Zac's Favourite Art - Classicism

Zac goes all 'arty', with a stunning collection of his favorite paintings and sculpture.

Zac has a great love of Classical art. Not only the art of the ancient Greeks and Romans, but also Neo-Classical art of the Nineteenth Century.

Classicism, in the arts, refers generally to a high regard for a classical period, classical antiquity in the Western tradition, as setting standards for taste which the classicists seek to emulate.
The art of classicism typically seeks to be formal and restrained: of the Discobolus - it has been observed, "if we object to his restraint and compression we are simply objecting to the classicism of classic art. A violent emphasis or a sudden acceleration of rhythmic movement would have destroyed those qualities of balance and completeness through which it retained until the present century its position of authority in the restricted repertoire of visual images."
Classicism implies a canon of widely accepted ideal forms.
Italian Renaissance painting and sculpture are marked by their renewal of classical forms, motifs and subjects.
In the 15th century Leon Battista Alberti was important in theorizing many of the ideas for painting that came to be fully realised in Raphael's 'School of Athens' during the High Renaissance.
The themes continued largely unbroken into the 17th century, when artists such as Nicolas Poussin and Charles Le Brun represented of the more refined classicism. 
Later classicism in painting and sculpture from the mid-18th and 19th centuries is generally referred to as Neoclassicism.


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'The Source'
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

'Venus Anadyomene'
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (French: 29 August 1780 – 14 January 1867) was a French Neoclassical painter.
Although he considered himself to be a painter of history in the tradition of Nicolas Poussin and Jacques-Louis David, by the end of his life it was Ingres's portraits, both painted and drawn, that were recognized as his greatest legacy.
A man profoundly respectful of the past, he assumed the role of a guardian of academic orthodoxy against the ascendant Romantic style represented by his nemesis, Eugène Delacroix.
His exemplars, he once explained, were "the great masters which flourished in that century of glorious memory when Raphael set the eternal and incontestable bounds of the sublime in art ... I am thus a conservator of good doctrine, and not an innovator."
Nevertheless, modern opinion has tended to regard Ingres and the other Neoclassicists of his era as embodying the Romantic spirit of his time, while his expressive distortions of form and space make him an important precursor of more advanced forms of art.

'Venus Rising'
Jean-Léon Gérôme 

Jean-Léon Gérôme (11 May 1824 – 10 January 1904) was a French painter and sculptor in the style now known as Academicism (Neo Classicism).
The range of his oeuvre included historical painting, Greek mythology, Orientalism, portraits and other subjects, bringing the Academic painting tradition to an artistic climax.
He is considered one of the most important painters from this academic period, and in addition to being a painter, he was also a teacher with a long list of students.

'Le triomphe du Cygne'
Léon François Comerre

Léon François Comerre (10 October 1850 – 20 February 1916) was a French academic painter, famous for his paintings of beautiful women.
Comerre first exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1871 and went on to win prizes there in 1875 and 1881. 
In 1875 he won the Grand Prix de Rome for his painting "L’Ange annonçant aux bergers la naissance du Christ" (The Angel announcing the birth of Christ to the shepherds).
This led to a scholarship at the French Academy in Rome from January 1876 to December 1879.
In 1885 he won a prize at the "Exposition Universelle" in Antwerp.
He also won prestigious art prizes in the USA (1876) and Australia (1881 and 1897).
He became a Knight of the Legion of Honour in 1903.

William-Adolphe Bouguereau (November 30, 1825 – August 19, 1905) was a French academic painter and traditionalist.
In his realistic genre paintings he used mythological themes, making modern interpretations of classical subjects, with an emphasis on the female human body.
During his life he enjoyed significant popularity in France and the United States, was given numerous official honors.
As the quintessential classical painter of his generation, he was, not surprisingly, reviled by the Impressionist avant-garde.
By the early twentieth century, Bouguereau and his art fell out of favor with the public, due to changing tastes.
In the 1980s, a revival of interest in figure painting led to a rediscovery of Bouguereau and his work.
Throughout the course of his life, Bouguereau executed 822 known finished paintings, although the whereabouts of many are still unknown.

'Nymphs and a Satyr'
William-Adolphe Bouguereau

'Cupid - Love on the Look Out'
William-Adolphe Bouguereau

'The Childhood of Bacchus'
William-Adolphe Bouguereau


'Allegory of Sculpture'
Gustav Klimt
Klimp was a master of allegorical painting

a superb example of Klimp's graphic art

Gustav Klimt (July 14, 1862 – February 6, 1918) was an Austrian painter. Although not strictly speaking a Neo-Classicist, early on he used predominately classical themes in a classical style. Later he was more usually identified as a Symbolist.

'Wandernde Griechische Theater'
(Wandering Greek Theatre)
Gustav Klimt

an example of Klimp's mature, classical style
Klimt was one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement.
He is noted for his paintings, murals, sketches, and other 'objets d'art'.
Klimt's primary subject was the female body, and his works are often marked by a frank eroticism.
In addition to his figurative works, which include allegories and portraits, he painted landscapes. 
Early in his artistic career he was a successful painter of architectural decorations in a conventional , classical manner.

Gustav Klimt

an example of Klimt's later, Symbolist style
As he developed a more personal style, his work was the subject of controversy that culminated when the paintings he completed around 1900 for the ceiling of the Great Hall of the University of Vienna were criticized as pornographic.

Gustav Klimt

'Nackt Schiffer und Jugendliche'
(Naked Boatmen and Youths)
Ludwig von Hofmann

'Der Geist des Sieges'
(The Spirit Of Victory)
Franz von stuck

Zac's 'take' on 'Der Geist des Sieges'
(The Spirit Of Victory)
after Franz von Stuck

Jugend in einer heroischen Pose
George von Hoesslin (1851-1923)

Zac's 'take' on 'Jugend in einer heroischen Pose'
after George von Hoesslin (1851-1923)




Frederic Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton PRA 

Frederic Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton PRA (3 December 1830 – 25 January 1896), known as Sir Frederic Leighton between 1878 and 1896, was an English painter and sculptor. His works depicted historical, and mainly classical subject matter.

Frederic Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton PRA 

Leighton was born in Scarborough to a family in the import and export business.
He was educated at University College School, London.
He then received his artistic training on the European continent, first from Eduard von Steinle and then from Giovanni Costa.
When he was 24 he was in Florence; he studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti.
From 1855 to 1859 he lived in Paris, where he met Ingres, Delacroix, Corot and Millet.

Frederic Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton PRA 

Frederic Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton PRA 

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, OM, RA

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, OM, RA (8 January 1836 – 25 June 1912) was a Frisian painter of special British denizenship.
Born in Dronrijp, the Netherlands, and trained at the Royal Academy of Antwerp, Belgium, he settled in England in 1870 and spent the rest of his life there.
A classical-subject painter, he became famous for his depictions of the luxury and decadence of the Roman Empire, with languorous figures set in fabulous marbled interiors or against a backdrop of dazzling blue Mediterranean Sea and sky.

'Greek Wine'
Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, OM, RA

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, OM, RA

'Sappho and Alcaeus'
Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, OM, RA

A Reading from Homer
Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, OM, RA

Boys in the Public Bath
(artist unknown)


'Nude Study of a Boy'
Christen Købke 1855

Zac's 'take' on 'Nude Study of a Boy'
Christen Købke 1855

 'Knabenakt' - Nude Ephebe'
Owe Zerge (1894-1983)

 'Knabenakt' - Nude Ephebe'
Owe Zerge (1894-1983)

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