"Colour is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.”
Tuesday, the 10th of October 15:30-18:00
Friday, the 13th of October 18:30-20:30
Saturday, the 14th of October 13:00-15:30
French impressionist painter Claude Monet (b. 14 November 1840; d. 5 December 1926), leader and foremost practitioner of the impressionist school, was born in Paris but moved to Le Havre; his talents were first spotted when, as a boy, he would sell charcoal caricatures on the streets.
At 16 he was put in touch with the landscape paint Eugene Boudin, who quickly became the young artist's mentor, teaching him the art of oil painting and, crucially, instilling in the teenager the importance of painting directly from nature and en plein (outdoors).
Monet moved to Paris in 1859, enrolling in one of the great Parisian art academies. Yet he soon became disillusioned with the traditional style being taught, so after a brief stint in the army, he entered the studio of Charles Gleyre, where he and Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley and Jean Bazille would define impressionism.
After several unsuccessful attempts to paint traditionally led to financial hardship, Monet threw himself into the seine in a failed suicide attempt in 1868. A newspaper article reviewing Monet's Impression, Sunrise (1872) which was exhibited in an 1874 group show slated the avant-garde style with the term “Impressionists" and the new movement was christened.
By the late 1880s Monet was finding a wide audience appreciative of his heavy brushstrokes and nameless colour patches. Cézanne himself claimed that Monet had "the most prodigious eye since painting began”.
A one-man exhibition organised by art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel sparked financial success at last for Monet. Having moved in 1883 to a beautiful country house in Giverny, from 1899 he worked almost exclusively on painting the water lilies that floated on the pond his gardens. Over the next two decades his health deteriorated as he slowly lost his sight, and he succumbed to lung cancer in 1926.
Source: The Observer Book of ART by editor Carl Wilkinson, p. 50
Issues and Context of Modern Painters by John Ruskin
By Hanna Yakovleva
‘There is no more in Turner’s painting of water surface than any philosophy of reflection.'
‘The marvellous brilliance of the arrangement of color in this picture… to my mind, one of Turner’s leading works in oil.’
‘The most perfectly beautiful piece of colour of all that I have seen produced by human hands, by any means, or at any period’. ‘No man had ever painted the surface of calm water but Turner’ - Sensuous & literal element.'
'Nothing could be more faithful than the boat, … it occupies the center, … a stream of spending color fell from it.'
'Sea is not plaint gray sea surface but playing surface, full of indefinite hue.'
Quites from Modern Painters by John Ruskin in the description of this painting.
John Ruskin (1819-1900) was one of the greatest Victorians, the leading English art critic, art patron, watercolorist, social critic and philosopher. His range of interests and achievements were very wide. It was fundamental for him to make links between all subjects and disciplines - for example, nature and art, science and religion. Somehow he could always see the whole picture. Leo Tolstoy said that Ruskin was: "one of those rare men who think with their hearts."
Ruskin was extremely influential in the latter half of the 19th century by his concerns and ideas, difficult to overestimate his influence on environmentalism, sustainability and craft. Looking ahead, providing some vivid numbers: “Ruskin’s thirty-nine volumes of work contain nine million words; his correspondence ran to twenty thousand letters; his sketches, drawing and paintings would also run into the thousands.”
The most influential artist through Ruskin’s art critic career and beyond that was, undoubtedly, Turner.
He first became aware of Turner’s work at the age of thirteen, having a gift book of poems with artist’s engravings. Ruskin was touched by that experience so much that later he will describe it: ‘I had of looking carefully at Turner's work, and I might, not without some appearance of reason, attribute to the gift the entire direction of my life's energies'.
Ruskin should have visited annual exhibitions of the Royal Academy and the British Institution from the late 1830’s. He together with his father began to collect Turner’s works, owned few important oil paintings and some watercolors.
Their first meeting at the house of the picture dealer was in 1840 and Ruskin claimed that Turner was ‘the great [artist] of the age… at once the painter and the poet of the day’ despite of everybody’s opinion of him being unintellectual and vulgar, as he wrote in his diary. Indeed, Turner was mocked by the critics and unappreciated by the public due to artist’s new true-to-life style.
