Discussion on French revolution

Neoclassicism

  • context: French Revolution
  • internal class struggle
  • First Estate  clergy
  • Second Estate  aristocracy
  • Third Estate  bourgeoisie
  • National Assembly (1789)
  • Reign of Terror (1793-94)  demise of monarchy
  • Directory  Roman model
  • Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821)
  • appointed to First Consul
  • defeat of Royalist insurrection extinguished threat to Nat’l Convention
  • promoted to Commander of Interior & given command of Army of Italy
  • Emperor  Napoleonic Code
  • uniform system of law

Neoclassicism

    • context: Enlightenment
    • Voltaire (1694-1778)
    • famous for wit & advocacy of civil liberties
    • critic of religious intolerance and persecution
    • works and ideas influenced important thinkers of FR Revolution
    • human affairs ruled by reason & common good
    • dispels w/ tradition & established authority

 

    • Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Social Contract, Or Principles of Political Right (1762)
    • theorized about best way to set up political community in face of problems of commercial society which he had already identified in his Discourse on Inequality (1754)
    • inspired political reforms or revolutions in Europe, especially in FR
    • argued against idea monarchs divinely empowered to legislate
    • only the people, who are sovereign, have that all-powerful right

 

  • context: aesthetic
  • Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717-1768)
  • German art historian & archaeologist
  • turns against ornate practices of Rococo
  • pioneering Hellenist who articulated differences between Greek & Roman art
  • “The History of Ancient Art Among the Greeks“ (1764)
  • concept: “noble simplicity and calm grandeur”

Jacques-Louis David
(1748-1825)

  • biography:
  • deserted by mother at age 9 after father killed in a duel; raised by uncles
  • training: enrolled at age seventeen in Royal Academy of Painting & Sculpture
  • 4x before awarded Prix de Rome (1774)
  • Italy for advanced studies
  • significance: leading figure of Neoclassicism
  • style: follower of Poussin
  • clarity achieved through drawing
  • subordinates color to line
  • figures: solid as sculpture
  • compositions: planar
  • horizontal planes arranged parallel to picture plane
  • scenes set against severe architecture

J-L David’s Oath of the Horatii
(1784)

J-L David’s The Death of Socrates
(1787)

Detail from J-L DAVID’s Neoclassical Death of Socrates (1787)
vs.
detail from RAPHAEL’s High Ren. School of Athens (c. 1500)

69.psd

J-L David

  • Death of Marat (1793)
  • subject: political assassination
  • radical journalist
  • killed by Charlotte Corday
  • blamed M for “September Massacres” (1792)
  • theme: secular lamentation
  • see Michelangelo’s Pieta
  • narrative: murdered while bathing
  • composition: sublime geometric spaces
  • balances stable & dynamic forces
  • communicates narrative
  • color: narrow Baroque range w/ secondary tonalities
  • light/shadow: chiaroscuro

Detail from J-L DAVID’s Neoclassical Death of Marat (1794)
vs.
detail from MICHELANGELO’s High Ren. Pieta (c. 1500)

73.psd

74.psd

J-L David

 

  • Napoleon at St.-Bernard (1800)
  • genre: equestrian portrait
  • composition: dynamic
  • rearing horse
  • diagonal arrangement of forms & landscape
  • gesture
  • wind blown cape & mane
  • color: narrow range of neutral earth tones w/ localized primary
  • light/shadow: even distribution
  • iconography: Hannibal (lower left)
  • challenges Classical history
  • crossing Alps
  • vantage point: low angle

(Left) J-L DAVID’s Neoclassical Napoleon at St. Bernard (c. 1800)
vs.
(right) TITIAN’s Venetian Renaissance Charles V (c. 1550)

Gros

 

  • Napleon on Arcole Bridge (1801)
  • narrative: G present w/ FR army near when N plants French tricolor flag on Arcola bridge (1796)
  • significance: G appointed by N to post of inspecteur aux revues
  • aesthetic: Baroque influences
  • composition: dynamic
  • color: narrow range of browns w/ primary accents & compliments
  • light/shadow: dramatic
  • spatial order: figure placed close to picture plane
  • perspective: aerial (see Venetians)

