Classicism is the painting style established by European art academies and
universities. In general It is also called "academic art". In this context as new
styles are embraced by academics, the new styles come to be considered academic,
thus what was at one time a rebellion against academic art becomes academic art.
The academic art world also worshiped Raphael, for the splendor of his work. This
style is often termed "art pompier", "academism", "academicism", "classical
revival", "beaux-arts classicism" and "eclecticism".
The followers of Classicism
appreciated and imitated Greek and Roman literature, art, and architecture.
Classicism is a late form of Neoclassicism, with a distinctly original elegance.
Often linked with "historicism" and "syncretism".
Followers of this movement were
influenced by the high standards of the French Academie des Beaux-Arts, which
practiced under the movements of Neoclassicism and Romanticism. Academic Classicism
attempted to merge both techniques to create the perfect style. It is characterized
by adhering to a strict manner of painting, following narrow compositional rules
and delicacy of color. The atmospheric effects are sumptuously luminescent.
According to art historian, Walter Pater "To produce such effects at all requires
all the resources of painting, with its power of indirect expression, of
subordinate but significant detail, its atmosphere, its foregrounds and
Subject matter often used in
Rococo art such as light hearted frivolity of the upper classes was fashionable
once again. This style favored interpretations of Greek, Roman and Renaissance
themes. Imagery often centered around Biblical stories, Arthurian legends and
mythology. According to Solomon Gessner, the great German painter and art
historian, "By studying the works of Greek sculptors the painter can attain the
sublimest conceptions of beauty, and learn what must be added to nature in order to
give to the imitation dignity and propriety.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:
German poet, playwright, novelist, and philosopher argued that Greek art was an
absolutely exemplary model from which a fixed canon determinative for the artists
of all times could be derived; and that the composition of pictures should
correspond strictly with the style of antiquity.
Masters of Academic Classicism,
William Bouguereau, Paul Delaroche and Jean-Leon Gerome, had an extraordinary way
of capturing nature's tempestuous, "feral" qualities and yet, at the same time,
create in the viewer an almost inspirational feeling of harmony and serenity. High
drama, blithe sophistication, and unrequited passion characterize this magnificent