WHAT WAS IT in William Turner's art that so immensely captured John Ruskin that he almost devoted his life to the advocacy of it? Maybe he saw some of his own transformed desires in the works of the great master of light, surf and rock. I deliberately avoid the modern term sublimation, since this mental state neither was modern nor sublime, but heavy as the stones of Venice he also chose to write about and life surely taught Ruskin lessons as harsh as those ethics of the dust he lectured the young girls at Winnington school about.
SUBLIMATE - verb
1 [with object] (especially in psychoanalytic theory) divert or modify (an instinctual impulse) into a culturally higher or socially more acceptable activity: people who will sublimate sexuality into activities which help to build up and preserve civilization he sublimates his hurt and anger into humour.
Victoria and Albert Museum, London
One of the year's most anticipated architectural endeavors, the Exhibition Road Quarter designed by Amanda Levete and her practice, AL_A, opens today at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The bold addition features the world's first all-porcelain public courtyard, paved with 11,000 handmade porcelain tiles in 15 different patterns. The tiles were manufactured by Koninklijke Tichelaar Makkum, the Netherlands' oldest registered company, established in 1572.
What: The Exhibition Road Building Project at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) includes a new entrance, courtyard and subterranean gallery for temporary exhibitions.
Architect: Amanda Levete Architects (AL_A)
How big: 6,360 sq. m
How much: £49.5m
Funders: The Monument Trust, the Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation, the Blavatnik Family Foundation, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Headley Trust and the Garfield Weston Foundation.
What they say: “The scheme will transform a previously inaccessible back-of-house space into the open courtyard for installations, events and a café, which, by revising the existing screen designed by Sir Aston Webb, will create a new relationship between the heart of the V&A and Exhibition Road.
What the source says: The development includes the Sainsbury Gallery for temporary exhibitions and the Blavatnik Hall, named after the patron Leonard Blavatnik who donated several million pounds towards the new wing.
Design Society / V&A, Shenzhen
What: The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London will open a new design gallery, within Design Society, in collaboration with China Merchants Shekou Holdings (CMSK) in Shekou in Shenzhen, southern China.
Architect: Japanese architecture studio Maki & Associates
How big: The museum will be part of the 70,000 sq. m Sea World Arts and Culture Centre
How much: undisclosed
Funder: China Merchants Shekou Holdings
What they say: “The [gallery] design features three cantilevered volumes atop a deconstructed plinth, opening up horizons to the mountain, the sea and the city.”
What the source says: Under the terms of the five-year partnership with CMSK, the V&A will organise ongoing presentations of 20th- and 21st-century international design from its collection in the V&A Gallery.
Louvre Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi
What: The long awaited Louvre Abu Dhabi, a major encyclopaedic museum in the Middle East, is due to open on Saadiyat Island, the new museum and culture quarter developed by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority.
Architect: Jean Nouvel
How big: 9,200 sq. m of galleries for permanent displays; 2,000 sq. m for temporary exhibitions.
How much: The project has been financed to the tune of $1bn by the Emirati government.
Funder: In 2007, France and the United Arab Emirates signed an unprecedented agreement to create the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
When: No official opening date has been announced but the building is scheduled for completion by the spring.
What they say: “Louvre Abu Dhabi is intended to be a place of discovery, exchange and education. It will also play an important social role in United Arab Emirates. In this respect, it can be seen as a product of the 18th-century Enlightenment in Europe. This movement gave birth to the principle of the encyclopaedic and universal museum housing diverse collections of works for the purposes of public display and scientific study.”
What the source says: Twelve other French institutions, including the Centre Pompidou, have agreed to contribute loans in exchange for a €265m fee spread over 15 years. In 2008, the Louvre’s then-director, Henri Loyrette, told us that the deal represented “a revolution” for French museums because it provided them “with what you in the US and UK are used to—namely, an endowment fund”.
