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Article

Linda Jansma

(b Vienna, May 3, 1806; d Toronto, Jan 18, 1892).

Canadian painter of French origin. He was the son of René Théodore Berthon (1776–1859), court painter to Napoleon I, who was in Vienna at the time of George Theodore’s birth to paint a portrait of Francis I (Vienna, Hofburg-Schauräume). The elder Berthon had been a student of Jacques-Louis David, and he trained his son in the French Neo-classical style.

George Theodore Berthon moved to England in 1827 and was employed by Sir Robert Peel as a French and drawing tutor to his daughters. From 1835 to 1837 Berthon exhibited several portraits at the Royal Academy, London. He settled in Toronto late in 1844 with a letter of introduction from Peel, which he presented to John Strachan, Anglican Bishop of Toronto. Strachan proved to be an important early patron to Berthon; a portrait of the Bishop (1845; Toronto U., Trinity Coll.) painted by Berthon helped to establish his career in Toronto. Other early paintings include Berthon’s first large-scale portrait, ...

Article

Elisa García Barragán

(b Teziutlán, Puebla, June 10, 1822; d Mexico City, May 28, 1884).

Mexican painter. He studied painting at the Academia de San Carlos, Mexico City, and in 1844 went to the Accademia di S Luca, Rome, where he was taught by the Sicilian Neo-classical painter Natal di Carta. His earliest works were portraits, for example that of the Mexican sculptors Pérez and Valera (1847; Mexico City, Mus. N. A.). He exhibited Columbus before the Catholic Kings (1850; Mexico City, Mus. N. A.) in his studio in Florence, to critical acclaim, and the painting made a great impression in Mexico when he returned there in 1853, also taking with him his most ambitious, and highly academic, easel painting, Christ the Redeemer and the Woman Taken in Adultery (1853; Guadalupe, Mus. Reg.). In his Romantic portrait of Doña Dolores Tosta de Santa Anna (1855; Mexico City, Mus. S. Carlos), wife of the president of the Mexican Republic, Cordero modelled the sitter in a sculptural fashion; the work is remarkable in 19th-century Mexican art in its departure from mild academic aesthetics, notably through its use of strong colour contrasts. In his mural (...

Article

Mónica Martí Cotarelo

(b Alava, Spain, 1810; d Mexico City, 1872).

Spanish architect, painter and teacher, active in Mexico. He graduated as an architect from the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de S Fernando, Madrid, but also worked in painting, sculpture and pastel miniatures. In 1836 he worked in Paris under Henri Labrouste, and in 1838 he went to Mexico City, where he opened a school of drawing. As one of the outstanding architects in Mexico at the time, he was made an académico de mérito of the Academia de S Carlos and its director of architecture. His chief work was the Teatro de Santa Anna (1842–4; later Teatro Nacional; destr. 1901), Mexico City, a Neo-classical building that was for a long time the most costly in the city. The principal façade had a portico with four large Corinthian columns rising through two storeys. He also rebuilt the dome (1845–8) of the side chapel of the church of S Teresa la Antigua, Mexico City. His solution was a Neo-classical dome supported by a double drum, producing interesting light effects in the interior. The windows of the upper drum, concealed by an incomplete vault rising from the lower one, illuminate paintings around the bottom of the dome. Few of his other works have survived....

Article

[Guillon]

(b Sainte-Anne, Guadeloupe, Jan 10, 1760; d Paris, April 21, 1832).

French painter. He was the illegitimate son of a white government official and a freed black slave. Although his real name was Guillon, as the third child of the family he called himself Letiers, Lethiers and finally, from 1799, when recognized by his father, Lethière. While accompanying his father to France in 1774 Lethière entered the studio of Jean-Baptiste Descamps at the Académie in Rouen, where he won a drawing prize for an académie in 1776 (Rouen, Bib. Mun.). In 1777 he went to Paris and enrolled at the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, studying under Gabriel-François Doyen and winning a first-class medal in July 1782. Lacking influential friends and patrons, before the Prix de Rome of 1784 Lethière attempted to attract support by writing to Mme de la Palum (related by marriage to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Charles Gravier, Comte de Vergennes), asking her to intercede in his favour with the Premier Peintre du Roi, Jean-Baptiste Pierre (Paris, Archv. N., A.N. 1. O 1917 2, item 91). In the Prix, Lethière won second prize with the ...

