The 18th and 19th Centuries


 



(Neoclassicism, Romanticism and Art Styles in 19th century - Art Map)

 




Neoclassicism and Romanticism

 

 



Bertel Thorvaldsen


Georges Jacob


Charles Cameron



 

 
Neoclassical Sculpture

The Italian sculptor Antonio Canova created many works of classical mythological subjects, pursuing an ideal beauty based on reason, according to the aesthetic of the day. He was commissioned to sculpt the monument for Pope Clement XIV (1783-87) in Santi Apostoli, Rome. In accordance with Winckelmann's canon of "noble simplicity and calm grandeur", he dispensed with rich ornamentation and the use of superfluous marble for sumptuous drapery. Nevertheless, Canova remained essentially a follower of the Baroque style and tended to confuse classicism with sentimentality, sometimes veering towards artificiality. His Three Graces and his statue of Pauline Bonaparte Borghese as Venus demanded a visually three-dimensional perspective. This contrasted strongly with Bertel Thorvalsden's (1768-1844) Three Graces, Hebe (1816) or Ganymede with Jupiter as the Eagle (1817) which are essentially-static, fixed, and frontal. Denmark's most important Neoclassicist and one of the leaders of the movement, Thorvaldsen spent the majority of his working life in Rome, preferring to work from copies rather than live models. Such was the admiration for his statue of Jason (1802-03) that the sculptor was ensured a constant stream of commissions. Thorvaldsen was not a profound observer of character, and his work has been criticized by some modern critics for being rather cold and devoid of feeling. However, Thorvaldsen still deserves to be ranked alongside Canova and John Flaxman as one of the greatest Neoclassical sculptors.
 


Bertel Thorvaldsen
The Three Graces
1851

 


Bertel Thorvaldsen
The Three Graces
Accademia di Brera, Milan

The theme of the Three Graces was a popular subject in Neoclassical art, calling as it did for the portrayal of three female nudes, their arms entwined around one another, each figure depicted in a different pose.
 

 
 
Bertel Thorvaldsen

(b Copenhagen, 13 Nov 1768 or 19 Nov 1770; d Copenhagen, 24 March 1844).

Danish sculptor and collector, active in Italy. He spent most of his working life in Rome, where, after the death of Antonio Canova in 1822, he became the foremost Neo-classical sculptor. Although the heroic quality of his early Roman work was later modified by certain naturalistic features, he never abandoned his fundamental, classicizing ideals. His pan-European reputation led to commissions from public and private patrons in many countries, and in order to supply these he ran a large and well-organized studio. His collection of contemporary paintings was probably the finest in 19th-century Rome and, together with many of his sculptures, is now housed in the Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen (opened 1848). (Unless otherwise stated, the models and versions of the works mentioned in this entry are there.) In the decades after his death, the taste for Neo-classicism, and thus his reputation, declined, and it was not until the mid-20th century that his art was re-evaluated.
 


Bertel Thorvaldsen
Ganymede Waters Zeus as an Eagle

1817
Marble, height 93,5 cm
Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen

The artist portrays the dialogue between the beautiful Trojan youth Ganymede,
and Zeus in the guise of an eagle, with a restrained tenderness and delicacy.
 

 


Bertel Thorvaldsen
Hebe

1806
Marble, height 156 cm
Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen

 

Bertel Thorvaldsen
Ganymede
1816


Bertel Thorvaldsen
Jason with the Golden Fleece

1803-28
Marble, height 242 cm
Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen

 

 

Bertel Thorvaldsen
Cupid with a Lyre


 


Bertel Thorvaldsen
Venus
 


Bertel Thorvaldsen
Shepherd Boy with Dog

 

Bertel Thorvaldsen
Achilles and Briseis

1803

 

Bertel Thorvaldsen
Priam Pleads with Achilles
1815

 

 

Bertel Thorvaldsen
Cupid
1827

 

 

Bertel Thorvaldsen
Lion of Lucerne
1821

 

 

Bertel Thorvaldsen
Lord Byron
1831

 

 


Georges Jacob

Louis XVI Style Armchair
 


Georges Jacob
Pair of Armchairs


Georges Jacob
Chair

 

NEOCLASSICAL FURNITURE

The elaborate decorations, smooth curves, and gilded ornamentation of Rococo furniture was followed by the straight lines and austere geometric motifs of Neoclassicism. Robert Adam was the first to embrace the new colours and tones, embellishing his furniture with delicate Neoclassical motifs. Georges Jacob (1739-1814) became the emperor's highly acclaimed cabinet-maker; he substituted maple, oak. beech, cherry, and apple wood for the more fashionable mahogany, which was difficult to obtain because of the ban on importing goods from the British colonies. Palmettos, small rose windows, acanthus leaves, and sphinx heads were the most popular bronze decorations. Pompeiian tripods were used as bases for tables and small pieces of furniture: chairs were modelled on the curule chair (used by the highest civil officials of ancient Rome); and beds on the triclinium (dining couch). English and French Neoclassical furniture was adopted throughout Europe. In Russia, for example. Catherine II's Scottish architect Charles Cameron (1745-1812) designed fine pieces in Adam's style.