Sources: London CNN
London’s largest outdoor exhibition, featuring 24 leading artists, opened this summer in The Regent’s Park.
Frieze Sculpture will open from 5 July to 8 October, presenting a free out- door exhibition for London and its international visitors throughout the summer months. Selected by Clare Lilley (Director of Programme, Yorkshire Sculpture Park) and featuring leading galleries, Frieze’s rst-ever summer exhibition in The Regent’s Park will bring together 25 new and signi cant works by 20th-century masters and leading contemporary artists from around the world, including Magdalena Abakanowicz, Rasheed Araeen, Urs Fischer, KAWS, Alicja Kwade, Michael Craig-Martin, Jaume Plensa, Thomas J Price, Ugo Rondinone, Sarah Sze, Hank Willis Thomas and Emily Young.
Read more from the source
HOW OUR LECTURES AND PRIVATE TOURS CAN HELP YOU MEET EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE
If you’re interested in joining Private Art Education as a Gold or Platinum Member, you’ve probably gone over the potential benefits behind such a positive decision to change your life. We’ve explained them pretty neatly ourselves, but there is one aspect we’d like to expand on today: networking.
As you know by now, our events consist of private tours of London’s finest art galleries and museums, exclusive lectures about specific topics related to art exhibitions in the city, private viewings and VIP access to various art-related events over the year, as well as invitations to members’ only events at The Arts Club and South Kensington Club.
NETWORKING: THE HIDDEN PERK OF ART TOURS & LECTURES
What that means is that we provide a thorough and easy-to-consume art education while meeting like-minded art lovers and professionals, in an environment that is friendly, pleasant and sophisticated, as we tread the halls of London’s iconic art galleries and museums. But when we talk about networking at our events, we refer to the hidden perk – meeting people who will influence and improve your life and even your career in ways you may not have thought possible.
If you come to one of our private tours or lectures, you are most likely to share the learning experience with a vibrant mix of people, from Google executives, successful entrepreneurs and young professionals the fashion and art world, to established artists, connoisseurs, art collectors and dealers, as well as guest curators, all connected through their love of fine arts.
During these same interactions, you get to engage in meaningful conversations with people you wouldn’t easily meet elsewhere. London is a big city, and so is its lush and diverse art scene.
NETWORKING HELPS WITH BUSINESS LEADS & ART PURCHASE ADVICE
If you’re an art dealer, for example, you may get the unique opportunity of meeting potential buyers during our Private Art Education events, as our audience consists of people who are interested in learning more about art and building, if not expanding, their private art collection.
Many join our lectures to better understand the magnetism behind specific artists and periods, in order to later make better decision when purchasing similar works of art.
If you’re a novice art collector, on the other hand, looking for an exciting investment opportunity, you will meet art professionals who will be able to guide you in making your first (or tenth, or twentieth!) purchase. They are often guests during our private viewings and our lecturers are always eager to help new buyers when it comes to choosing the right art work for their collection or home.
NETWORKING OPENS THE DOOR TO OPPORTUNITIES AND CONNECTIONS
Being in the same room with professionals of the art world is the perfect opportunity to meet artists – this bodes well for those of you looking to make a career change or get an internship in one of London’s prime art galleries and museums. If anything, our members’ only events at The Arts Club and South Kensington Club will introduce you to people otherwise difficult to meet elsewhere.
These events are perfect for corporations, law firms and banks, excellent when included in the company benefits, as more and more career professionals are interested in the arts. Not to mention the fact that they’re great for entertaining clients over a glitzy champagne reception!
We provide a relaxed and friendly environment, making it easier for our guests to meet each other and start conversations that could easily lead to fruitful collaborations. It beats submitting a curriculum vitae at any time!
On top that, networking at Private Art Education events often gives a confidence boost – by pushing yourself to talk to people you don’t know. The more you do this, the easier it gets and the more people you meet – people who are relevant to your business, your career and your passion for art. And in a city as big and as competitive as London, connections will take you a long way.
