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Ingres - Étienne-Louis Boullée - 1700s - architecture - art

Late Baroque classicizing: G. P. Pannini assembles the canon of Roman ruins and Roman sculpture into one vast imaginary gallery (1756)


Neoclassicism (sometimes rendered as Neo-Classicism or Neo-classicism) is the name given to quite distinct movements in the visual arts, literature, theatre, music, and architecture. These movements were in effect at various times between the 18th and the 20th centuries. What could these "neoclassicisms" have in common?

What any "neo"-classicism depends on most fundamentally is a consensus about a body of work that has achieved canonic status. These are the "classics." Ideally- and neoclassicism is essentially an art of an ideal- an artist, well-schooled and comfortably familiar with the canon, does not repeat it in lifeless reproductions, but synthesizes the tradition anew in each work. This sets a high standard, clearly; but though a neoclassical artist who fails to achieve it may create works that are inane, vacuous or even mediocre, gaffes of taste and failures of craftsmanship are not commonly neoclassical failings. Novelty, improvisation, self-expression, and blinding inspiration are not neoclassical virtues; neoclassicism exhibits perfect control of an idiom. It does not recreate art forms from the ground up with each new project, as modernism demanded. "Make it new" was the modernist credo of the poet Ezra Pound. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoclassicism [Feb 2005]

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