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Article

Nadia Tscherny

(b Montignac, Dordogne, Dec 16, 1771; d Poland, 1850).

French painter and designer. He came from a family of shopkeepers and tailors and he served in the Republican army during the wars of the Vendée. By 1798 he was a student of Jacques-Louis David, who provided a small apartment in the Louvre where Broc often lived. With a group of David’s students and some writers, Broc formed a dissenting sect called Primitifs, Les, Barbus (bearded ones), Méditateurs or Penseurs. Broc was typical of the Primitifs in finding inspiration in Greek vase painting and Italian 15th-century art.

The School of Apelles (1800; Paris, Louvre) was Broc’s first Salon entry and the first exhibited work by a member of the Primitifs. The picture represents Apelles speaking to his students about his unfinished allegory of Calumny. The composition derives from Raphael’s School of Athens (Rome, Vatican, Stanza Segnatura), and the picture on the easel is based on a drawing of Calumny...

Article

Alan Powers

(b Paris, March 19, 1715; d St Petersburg, March 24, 1759).

French painter, furniture designer, architect and engraver. He studied with Jacques Dumont and won the Grand Prix de Peinture in 1739. He remained for eight years in Rome, where his architectural designs for the temporary centrepiece of the annual Chinea festival (1745, 1746 and 1747) are early examples of Neo-classicism, displaying a simple architectonic use of the orders that indicates his association with Giovanni Battista Piranesi in the circle of students of the Académie de France in Rome, who were highly influential in French architecture from the 1760s onwards. On his return to Paris in 1747, Le Lorrain enjoyed the patronage of the Comte de Caylus, for whom he executed engravings of ancient paintings and revived the technique of encaustic. Through de Caylus he obtained a commission from Count Carl Gustav Tessin to design quadratura representations of columns and niches for the dining-room walls of his country house at Åkerö, Sweden, in ...

Article

John Wilton-Ely

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 Neo-classicism was the successor to Rococo in the second half of the 18th century and was itself superseded by various historicist styles in the first half of the 19th century.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....

Article

Term used for a manifestation of the Neo-classical style initiated in the decorative arts of France during the Second Empire (1852–71) of Napoleon III and his wife, the Empress Eugénie. Based on the standard repertory of Greco-Roman ornament, it combined elements from the Adam, Louis XVI and Egyptian styles with a range of motifs inspired by discoveries at Pompeii, where excavations had begun in 1848; it can be identified by the frequent use of Classical heads and figures, masks, winged griffins, sea-serpents, urns, medallions, arabesques, lotus buds and borders of anthemion, guilloche and Greek fret pattern. Néo-Grec was eclectic, abstracted, polychromatic and sometimes bizarre; it enjoyed popularity as one of the many revival styles of the second half of the 19th century.

In Paris, the Néo-Grec style was best exemplified in the famous ‘Maison Pompéienne’ (1856–8; destr. 1891) designed for Prince Napoléon Bonaparte (see...

Article

József Sisa

(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 ...