HISTORY OF PAINTING: Classicism, Artists of Balance and Unity

It is believed that the history is the collection of chaotic moments of past life of human race; whereas the history of art collects the most beautiful moments the human race has seen till the day. We can have the proof of that concept when we look at the paintings done under the style of classicism.

The Vintage.-by Francisco de GOYA

When we think about classicism, we refer to the forms of literature and art, which were prevalent in Roman Empire and in the ancient Greece. We offer thinking on the characteristics of art and literature, especially while talking about the art movement known as classicism. All the arts adhering to the principles of ‘Classicism’ are thought together.

The artists who followed this movement of art (1600 to 1800 AD) had set a standard for the taste keeping their paintings circumscribed in formal and a little bit restrained within the periphery of the set rules. This had helped them maintain balance and unity in their artistic representations. The classicism was a guiding force, making the minds of medieval European artists more aesthetically activated.

Though the word 'Classicism' refers to the paintings done with the influence of Roman Empire and ancient Greece, it also refers to the art that passes the test of high excellency and noble artistic qualities depicted with a flair of conservatism. During these three centuries, the European arts have seen many other movements, but the taste of classicism had never subsided. Here are some of the master artists who have lived during this period of classicism and had contributed immensely, through their theories of art and artistic representations.

Nicolas Poussin : Painting Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter

Autumn from the Four Seasons. 1660-1664. Oil on canvas. By Nicolas Poussin (Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

We look at the landscape paintings hanging on the walls of museum of displayed in the galleries as art lovers or as artists. We love to see the master pieces painting which the artists had invested their lifetime labour. These beautiful landscapes on the walls of art galleries tell us the stories of the time and the challenges the painters might have faced while executing the paintings.

If we explore the beauties of the paintings further, we can enrich our knowledge of the art of painting in general and the landscape painting in particular. And we would certainly enjoy the art in the newer perspectives. Understanding these beautiful landscape paintings would be a journey on the land of various aspects, which had been active for making a particular piece of art alive on the earth.

While looking at the epoch making landscape paintings by the master artists like constable and Nicolas Poussin, we can have idea about the changing themes for painting these artworks. On scrutinising the ongoing changes in the themes and subjects of these landscape paintings, we could understand these artworks in a better way and with enhanced enjoyment of art.

When an artists looks at the nature, the wide areas of the landscape, he or she tries to find out the unity and harmony embedded in the scene. They see the flow of rives and height of the mountain peaks; they saw the brightness of sunlight flooding on the land; they see the ever changing moods of the sky. The artists enjoy the scene themselves and with a noble desire to let the others enjoy the same, they use their artistic skills of landscape paintings and paint the artwork.

These beautiful landscapes are like the statement that the artists have made on seeing the serene beauty of the mother earth. These landscape paintings are like the reproduction of the dialogue that had occurred between the artists and the beauty of the scene he had painted.

(Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

(Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

(Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Bouguereau, Adolphe-William: Bouguereau, the painter of photo-realistic approach of painting, had created an idealized world. He put life into the concepts of goddesses, nymphs, bathers, shepherdesses, and Madonnas by painting these characters on his canvases. His artistic insistance for the perfection in painting the contours of female body had generated a group of good clients in the wealthy people of nineteenth century France. Bouguereau’s commitment to creations of realistic paintings had appealed his patrons. (Image courtesy Francisco de Goya [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

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