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Article

Antefix  

Nancy A. Winter

[antefixum; pl. antefixes, antefixa]. Plaque closing the outer end of the final cover tile in each row of overlapping cover tiles running down from the ridge to the eaves of a sloped roof on Classical Greek and Roman and on Neo-classical buildings. Its practical functions were to prevent rain from penetrating below the cover tile and seeping through the opening between the adjacent pan tiles beneath, and to prevent wind from dislodging the row of cover tiles. Although functional in origin, the antefix soon also became a decorative element adorned with relief and/or painted decoration. The size and shape of early examples was determined by that of the cover tile, but by c. 550–525 bc the plaque had become larger than its tile in order to accommodate more decoration.

The earliest antefixes, from the first half of the 7th century bc, apparently formed part of undecorated terracotta roofs in the Corinthia of ...

Article

Thomas J. McCormick

(b Paris, baptAug 28, 1721; d Auteuil, Jan 19, 1820).

French architect, archaeologist and painter. He was an important if controversial figure associated with the development of the Neo-classical style of architecture and interior design and its dissemination throughout Europe and the USA. He studied at the Académie Royale d’Architecture, Paris, under Germain Boffrand and won the Grand Prix in 1746. He spent the years 1749 to 1754 at the Académie Française in Rome but left after an argument with the director Charles-Joseph Natoire over his refusal to make his Easter Communion; this may have been due to his Jansenist sympathies. He nevertheless remained in Italy until 1767. During these years he became a close friend of Piranesi, Winckelmann, Cardinal Alessandro Albani and other members of the international circle interested in the Antique.

In his early student days in Rome, Clérisseau became acquainted in particular with English travellers and began to sell them his attractive topographical drawings of Roman architecture. Initially these were influenced by his studies with ...

Article

John Wilton-Ely

Type of delicate, painted Neo-classical decoration, derived mainly from the shapes, motifs and colours of antique vases. It was part of the quest in Europe in the last quarter of the 18th century for a contemporary expression in interior design and the applied arts. The term is applied loosely to various schemes of decoration inspired by Classical sources, involving Renaissance Grotesque ornament, as well as themes inspired by discoveries made at Herculaneum and Pompeii (see Pompeii, §VI) in the 18th century, or frequently a mixture of these sources. This fact serves to underline the complex antecedents of this style, which was originally based on the misidentification of imported Greek vases dug up in southern Italy and thought to have been made by ancient Etruscans (see Etruscan §VIII), a culture promoted in some quarters as having been the original fount for the whole of Classical antiquity. Indeed, the Etruscan style derived little direct artistic influence from that culture as such, except for certain potent historical associations promoted by the controversies concerning cultural debts. Initially represented by ...

Article

(b Hilpoltstein, nr Nuremberg, June 10, 1774; d Ampelakia, Greece, Nov 5, 1817).

German archaeologist and architect. He studied architecture at the Karls-Akademie in Karlsruhe and with David Gilly at the Bauakademie in Berlin. In 1808 he visited Italy. For a short while he worked as a building official in Nuremberg, but only a small number of his designs were executed. In 1810 he travelled to Greece, where he spent the rest of his life on archaeological expeditions and excavations. In April 1811 he was one of an English and German group, which included C. R. Cockerell, that discovered and excavated the Temple of Aphaia at Aigina. Haller von Hallerstein was able to persuade Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria (later King Ludwig I) to acquire the pediment sculptures for Munich (Munich, Glyp.). In August 1811 the same group excavated at Bassai and unearthed the Temple of Apollo, with its now-famous reliefs (London, BM). During his time in Greece, Haller von Hallerstein collated a collection of sketches and notes of great academic value, now held at the University of Strasbourg. As an architect, he is known mainly for his designs (...

Article

David Rodgers

(b Murdieston, Lothian, 1723; d Rome, Jan 4, 1798).