Late Classical Greek Apollo Belvedere (c. 350 325 BCE)
vs.
detail from GROS’s Neoclassical Plague at Jaffa (1804)

 

VERROCCHIO’S Italian Early Renaissance
The Doubting of Saint Thomas (c. 1475)
vs.
detail from GROS’s Neoclassical Plague at Jaffa (1804)

86.psd

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres
(1780-1867)

  • biography: father  successful jack-of-all- trades in arts
  • training: pupil of J-L David (1797-1801)
  • adapts mentor’s austere & didactic Neoclassicism
  • admitted to Ecole des Beaux Arts (1799)
  • wins Prix de Rome (1801)
  • career: assumed role as guardian of academic orthodoxy
  • “a conservator of good doctrine, and not an innovator”
  • style: “designo” vs. “coloré”
  • precision of line & draftsmanship
  • Raphael’s polished conception of beauty
  • bearer of tradition est by Poussin
  • “super-photographic” & physical accuracy
  • keen sensitivity for personality

Ingres

  • Napoleon on His Imperial Throne
  • date: 1806
  • figure: iconic
  • strict frontality
  • direct gaze
  • spatial order: close to picture plane
  • composition: stable
  • enlivened by diagonal thrusts of staffs
  • color: localized primary & golden highlights
  • light/shadow: tenebrism
  • iconography: Imperial
  • laurel wreath
  • carpet  eagle
  • raised right hand  judgment

(Left) INGRES’ Neoclassical Napoleon on His Imperial Throne (1806)
vs.
(right) detail of Christ from VAN EYCK’s Early Renaissance Flemish
Ghent Altarpiece (c. 1425-50)

 

(Left) INGRES’ Neoclassical Napoleon on His Imperial Throne (1806)
vs.
(right) INGRES’ Jupiter and Thetis (1811)

 

INGRES’ Grand Odalisque
(1815)

(Left) INGRES’ Neoclassical Grand Odalisque (1815)
vs.
(right) BOUCHER’s Rococo Odalisque (c. 1750)

IMAGE INDEX

  • Slide 2: DAVID, Jacques-Louis. Napoleon in His Study (1812), Oil on canvas, 80 1/4 x 49 1/4”, Samuel H. Kress Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
  • Slide 4: DAVID, Jacques-Louis. Self-Portrait (c. 1785).
  • Slide 5: DAVID, Jacques-Louis. The Oath of the Horatii (1785), 14 x 11’, Musée du Louvre.
  • Slide 6: DAVID, Jacques-Louis. The Death of Socrates (1787), Oil on canvas, 51 x 77 1/4”, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
  • Slide 7: (Left) Detail of Socrates from DAVID’s Neoclassical The Death of Socrates (1787); and (right) detail of Plato and Aristotle from RAPHAEL’s High Renaissance The School of Athens (c. 1500).
  • Slide 8: DAVID, Jacques-Louis. Death of Marat (1793), Oil on canvas, 65 x 50 1/2 in, Musees Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique.

IMAGE INDEX

  • Slide 9: (Left) DAVID’s Neoclassical Death of Marat; and (right) detail from MICHELANGELO’s High Renaissance Pieta (1500).
  • Slide 10: DAVID. Napoleon at St. Bernard (1800).
  • Slide 11: (Left) DAVID’s Neoclassical Napoleon at St. Bernard (1800); and (right) TITIAN’s The Emperor Charles V on Horseback (c. 1550), Oil on canvas, 130 3/4 x 109 7/8 in., Prado, Madrid.
  • Slide 12: INGRES. Bonaparte as First Consul (1804), Oil on canvas, 227 x 147 cm, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Liège, Belgia.
  • Slide 13: INGRES. Napoleon on his Imperial Throne (1806).
  • Slide 14: (Left) INGRES’ Neoclassical Napoleon on His Imperial Throne (1806); and (right) detail of Christ from VAN EYCK’s Early Renaissance Flemish Ghent Altarpiece (c. 1425-50)
  • Slide 15: (Left) INGRES’ Neoclassical Napoleon on His Imperial Throne (1806); vs. (right) INGRES’ Jupiter and Thetis (1811)

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