Term coined in the 1880s to denote the last stage of the classical tradition in architecture, sculpture, painting and the decorative arts. Neo-classicism was the successor to Rococo in the second half of the 18th century and was itself superseded by various historicist styles in the first half of the 19th century. It formed an integral part of Enlightenment, the in its radical questioning of received notions of human endeavour. It was also deeply involved with the emergence of new historical attitudes towards the past—non-Classical as well as Classical—that were stimulated by an unprecedented range of archaeological discoveries, extending from southern Italy and the eastern Mediterranean to Egypt and the Near East, during the second half of the 18th century. The new awareness of the plurality of historical styles prompted the search for consciously new and contemporary forms of expression. This concept of modernity set Neo-classicism apart from past revivals of antiquity, to which it was, nevertheless, closely related. Almost paradoxically, the quest for a timeless mode of expression (the ‘true style’, as it was then called) involved strongly divergent approaches towards design that were strikingly focused on the Greco-Roman debate. On the one hand, there was a commitment to a radical severity of expression, associated with the Platonic Ideal, as well as to such criteria as the functional and the primitive, which were particularly identified with early Greek art and architecture. On the other hand, there were highly innovative exercises in eclecticism, inspired by late Imperial Rome, as well as subsequent periods of stylistic experiment with Mannerism and the Italian Baroque....
(b Biala, Galicia [now Bialsko-Biala, Poland], Oct 14, 1846; d Budapest, July 11, 1915).
Hungarian architect, painter and interior designer of German descent. He studied in Karlsruhe and Vienna, and in 1868 he went to Budapest where he worked first in the offices of Antal Szkalnitzky and Miklós Ybl. His designs included the sepulchral monument (1871–2) of Count Lajos Batthyány in the Kerepesi cemetery, Budapest, and other monuments and pedestals for statues. In 1894 he entered into partnership with Fülöp Herzog (1860–1925), with whom he designed the neo-classical architectural ensemble of Heroes’ Square, which terminates the 2.5 km long Radial Avenue (Sugár út, now Andrássy út). In the middle stands the Millenary Monument (1894–1900), a semicircular double colonnade with bronze figures of Hungarian sovereigns and a single, tall Corinthian column with sculpture by György Zala, which commemorates the 1000th anniversary of the Magyar conquest. On opposite sides of the square they built the Art Hall (1895–6), a porticoed red-brick structure with multicoloured terracotta decoration, and the ...