 


Georges Jacob


(b Cheny, 6 July 1739; d Paris, 5 July 1814)

arrived in Paris in 1755 and became a Maître Ebéniste on 4 September 1765. His first business was in the Rue de Cléry, Paris, from 1767 and the Rue Meslée from 1775. At the start of his career he produced curvilinear models often decorated with carved flowers and foliage (e.g. 1777; Paris, Louvre), characteristic of chairs at the end of the reign of Louis XV. His reputation rests on the production of numerous, sometimes innovative varieties of high-quality seats in the Louis XVI and Empire styles, for which his work was seminal. He was probably the first to use the common Louis XVI form of tapering, fluted legs headed by a rosette within a square (e.g. of 1780–90; Paris, Mus. Nissim de Camondo), and he introduced console-shaped legs that terminated in a volute below the seat rail (e.g. fauteuil de toilette, 1770; Paris, Louvre) and promoted the use of baluster-shaped arm supports (e.g. fauteuil à la reine; Paris, Mus. A. Déc.), also using them on the later Empire-style seats.
He was one of the first, following the English, to use mahogany for seats. His production, which included beds, console tables and screens, and later cabinet work, strongly featured carved decoration, ranging from the standard Louis XVI motifs of twisted ribbons, foliate rinceaux, stylized acanthus leaves, guilloche, beading and fluting to the Turkish-style suite of furniture (Paris, Louvre) supplied in 1777 to Charles, Comte d’Artois (later King Charles X), and carved by Jean-Baptiste Rode (1735–99), which prefigured the Empire style . Much of the carving and gilding was executed by the Jacob workshops, but on certain occasions outside craftsmen were used.
 

 


Robert Adam, commode.

Adam's furniture is famed for its intricacy of detail and
overall balance of design and painted decoration.
 


Cameron Gallery in Tsarskoe Selo

Charles Cameron

(From Wikipedia)

Charles Cameron (1743-1812) was a Scottish architect who introduced the Adam style into Russian architecture. Little is known about his early life in Europe, except for the fact that he studied in Italy and France. Having read his book about Roman thermae, Catherine the Great summoned him to Russia to reconstruct her summer residence in Tsarskoe Selo. In that village, he designed the so-called Cameron Gallery with the Agate Rooms, the Hanging Gardens, and the Cold Baths. In these structures, Cameron skilfully reproduced the colorful decoration of Roman public baths. Sophia Cathedral was the only notable church designed by him. For the future Emperor Paul he built an extensive residence, the Pavlovsk Palace, somewhat plain in exterior appearance but dazzlingly luxurious inside. In 1799-1803 he rebuilt the Razumovsky palace in Baturyn, Ukraine.
 

 


Cameron Gallery in Tsarskoe Selo

 

 


Cameron Gallery in Tsarskoe Selo

 

 


Cameron Gallery in Tsarskoe Selo

 

 

 


Simeon Chiflar, plate from the Guriev service
showing a cossack from the Black Sea, c. 1817.
Imperial China Factory, St Petersburg.

THE DECORATIVE ARTS

Many leading artists made a significant contribution to the decorative and applied arts during the Neoclassical period. The Empire style was developed by two French architects, Charles Percier (1764-1838) and Pierre-Frangois-Leonard Fontaine (1762-1853), who produced designs for fabrics, metalwork, furniture, and other crafts. Compatriot Pierre-Paul Prud'hon applied his skills to the design of the cradle for Napoleon's son, the infant King of Rome. In England, Josiah Wedgwood (1730-95) had a considerable influence on the growing demand for china in the Neoclassical style. In 1775, he invented a dense hard stoneware known as jasperware, which he used as a background for applied decoration. John Flaxman created designs for Wedgwood, while the Adam brothers designed for Matthew Bolton, famous for his Sheffield steel plating and his objects in gold and silver plate. Classically inspired wallpaper also became very popular during this period, not in the usual dark colours but with specially created lighter-toned designs and patterns.

 


Contemporary copy of the carpet in the throne room at the Tuileries Palace, 1807-09.
Musee National du Chateau de Malmaison, Rueil.

 

 

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