Article

Mónica Martí Cotarelo

(María)

(b Puebla, 1789; d Puebla, 1860).

Mexican architect, sculptor, painter, lithographer, and teacher. He was the leading figure in Puebla in the fields of architecture, sculpture, painting, and drawing during the early 19th century. He was director of the Academia de Dibujo in Puebla from its foundation in 1814 and the first recipient of a scholarship from the academy, which allowed him to go to Paris (1824–1827), where he studied architecture, drawing, and lithography. He also visited museums, factories, and prisons, intending to introduce French developments and systems into Puebla. On his return to Mexico he devoted himself to intense public activity, architectural reform, painting, lithography, and teaching, and experiments in industrialized production. Among his most important sculptural works is the completion (1819) of the ciprés (altarpiece with baldacchino) for Puebla Cathedral, which had been left unfinished on the death of Manuel Tolsá. It combines a high altar, a sepulchral monument, and a sanctuary of the Virgin, and it is one of the most spectacular examples of Mexican neoclassicism. From ...

Article

Elise Madeleine Ciregna

Elise Madeleine Ciregna

Term coined in the 19th century to describe the overwhelmingly dominant style in the fine and decorative arts in Europe and North America during the 18th and 19th centuries. Neo-classicism is not one distinct style, but rather the term can describe any work of architecture or art that either copies or imitates ancient art, or that represents an approach to art that draws inspiration from Classical models from ancient Greece and Rome. The most influential theorist of Neo-classicism was the German art historian Johann Joachim Winckelmann, whose major work, Reflections on the Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks, was translated into English in 1765. The Neo-classical style in North America was most popular from about 1780 to 1850.

Interest in Classical art and architecture has remained more or less constant throughout Western history, peaking most notably during the Renaissance and again in the 18th century. The systematic excavations and ensuing scholarship on the archaeological sites of Herculaneum and Pompeii, buried by the volcanic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in ...

Article

[Eduardo ]

(b Saint-Quentin, Aisne, Dec 30, 1788; d Saint-Quentin, 1875).

French painter and lithographer, active in Mexico. He studied under David and Jean-Baptiste Regnault and established his reputation in Paris as a painter of portraits, genre scenes, and historical subjects. From 1850 to 1855 he lived and worked in Mexico City, exhibiting annually at the Academia de Bellas Artes. Although he produced outstanding portraits, for example of General Mariano Arista (1851; Mexico City, Mus. N. Hist.), his most important works in Mexico were costumbrista genre scenes, of which he produced a considerable number. He presented his figures, which he painted in a Neoclassical style, as representative of different social types in suitable settings, helping to establish the terms for such subject matter evolved by Agustín Arrieta and other 19th-century Mexican artists.

Obregón, G. Tipos y paisajes mexicanos del siglo XIX. Mexico City, 1976: 6–9.Ortíz Macedo, Luis. Edouard Pingret: Un pintor romántico francés que retrató el Mexico del mediar del siglo XIX...

Article

Pamela H. Simpson

Term referring to the romantic character underlying the use of Roman and Greek forms in the art and architecture of the late 18th century and early 19th. First used by Sigfried Giedion in 1922 and later, in an important essay by Fiske Kimball in 1944, the term is most often applied to architecture. Henry-Russell Hitchcock used it extensively as a stylistic term that defined early Neo-classicism in his volume on 19th- and 20th-century architecture. But it also can be applied to painting, sculpture, and the decorative arts. The term recognizes the fundamental idea that the past evokes emotional associations. Even the seemingly rational and austere forms of Roman and Greek art could evoke sentiment.

One concept that helps explain Romantic Classicism is ‘associationism’, a principle that underlay much of the use of historical revival styles in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. When contemplating a building whose forms evoked a bygone era, the viewer made certain connections between the use of the style in the past and its appearance in the present. Thus when Thomas Jefferson chose the Roman temple, the Maison Carrée in Nîmes, as a model for the Virginia State House (...

Article

Nancy Halverson Schless

(b Philadelphia, PA, 1788; d Nashville, TN, April 6, 1854).

American architect, engineer and painter. Among the first generation of native-born architects, he was an influential designer in the Greek Revival style. Over a period of almost 50 years he executed more than 70 commissions, many of them in Philadelphia. His last major building was the Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville, built from 1845.