Scottish painter, archaeologist and dealer, active in Italy. He was educated at Glasgow University and in 1748 arrived in Rome to study portrait painting under Agostino Masucci. He lodged with the architects James Stuart and Nicholas Revett; they probably encouraged him to visit Herculaneum and the recently discovered archaeological site of Pompeii, which had a profound effect on his subsequent career. Convinced that ‘the ancients have surpassed the moderns, both in painting and sculpture’, Hamilton undertook a systematic study of Classical antiquities during the 1750s and 1760s. In 1751 he was briefly in Scotland, where he painted a full-length portrait of Elizabeth Gunning, Duchess of Hamilton (Lennoxlove, Lothian), in a conventional style derived from van Dyck. He returned to Rome in 1752 and remained there, with the exception of short visits to England, for the rest of his life. In 1755 he was introduced by Anton Raphael Mengs to Johann Joachim Winckelmann, who was to become one of the leading theorists of Neo-classicism. In the same year Hamilton entertained Robert Adam (i), who studied in Rome from ...

Article

Mark D. Fullerton

(fl Rome, 1st century bc).

Greek sculptor and writer from South Italy. He is generally regarded as the head of a school producing eclectic, neo-classical statuary related to Neo-Attic decorative reliefs. Virtually everything known about Pasiteles is derived from a few literary references. No signatures of his are extant, although a marble statue of a youth (c. 50 bc; Rome, Villa Albani) is signed by Stephanos as his pupil. Pasiteles received Roman citizenship around 89–88 bc, when enfranchisement was extended as a result of the Social War (Pliny XXXIII.lv.156; XXXVI.iv.40). He is mentioned as an expert in the chasing of metal (caelatura), especially elaborately decorated silver vessels (Pliny XXXV.xlv.156; Cicero: On Divination I.xxxvi.79). Despite being both a sculptor and metalworker, Pasiteles is never mentioned by Pliny in his section on sculptors in bronze. Rather, he is specifically identified as a modeller and ivory carver (XXXV.xlv.156; XXXVI.iv.40). He must have worked in marble as well, since his name occurs twice in book XXXVI, where marble sculpture is treated, and his student ...

Article

David Watkin

[Athenian]

(b London, 1713; d London, Feb 2, 1788).

English architect and archaeologist. Stuart, called ‘Athenian’ in his lifetime, achieved an international reputation as the author, with Nicholas Revett, of the Antiquities of Athens, in four volumes (1762–1816), the first accurate record of Classical Greek architecture. Second in importance only to the writings of Winckelmann in promoting enthusiasm throughout 18th-century Europe for the notion of a Greek ideal, it was these measured drawings and topographical views that were used as a basis for the Greek Revival architecture of Europe and North America in the early 19th century.

Born in humble circumstances, the son of a Scottish mariner, Stuart set out on foot for Rome in 1742. In 1748 he and Revett issued their ‘Proposals for publishing an accurate Description of the Antiquities of Athens’. Subsidized by members of the Society of Dilettanti, they left Italy for Greece in January 1751 and returned to England in 1755. Publication of the first volume of the ...

Article

(b Stendal, Dec 9, 1717; d Trieste, June 8, 1768).

German art historian. His writings on the sculpture of ancient Greece and Rome redefined the history of art and provided a theoretical apologia for Neo-classicism. Geschichte der Kunst des Alterthums (1764) was a standard reference on the art of the ancient world until well into the 19th century. Winckelmann revolutionized archaeological studies by providing a framework for stylistic classification of antiquities by period of origin, whereas previous antiquarian scholars had concerned themselves almost exclusively with questions of subject-matter. His analysis of the aesthetics of Greek art and his account of the conditions that encouraged its flowering, which highlighted the importance of climate and the political freedom of the ancient Greek city states, had a major impact in the art world of his time. His scholarly celebrations of masterpieces of ancient sculpture were particularly popular and were widely quoted in travel books and artistic treatises.

The son of a cobbler, Winckelmann studied Greek and Latin, as well as theology, mathematics and medicine, at the universities of Halle and Jena. After five years as a Classics teacher in Seehausen, he was employed in ...