 ft. x 3 ft. 10 1/2 in.
Greuze was a master of sentimental narrative, which appealed to a new
audience that admired "natural" virtue. Here, in an unadorned room, a father
blesses his daughter and her husband to be.

The Sentimentality of Rural Romance: The expression of sentiment is apparent
in Jean-Baptiste Greuze's much-admired painting of The Village Bride, which
shows a peasant family in a rustic interior.
Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin
Grace at Table
oil on canvas
1 ft. 7 in. x 1 ft. 3 in.
Chardin embraced naturalism and celebrated the simple goodness of ordinary
people, especially mothers and children, who lived in a world far from the
frivolous Rococo salons of Paris.

Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin's Grace at Table, which shows an unpretentious urban,
middle-class mother and two daughters at table giving thanks to God before a meal,
satisfied a taste for paintings that taught moral lessons and upheld middle-class values
Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin
The Soap Bubble
ca. 1739
oil on canvas
61 x 63 cm
Élisabeth Louise Vigée-Lebrun
oil on canvas
8 ft. 4 in. x 6 ft. 9 in.
Vigée-Lebrun was one of the few women admitted to France's Royal
Academy of Painting and Sculpture. In this self-portrait, she depicted
herself confidently painting the likeness of Queen Marie Antoinette.
Adélaide Labille-Guiard
Self-Portrait with Two Pupils
oil on canvas
6 ft. 11 in. x 4 ft. 11 1/2 in.
William Hogarth
Breakfast Scene from Marriage à la Mode
ca. 1745
oil on canvas
2 ft. 4 in. x 3 ft.
Hogarth won fame for his paintings and prints satirizing 18th century
English life with comic zest. This is one of a series of six paintings in which
he chronicled the marital immoralities of the moneyed class.

Visualizing Morality through Satire: William Hogarth expresses the taste of the
newly prosperous and confident middle class in England in his moralizing satires
of contemporary life. In his carefully detailed painting of the Breakfast Scene from
Marriage à la Mode, Hogarth comments on the social evil of the arranged marriage
Thomas Gainsborough
Mrs. Richard Brinsley Sheridan
oil on canvas
7 ft. 2 5/8 in. x 5 ft. 5/8 in.
In this life-size portrait, Gainsborough sought to match the natural beauty of Mrs.
Sheridan with that of the landscape. The rustic setting, soft-hued light, and feathery
brushwork recall Rococo painting.

Thomas Gainsborough's portrait, painted in a soft-hued light and with feathery
brushwork, shows Mrs. Richard Brinsley Sheridan dressed informally and seated
in a rustic natural landscape of unspoiled beauty. Gainsborough's painting is also
an example of "Grand Manner portraiture," in which the sitter is elevated and the
refinement and elegance of her class is communicated through the large scale of the
figure relative to the canvas, the controlled pose, the "arcadian" landscape setting,
and the low horizon line.
Sir Joshua Reynolds
Lady Sarah Bunbury
Sacrificing to the Graces
oil on canvas
7 ft. 10 in. x 5 ft.
Sir Joshua Reynolds
Lord Heathfield
oil on canvas
4 ft. 8 in. x 3 ft. 9 in.
 In this Grand Manner portrait, Reynolds depicted the English commander
who defended Gibraltar. Typical of the genre Heathfield is large in relation to
the canvas size and stands in a dramatic pose.

Sir Joshua Reynolds's painting shows an honest English officer who was
honored for his heroic defense of Gibraltar with the title Baron Heathfield of
Charles Wilson Peale
George Washington
ca. 1779-81
oil on canvas
95 x 61 3/4 in.
Benjamin West
The Death of General Wolfe
oil on canvas
approximately 5 x 7 ft.
 West's great Innovation was to blend contemporary subject matter and
costumes with the grand tradition of history painting. Here West likened
General Wolfe's death to that of a martyred saint.

 Benjamin West's The Death of General Wolfe shows a contemporary
historical subject with realistic figures in modern costume, but in a
composition arranged in the complex and theatrically ordered manner of the
grand tradition of history painting, which West uses to transform the heroic
battlefield death into a martyrdom charged with religious emotion
John Singleton Copley
Portrait of Paul Revere
ca. 1768-1770
oil on canvas
2 ft. 11 1/8 in. x 2 ft. 4 in.
In contrast to Grand Manner portraiture, Copley's Revere emphasizes
his subject's down-to-earth character differentiating this American work from
its European counterparts.

