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Neoclassicism and Romanticism

Neoclassicism refers to a series of movements in literature and other arts mainly of the western classical art. The style of neoclassicism involved the form of an emphasis on linear design in painting. It involved the use of archaeologically correct settings and costumes. Romanticism on the other hand refers to artistic, literary and intellectual movement that began in the late 18th century in Western Europe and became stronger with the commencement of the industrial revolution (Friedlander 236).

Eugene Delacroix being a French romantic artist engaged the use of animated brushstrokes. He learnt about color and its visual effects which contributed to the works of impressionists while the effects of his exotic work gave direction to symbolist movement. To distinguish between his romanticism artistry and neoclassicism artistry, Delacroix involved the art of Rubens and the painters of the Venetian renaissance which had their emphasis on color and movement as opposed to clarity of outline and carefully modeled form which was the main emphasis of the neoclassicism.

Delacroix, even though having trained under neoclassicism, involved innovative and brilliant use of color, exotic locales and stimulating subject matter which were more of romanticism style (Honour 421). Neoclassicism involved archaeological excavation, publishing books containing drawings of ancient buildings. Romantic painting on the other hand involved medieval and mysterious arts, love of pictures and sublime in nature, play of individual imagination with impression to emotion and mood.

Generally the romantic artist privileged the coloristic and painterly techniques other than the linear cool toned styles of the neoclassic artists (Fritz 68). Neoclassicism emphasized mainly on the qualities of outline and linear design as opposed to color, atmosphere and effects of life. Major importance according to the neoclassicism was on illustrating the costumes, settings and the facts of the classical subject matter.

Generally the art of neoclassicism involved more lifeless historical paintings as opposed to the art of romanticism which was more aesthetic, romantic and full of life (Rosenblum 289). Neoclassicism prescribed for the art the idea that common or collective characteristics of human behavior were more suitable matter than the noticeably individual expression of human activity. The romantic art of Delacroix on the other hand was more individualistic.

He emphasized the importance of individual and opposed character typology of neoclassical drama. He preferred audacity and aspiration for self-control over the neoclassical model for precision and free experimentation. Conclusion Neoclassicism even though having been superseded by the romanticism, it continued to exist with later developments which were the opposite style of the romanticism.

Despite being far and different, the two artistic styles continued to interact with each other in complex ways in the artistic works. Works cited Friedlander, Walter. A Dictionary of Artwork and Artists. New York: Time Life Books, 1966. Fritz, Pool. Delacroix’s Paintings and Sculpture. London: Hamlyn, 1971. Honour, Hugh. Neoclassicism versus Romanticism. New York: Praeger, 1968. Rosenblum, Robert. Transformations in Late Eighteenth Century Art. Great Britain: Oxford University Press, 1970.

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