MAKING NEW FRIENDS
While this is more personal rather than professional, gaining new friends through networking at our events is a big benefit nonetheless. Many friendships form as a result of networking, mostly because you are all like-minded individuals, with great love of art and everything it entails.
You all want to grow, as people and as professionals, by enriching your art knowledge and overall culture, and you get to meet and even help each other out regularly – so naturally strong friendships tend to form in the process.
And last, but certainly not least, our exclusive events are wonderful for those who are new to London, just visiting or established, as they offer the opportunity to network, meet new people and enjoy some classy entertainment surrounded by beautiful works of art.
Discover the benefits of joining Private Art Education as a Gold Member and don’t miss this unique opportunity to meet some of London’s eminent artists and curators, dealers and collectors, as we host a number of private viewings, tours and lectures.
Tuesday, the 20th of June 13:00 - 15:30
Thursday, the 29th of June 13:00 - 15:30
Saturday, the 1st of July 13:00 - 15:30
Free for members, just RSVP the date
Historical Context and Major Features
The Dutch Protestants and the Flemish Catholics went their separate ways after the later sixteenth century. The situation is so completely different in Holland that it is difficult to imagine how, within such a tiny area, two such opposite artistic cultures could flourish.
Although closer in outlook to the Germans, the Dutch were ethnically the same as the Flemish, who were, in turn, closer in viewpoint to their neighbors to the south - the French. A Catholic, aristocratic, and traditional culture reigned in the Flanders of Rubens.
In Holland, severe Calvinistic Protestantism was puritanical toward religious art, sculptural or pictorial although many of the Dutch were Catholics, including a number of painters.
The churches were swept clean of images, and any recollection of the pagan myths, the material of Classicism, or even historical subjects, was prohibited in art.
During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, religious subjects and, later, Classical and historical subjects had been the major stimuli for artistic activity.
Liberated of these sources, what remained to enrich the lives of wealthy Hollanders? For they were wealthy!
During the early part of Spanish rule, the Dutch, like the Flemish, prospered The East India Company was formed, and the discovery of the New World opened up further opportunities for trade and colonization. The wars of independence from Spain made Holland the major maritime country of Europe; its closest rival was England, another Protestant power in the times of the Spanish decline.
The great Dutch commercial cities, such as Haarlem and Amsterdam, had been stimulated and enriched, and civic pride was strong. Although it was not internationally recognized until the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, Holland in fact had been independent from Spain since about 1580 and was extremely proud of its hard-won freedom.
The Dutch are 'the envy of some, the fear of others, and the wonder of all their neighbours'. So wrote the English ambassador to the Dutch Republic, Sir William Temple, in 1673.
In the 17th century, the Dutch republic became an economic and military superpower. It was also an era in which Dutch science and arts blossomed. This era is usually referred to as the Dutch Golden Age.
A Woman Peeling Apples (c. 1663) is a painting by the Dutch Golden Age painter Pieter de Hooch in the Wallace Collection in London. It is a genre painting showing a quiet domestic scene from the time, like most of de Hooch's works.
The elaborate fireplace and fur and embroidery in the mother's clothes show a prosperous household, and the cupid between the two figures implies a happy one. Its sensitive handling of light — in particular, natural light filtered into an otherwise unlit interior space — led 19th century art historians to attribute it to Johannes Vermeer, with whose work the painting does bear strong similarities. However, Vermeer's work typically portrayed a woman working alone instead of a family scene as in A Woman Peeling Apples. Most scholars also now believe that de Hooch was influenced by Vermeer instead of Vermeer by de Hooch.
In the right-hand corner of a room sits a woman, facing the spectator. She wears a black velvet jacket trimmed with fur, a red skirt, and a white apron. In her lap she holds a basket of apples which she is peeling. She holds out a long rind in her right hand to a little girl standing to the left and seen in profile. A tub is on the floor at the woman's feet. To the left is a fireplace with a kettle on the fire. The fireplace is lined with Delft tiles, and is enclosed with pilasters worked in low relief. Behind the woman hangs a mirror in a black frame. The sunlight enters through a window above to the right and illumines the wall and a corner of the mirror. The floor is composed of brown and white tiles.