A sense of directness and faithfulness to visual fact is conveyed in John Singleton
Copley's Portrait of Paul Revere, which shows the figure informally posed in a plain
setting with clear lighting.
dome of the Chapel of Saint Ivo
College of the Sapienza
Rome, Italy
Caneletto was the leading painter of Venetian vedute, which were treasured
souvenirs for the 18th-century travelers visiting Italy on a Grand Tour. He used a
camera obscura for his on-site drawings.

Antonio Canaletto's veduta paintings of Venice were acquired by English tourists as
pictorial souvenirs. He often used a camera obscura to help make his on-site
drawings more true to life.

Models of Enlightenment:

A defining characteristic of the late eighteenth century is a renewed interest in
classical antiquity, which is manifested in painting, sculpture, and architecture, as well
as in fashion and home decor. The geometric harmony of classical art and
architecture embodied Enlightenment ideals, while classical cultures of the Greek and
Roman republics, with their traditions of liberty, civic virtue, morality, and sacrifice,
served as ideal models of enlightened political organization. The excavations of
Herculaneum and Pompeii also stirred public interest in the classical past. The
ancient world also became the focus of scholarly attention, notably in the work of
Johann Joachim Winckelmann, the first modern art historian, who characterized
Greek sculpture as manifesting a "noble simplicity and quiet grandeur" and who drew
attention to distinctions between Greek and Roman art.
Angelica Kauffmann
Mother of the Gracchi
ca. 1785
oil on canvas
3 ft. 4 in. x 4 ft. 2 in.
Kauffman's painting of a virtuous Roman mother who presented her
children to a visitor as her jewels exemplifies the Enlightenment
fascination with classical antiquity and with classical art.

Angelica Kauffmann contributed to the replacement of "natural" pictures
with simple figure types, homely situations, and contemporary settings
with subject matter of an exemplary nature drawn from Greek and
Roman history and literature. Her Cornelia Presenting Her Children as
Her Treasures treats the theme of virtue with the example of Cornelia
presenting her own sons as her jewels.
Jean-Antoine Houdon
approximately life-size
Jean-Antoine Houdon
18 7/8 in. high
Jean-Antoine Houdon
George Washington
6 ft. 2 in. high
Jacques-Louis David
Oath of the Horatii
oil on canvas
approximately 11 x 14 ft.
David was the Neoclassical painter-ideologist of the French Revolution. This huge
canvas celebrating ancient Roman patriotism and sacrifice features statuesque figures
and classical architecture.
Jacques-Louis David
Death of Socrates
oil on canvas
51 x 77 1/4 in.
Jacques-Louis David
The Death of Marat
oil on canvas
approximately 5 ft. 3 in. x 4 ft. 1 in.
 David depicted the revolutionary Marat as a tragic martyr, stabbed to death
in his bath. Although the painting displays severe Neoclassical spareness,
its convincing realism conveys pain and outrage.
Jacques-Louis David
The Coronation of Napoleon
oil on canvas
20 ft. 4 1/2 in. x 32 ft. 1 3/4 in.
Houdon portrayed Washington in contemporary garb, but he incorporated
the Roman fasces and Cincinnatus's plow in th estatue, because Washington
had returned to his farm after his war service.
As First Painter of the Empire, David recorded Napoleon at his December 1804
coronation crowning his wife with the pope as witness, thus underscoring the
authority of the state over the church.
Jacques-Louis David
Monsieur Lavoisier and His Wife
oil on canvas
8 ft. 8 1/4 in. x 7 ft. 4 1/8 in.
The Italian Baroque architect Francesco Borromini created a dynamic
counterpoint of concave and convex elements in the façade of San Carlo
alle Quattro Fontane in Rome. The centrally planned interior space molds a
Greek cross design into an oval shape. The undulating walls with projecting
columns support a deeply coffered oval dome with hidden windows around
its base.
Baroque Architecture:

Borromini employed concave and convex forms in the design of the façade of
the Chapel of Saint Ivo. The dome, which is supported by a convex, drumlike
structure, is topped by an ornate, spiralling lantern. The star shape of the
centralized plan rises through the interior elevation from the floor into the dome
to create a single, dynamic, unified, and cohesive space
The most famous classical structure of all time – The Parthenon:

Following the destruction of the original temples by the Persians, the Acropolis of
Athens was rebuilt during the Age of Pericles (c. 500-429 BCE) to celebrate the
accomplishments of Athens.