Through his father, a master carpenter who had worked on Latrobe’s Bank of Pennsylvania, Strickland was apprenticed to Benjamin Henry Latrobe in 1803, remaining in his office for about four years. During his apprenticeship he studied Latrobe’s folios of Greek antiquities, including James Stuart’s and Nicholas Revett’s Antiquities of Athens, 4 vols (1762–1816), as well as publications by the Society of Dilettanti. By 1807 he was in New York with his father, working as a painter of stage scenery. The following year he returned to Philadelphia, where he received his first major commission: a design for the city’s Masonic Hall (...

Article

Ramón Gutiérrez

(b Celaya, Oct 13, 1759; d Celaya, Aug 3, 1833).

Mexican architect, painter, engraver, and sculptor. He studied painting under Miguel Cabrera at the Real Academia de las Nobles Artes de S Carlos in Mexico City but did not graduate. He subsequently took up wood-carving and engraving. He learnt the elements of architecture from the Jesuits, who gave him a copy of the writings of Jacopo Vignola. His architecture exhibits a familiarity with the classic treatises, although he never visited Europe. Tresguerras’s first major work (1780s) was the reconstruction in Neo-classical style of the convent church of S Rosa, Querétaro, originally consecrated in 1752. The dome over the crossing is set on a drum articulated by rusticated columns, which flank a series of round-headed openings. He is also credited with remodelling the interior of the convent church of S Clara, Querétaro, and with constructing the Neptune Fountain (1802–7) in the plaza in front of it. The god stands under a triumphal arch, while water pours through the mouth of a fish at his feet. Tresguerras also completed (...

Article

Kenneth C. Lindsay

(b Kingston, NY, Oct 15, 1775; d Kingston, Sept 24, 1852).

American painter. The grandson of Pieter Vanderlyn (1687–1778), a portrait painter active in the Hudson River Valley, he manifested an early talent for penmanship and drawing. During his late youth he moved to New York, where he worked in a frame shop and studied in Archibald Robertson’s drawing academy. His copy of a portrait by Gilbert Stuart brought him to the attention of that artist, with whom he then worked in Philadelphia.

Under the patronage of the politician Aaron Burr (1756–1836), Vanderlyn went to France in 1796, becoming the first American painter to study in Paris. He gained a reliable Neo-classical technique and aspirations after ‘the Grand Manner’ from his teacher François-André Vincent. Exhibits at the Paris Salons over several years—beginning with the notable Self-portrait of 1800 (New York, Met.)—reflected his growing ambitions. In 1804 he produced a history painting with an American subject, the Murder of Jane McCrea...

Article

Marianne Uggla

[Ulrik]

(b Stockholm, Feb 19, 1751; d Chester, DE, Oct 5, 1811).

Swedish painter, active also in France, Spain and the USA. He was trained in sculpture and painting at the Stockholm Academy and was a student of Joseph-Marie Vien in Paris (1772–5) and Rome (1775–9). In 1781 he settled in Paris, painting Ariadne on the Shore of Naxos (1783; Stockholm, Nmus.), a meticulously executed Neo-classical work. He became a member of the French Academy in 1784 and First Painter to Gustavus III of Sweden. The latter commissioned him in 1784 to paint the massive Marie Antoinette and her two Children Walking in the Trianon Gardens (Stockholm, Nmus.). Wertmüller’s most interesting work, Danaë and the Shower of Gold (1787; Stockholm, Nmus.), a masterpiece of mythological portrayal, is the foremost example of Swedish Neo-classical painting.

A lack of portrait commissions in Paris prompted Wertmüller in 1788 to go and work for wealthy merchants in Bordeaux, Madrid and Cadiz. His career as a portrait painter proceeded successfully; his portraits display an unsentimental and cool, smooth style. In ...

Article

Robert C. Alberts

(b Springfield [now Swarthmore], PA, Oct 10, 1738; d London, March 11, 1820).

American painter and draughtsman, active in England ( see fig. ). He was the first American artist to achieve an international reputation and to influence artistic trends in Europe. He taught three generations of his aspiring countrymen. His son Raphael Lamar West (1769–1850) was a history painter.

He was one of ten children of a rural innkeeper whose Quaker family had moved to Colonial America in 1699 from Long Crendon, Bucks. In romantic legends perpetuated by the artist himself, he is pictured as an untutored Wunderkind. However, it has become clear that West received considerable support from talented and generous benefactors. West’s earliest known portraits, Robert Morris and Jane Morris...