Still life with a Page - the dramatic, monumental composition set in a grand architectural interior is typical of Fyt’s work and of mid-seventeenth century Flemish still-life painting in general. A note of extra drama is added to the composition by the blood-stained cloth and the contrast of the dead game with the live monkey, dog and parrot. The boy appears to have been added by another artist: an attribution to Erasmus Quellinus has been suggested.
The Laughing Cavalier by Frans Hals is the exuberant half-length portrait, a young man poses, arm rakishly akimbo, against a plain grey background. The painting is inscribed with the date (1624) and the sitter’s age (26). The work is unique in Hals’s male portraiture for the rich colour that is largely imparted by the sitter’s flamboyant costume: a doublet embroidered with fanciful motifs in white, gold and red thread, with a gilded rapier pommel visible at the crook of his elbow.
Neither the identity of the sitter nor the function of the portrait has yet been firmly established. The dazzling costume may offer some important clues, however. The motifs embroidered on the sitter’s doublet have been identified in emblem books of the time and were symbolic of the pleasures and pains of love; they include arrows, flaming cornucopiae and lovers’ knots. As allusions to gallantry and courtship, they may indicate that the work was painted as a betrothal portrait (cf. Van Dyck, P94), although no companion piece has been identified. It has also been suggested that the motifs (particularly the caduceus, the attribute of the Roman god Mercury) allude to an occupation in commerce and Pieter Biesboer has recently proposed that the sitter is Tieleman Roosterman, a wealthy Harlem textile merchant.
Hobbema, a pupil of Jacob van Ruisdael, began painting his characteristic richly textured woodland views in around 1662. This painting is an excellent example of this new phase in his art and may be dated to 1663 – 5. It demonstrates his delight in creating woodland vistas, varied with differing tree forms and patches of light, opening onto illuminated clearings with picturesque cottages. Even with the threat of an impending storm, his vision of nature is cheerfully domestic, in contrast to the dramatic intensity of his former master, Ruisdael.
Gardner, Art History Through the Ages,
The Wallace Collection website
A COMPREHENSIVE LOOK AT HOW ART INFLUENCES AND IMPROVES PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL GROWTH
As Thomas Merton once said, “art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time”.
It is safe to say that we wouldn’t be where we are today, as a species and as individuals, if it weren’t for art and creativity. It took looking beyond the palpable and the mundane to discover the extraordinary, to harness solar power, to build planes or to send people to the Moon.
Art, in all its forms, has succeeded in giving freedom to those gifted with great talents to pursue their ambitions, to challenge the norm, to think outside the box and to give the world extraordinary discoveries – the likes of Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla, Marie Curie, Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton and Stephen Hawking belong to the same spectrum as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Raphael, Pablo Picasso, Rembrandt and Vincent van Gogh, to name but a few. They all made the world a better, more beautiful place.
ART, IN ALL ITS FORMS, GIVES MEANING TO LIFE
For self-development in particular, art education presents a plethora of benefits. It is essential to the development of imagination and creativity, regardless of the age – knowledge, memories and fantasies all feed one’s imagination.
Painted images encourage people to understand the word visually, as it doesn’t limit the acquisition of knowledge to words and numbers alone. Visual thinking is crucial to professional development, allowing one to think outside the box, step away from the borders and even learn other skills – it is used in a wide variety of professions, including the sciences and the arts.
ART HELPS WITH OBSERVATIONAL & ANALYTICAL SKILLS
Art also supports the honing of observational skills, helping individuals to discover details that would otherwise go unnoticed – as the analysis of a painting is always a quest that enhances one’s sensitivity to the world. It also contributes to the development of problem solving and analytical skills, based on the same simple approach: looking at a work of art and discovering all the layers that make it culturally valuable.
While more research is needed to fully understand the benefits of art education on the human brain, it’s a well-known fact that areas within the right hemisphere represent the primary slot for the process and development of learning gained through participation in art activities. It teaches a specific set of thinking skills not properly addressed in the overall school curriculum.