The centerpiece of Pericles's great building program on the Acropolis was the
Parthenon, or the Temple of Athena Parthenos, erected in the remarkable short
period between 447 and 438 BCE

For the Parthenon, the controlling ratio for the symmetria of the parts may be
expressed algebraically as x=2y + 1
The Pantheon, a huge temple dedicated to all the gods, is one of the best-
preserved buildings of antiquity. The cylindrical drum enclosing the interior space
is topped by a concrete hemispherical dome pierced in the center by an oculus
Jacques-Germain Soufflot
The Panthéon
Paris, France
Soufflot's Pantheon is a testament to the Enlightenment admiration
for Greece and Rome. It combines a portico based on an ancient Roman
temple with a colonnaded dome and a Greek-cross plan.
Pierre Vignon
La Madeleine
Paris, France
Napoleon constructed La Madeleine as a "temple of glory" for his armies.
Based on ancient temples and Neoclassical in style, Vignon's design linked the
Napoleonic and Roman empires.
Roman Temple architecture shows a blending of Etruscan and Greek
features, and emphasizes the front of the building
The Forum of Augustus is in ruins today, but the conservative neoclassical
Augustan style it epitomizes may be seen in an exceptionally well preserved
temple at Nimes in southern France. The classicizing style of the so-called
Maison Carrée was admired by Thomas Jefferson, who used it as the model for
his design of the State Capitol in Richmond, Virginia.
Pierre Vignon
La Madeleine
Paris, France
Antonio Canova
Paulene Borghese as Venus
Canova was Napoleon's favorite sculptor. Here, the artist depicted the
emperor's sister nude – at her request - as the Roman goddess of love in
a marble statue inspired by classical models.
Antonio Canova
Paulene Borghese as Venus
Antonio Canova
Paulene Borghese as Venus
Antonio Canova
Perseus with the Head of Medusa
ca. 1800
Antonio Canova
Cupid and Psyche
5 ft. 1 in. x 5 ft. 8 1/4 in.
Karl Gotthard Langhans
Brandenburg Gate
Berlin, Germany
Richard Boyle and William Kent
Chiswick House
near London, England
begun 1725
For this British villa, Bohyle and Kent emulated the simple symmetry and
unadorned planes of the Palladian architectural style. Chiswick House is a
free variation on the Villa
Influential Architect Venetian Andrea Palladio's Villa Rotonda:

Andrea Palladio's employs a central plan design for the Villa Rotonda near
Vicenza that has four identical façades and projecting porches (each
resembling a Roman temple) arranged around a central dome-covered
rotunda inspired by the Pantheon. The parts of the building are systematically
related to one another in terms of calculated mathematical relationships.
John Wood the Younger
The Royal Crescent
Bath, England
James Stuart
Doric Portico
Hagley Park,
Worcestershire, England
Most Neoclassical architects used Roman buildings in Italy and France as models.
Stuart, who spent four years in Greece, based his Doric portico on a fifth-century
BCE temple in Athens.
Wedgwood and Co.
Vase with Bridal Preparation Scene
black basalt stoneware
18 in. high
Horatio Greenough
George Washington
approximately 11 ft. 4 in. high
In this posthumous portrait, Greenough likened Washington to a god by
depicting him seminude and enthroned in the manner of Phidias's Olympian
statue of Zeus, king of the Greek gods
Ancient Roman wall painting
Robert Adam
Etruscan Room
Osterley Park House
Middlesex, England
begun 1761
Thomas Jefferson
Charlottesville, Virginia
Jefferson led the movement to adopt Neoclassicism as the architectural style
of the United States. Although built of local materials, his Palladian Virginia
home recalls Chiswick House.
Jefferson led the movement to atopt Neoclassicism as the architectural style of the
United States. Although built of local materials, his Palladian Virginia home recalls
Chiswick House.

Modeled on the Pantheon, the Rotunda, like a temple in a Roman forum, sits on an
elevated platform overlooking the colonnaded Lawn of the University of Virginia.
Benjamin Latrobe   Major L’Enfant
Capitol Building   Plan of Washington
Washington, DC     Washington, DC
1803-1807          1791
Thomas Jefferson wanted to adopt a symbolic Neoclassicism as the
national architecture of the United States. He re-designed his own home of
Monticello to emulate Palladio's architecture, with a façade inspired by the
work of Robert Adam. Pierre L'Enfant's plan for the city of Washington,
D.C., is logically ordered. In his design for the Capitol, Benjamin H. Latrobe
said he wanted to re-create "the glories of the Greece of Pericles in the
woods of America.
Benjamin Latrobe
Tobacco Capital
Washington, DC
Benjamin Latrobe
Corncob Capital
Washington, DC
Edmonia Lewis
Forever Free
3 ft. 5 1/4 in. x 11 in. x 7 in.
The Neoclassical style Jefferson championed so successfully for
the architecture of the new democracy was invoked by American
sculptors as well. The following sculpture depicts freed African
American slaves.

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