ART RELEASES TENSION AND CONTRIBUTES TO ACCOMPLISHING TASKS
As adults, the challenges of life tend to weigh differently on our shoulders and we often find ourselves in need of ways to release tension and charge ourselves with positive energy. It’s been repeatedly proven that being in contact with visual arts helps establish an outward state of mind that further contributes to accomplishing tasks and living healthier lives.
Building an art education is often therapeutic, nurturing a state of mind that can help combat depression and anxiety. There’s a reason why the happiest of people are often surrounded by works of art – regardless of value.
ART HELPS BUILD MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIP
Ultimately, having a comprehensive art education drives good conversation and helps build meaningful relationships. It’s one of the main reasons why we’ve decided to launch Private Art Education – London being a city so full of art that any corner of it can initiate brilliant dialogues.
The city is home to some of the world’s greatest art galleries and collections, and one should never pass up the opportunity to explore them and discover the tens of thousands of paintings, sculptures and designs that have shaped the world as we know it. Understanding the history of art is the core of understanding our own humanity and culture, our nature and ability to interpret everything around us.
ACQUIRING A PRIVATE ART EDUCATION IN LONDON
Our Gold Membership is particularly wonderful, as it’s perfect for both new and seasoned art lovers, as well as art world socialites who enjoy meeting artists, curators, dealers and collectors in the field. There are fifteen lectures and talks included in the program, following the history of art from Renaissance to Modernism across London’s finest museums.
All of these lectures are held by art professionals and historians, including graduates of Christie’s Education and Sotheby’s Institute of Art, both eminent institutions in their field. The membership also includes three invitations to curators’ lectures at the National Gallery Theatre and the Victoria & Albert Museum.
As early as the second and third decades of the 16th century the Italian Renaissance, particularly in certain paintings, showed signs of turbulence and unrest. At times painters such as Raphael, Correggio and, to a certain extent, Titian rejected its values. In fact an artistic movement, which came to be called Mannerism, was about to appear. It was an individual and personal mode of expression, pre-eminently intellectual, which no longer derived from other well-known masters or from the consolidated Renaissance pattern. This style not only gained the support of artists aware of the crisis in Renaissance values, but it also appealed to the taste, habits and cultural viewpoint of a particular social class throughout Europe. From a historical point of view it is well known that all this coincided with a moment of great moral uneasiness in Italy, a country then passing through the crisis of the Reformation without knowing how to set up opposing autonomous values.
The causes of this artistic experience were varied, but the effects similar: the rejection of the classic ideal in the portrayal of the human figure, and of poetic values in imaginary settings.
In Florence, Mannerism, first hinted at in the works of Andrea del Sarto, is found in the works of Pontormo, Rosso, Beccafumi and Bronzino. Engaged on paintings and frescoes, both religious and secular, these men disclosed an ideal of beauty dignified and expansive in its gestures and unusual in its expression. They favoured abstract spaces in rhythmic compositions, figures delineated with a more conscious, fragmented out- line, artificial lighting and a gamut of new colours, some iridescent some metallic. In Jacopo Pontormo's Descent from the Cross (Sta Felicita, Florence) the colour is pale and watery but in his Visitation, at Carmignano, there is a closely reasoned development of rhythmic, ample forms rendered sonorous by pink, green and orange.
During the mid eighteenth century, a turn away from the ornamentation and asymmetry of the Rococo and the Baroque led to an interest in a revived, more pure form of art and architecture. Enlightenment ideals were being disseminated across Europe aided by the 1751-72 publication of the thirty-five-volume strong Encyclopédie and rationale was becoming a key player in the minds of individuals. Diderot’s hesitation over whether to place architecture under the faculty of reason or that of imagination reopened an ancient debate about what the ultimate role of architecture was. Fewer religious buildings were being erected, and the focus was instead turned toward secular buildings with civic or industrial function. Immanuel Kant’s 1784 essay Answering the Question: What is Enlightenment? coined the phrase sapere aude, or ‘dare to know’ further illustrating the importance science and intellect took on in this period.
Grand Tours had become popular post-university undertakings amongst the wealthy and noble in the UK and Northern Europe, with the men, or ladies with chaperones, visiting Le Havre, Paris, Geneva, Turin, Florence, Padua, Bologna, Venice and Rome. The more illustrious adventures would lead to Naples and the recently discovered archaeological sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum, and then to Greece. This young population gained exposure to ancient traditions and ways of life, bringing classical architectural theory back to Northern Europe upon their return. Books, paintings and sketchbooks were copied and ideas utilised, possibly inspiring Johann Joachim Winkelmann’s Thoughts on Imitation of Greek Works of 1950, in which he stated ‘The only way for us to become great or, if this be possible, inimitable, is to imitate the ancients.’ Responding to all these factors, the Neo- (or new) Classical style was born.
A leading example of the Neoclassical style can be seen in Louis XV’s votive church Sainte Geneviève, Paris by Jacques Germain Soufflot, begun 1757 (re-named Panthéon 1791). This harks back to many elements of classical architecture, including the dome reminiscent of the Pantheon, from where the building gets its most recent name, and the richly detailed Corinthian portico, that indicates the entrance. Juxtaposing it to a church from the same period, Wies Pilgrimage Church, we can see the profound difference between the Baroque style that still pervaded in Austria, and the Revolutionary style that Louis XV’s votive church to Sainte Genevieve emanates. Architect Dominikus Zimmermann bestowed the Wies Church with gold ornamentation, stucco curling off the architectural elements, depressed arches that deceive the eye in a rather Baroque manner, and an altar that combines classical columns with tall bases that stretch up the height of the altar in an un-classical manner.
An extreme example of Neoclassicism is Colen Campbell’s Mereworth Castle, Kent. Building it in 1720s, Campbell clearly took influence from Andrea Palladio’s Villa Rotonda of 1570. The six column wide Ionic porticoes that are situated on each of the four sides and the dome feature in the centre of a square floor plan are just a few of the features that are identical to Rotonda. This style of imitating the work by architect Andrea Palladio from his Quattro libri dell’architettura is not uncommon, and in fact it has coined its own name — Neo-Palladianism. Robert Adam’s north facade for his great manor house near Derby — Kedleston Hall — is an astonishing representation of the Neo-Palladian style, with its massive six-columned Corinthian portico whose pediment hides the dome surmounting the southern central saloon.
As Michael Kitson quite rightly says, ‘Neoclassicism, in sharp contrast to the Rococo, was deeply inspired by theory. Perhaps it is the only movement in the history of art to have been brought into being by critics, philosophers and connoisseurs rather than artists.’ This is what makes Neoclassicism stand out from other eras of art and architecture, in its associations with societal and political context of the time. It was the Age of Enlightenment, the Age of Grand Tourism, and the uprising of Napoleon in France, which all led to the development and materialisation of the profound Neo-Classical style. Even after Stuart and Revett’s first volume of The Antiquity of Athens was published in 1762, Leroy stated that the Greeks were surpassable. Just as their style, the Classical, was a harmonious moment on a longer development continuum, so too was contemporary architecture. Copies didn’t need to be made of Classical architecture, as Campbell had done with Mereworth, but instead there was room for the Classical to be interpolated. Neoclassicism didn’t have to simply be a copy, but instead an invention.
First Year Art Historian at Cambridge University and Intern at Private Art Education.
An early to late 18th century movement, born in France, Rococo centralised around opulence and extravagance. Not just affecting art, furniture, architecture, theatre and music all have the Rococo period instilled within their history. Its beginnings are off the back of the Baroque movement, which was a response to the Catholic values of the Council of Trent during the Reformation. The origins of the name seem to be from the French rocaille, a popular form of garden or interior ornamentation using shells and pebbles, and coquille, meaning shell. It might also interweave the Baroque etymology, barocco, meaning an irregularly shaped pearl. From these definitions, we can see that the style was centralised around decorative elements and a fanciful, irregular style.