Ralph Larmann

Art Department

University of Evansville

back to: Chapter 17 Modern Art

There was a concerted move by Louis XIV to "rationalize" his reign and make associations to the former Holy Roman Emperorship. After all, Charlemagne, one of his predecessors, had been crowned "King of the Franks and Holy Roman Emperor" in 800 AD. Louis made these associations by surrounding himself and his court with all things "Classical." He established the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture to make the focus of art in France one which was also based on "Classical" forms. Classical ideas had created the foundation for Western thought, morality, and society. It also indicated that his reign was built on lofty ideals.In principle this may have been true, but Louis lived extravagantly, building the palace at Versailles with its sprawling gardens. He also spared no expense in his affairs of State, hoping to influence visiting dignitaries.

Louis also took control of France's political aristocracy by forcing them to live at Versailles. This insured that they would be following his direction by helping to promote his Classical vision.



-sometimes called the style of Louis XV (15th)
-identified with Rubenists (color) not Poussinists (classical line and subject)

Antoine Watteau (1684-1721)
-first Rococo artist to be accepted by the French Academy
-supported by aristocratic families
-fete galante was a new category of painting included for Watteau at the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture
-fete galante was a scene of elegant entertainment

A Pilgrimage to Cythera, 1717, oil on canvas, 4'3"x 6'4"
-a fete galante scene of aristocrats visiting the island of Cythera which was reputed to be home of an ancient cult who worshipped the mythological love goddess Cythera.
-more airy and light is less diffused than Baroque
-reflection of French aristocracy engaging in open air entertainment
-reflection of the decentralized nobility in France under Louis XV

Jean Honore Fragonard
The Swing, 1766, oil on canvas, 35"x 32"

Francois Boucher
-more Classical, less drama than Baroque

Oath of the Horatii
French Neoclassicism
oil on canvas
by Jacques-Louis David

American Neoclassic ism
by Thomas Jefferson


-artistic style associated with the French Revolution
-renewed interest in Classical ideas and ideals
-reflected honor, order, stability
-used by Napoleon to associate himself with Roman Emperors

More serious in its nature, a reaction against Rococo and the morals of Louis XV
-Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Denis Diderot both spoke of a need for art that contains a "moralizing" message. Rousseau was also famous for his "noble savage" treatise.

Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825)
-politically active in the French Revolution
-member of the Jacobin Party
-staged outdoor festivals and political rallies including Marat visitation
painted Classical themes like "Death of Socrates" to incite nationalism and identify with Classical ideals.

Oath of the Horatii- 1784-5, oil on canvas, 14'x 11'
-reflects "republican" ideas of government, counter to monarchy
-symbolizes loyalty at any cost
-stable and orderly, many verticals in the painting reflect this attitude

Death of Marat- 1793, oil on canvas, 5'3"x 4'1"
-shows a political event of the time, a murder of the writer Marat by Charlotte Corday, a more conservative supporter of the revolution.
-raises a political figure to status of political "martyr"

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780-1867)

-was government-appointed painter for Napoleon.

Grande Odalisque- 1814, oil on canvas, 3'x 5'4"
-from oda, referring to a harem room
-figure is slightly distorted to accommodate composition

United States
-Neoclassicism was also used in the architecture and art of the US to show solidity, and order, this was a way of creating the image of a stable government. This was exemplified in the sculpture of George Washington as Socrates by Horatio Greenough.

Thomas Jefferson (1769-84)

Monticello- 1769-84, Charlottesville, VA
-means "Little Mountain" in Italian
-done in Classical style to create associations to Greece and Rome
architect of the University of Virginia

Executions on the Third of May, 1808
French Romanticism
oil on canvas
by Goya


-ideas set "long ago in far away places"
-encompassed a variety of past styles
-considered first modern art movement

Edmund Burke
-philosopher and social critic who wrote about the "sublime"
-he saw unfinished and preparatory works as superior to finished works because they allowed a viewer to include their own thoughts

Theodore Gericault (1791-1824)
-paintings reveal an interest in psychology and political revolt
-loosely painted paintings give more emotion and depth to characters

Raft of the Medusa, 1819, oil on canvas, 16'x 23'6"
-about a real life tragedy that involved a ship wrecked at sea and its survivors
-symbol of political injustice because the captain, who was appointed by Napoleon, abandoned the ship and left the 149 passengers one small raft
-Gericault researched this painting by interviewing survivors of this event
-colorist like Rubens

Eugene Delacroix (1798-1863)
-colorist who uses energetic scenes
-scenes of Algeria and references to the "exotic" like Ingres

Liberty Leading the People, 1830, oil on canvas, 8'6"x 10'7"
-politically-motivated painting
-full of symbolism with people rising up in a spontaneous revolt
-not a real scene, but based on a real event
-colorist tendencies and composition

Death of Sardanapalus, 1826, oil on canvas

Arabs Skirmishing in the Mountains, c. 1834, oil on canvas

Francisco de Goya
-Spanish court painter who worked with psychological subjects

Executions on the Third of May, 1808, 1814, oil on canvas, 8'9"x 11'4"
-historical scene of French soldiers killing Spaniards near Madrid
-mood created with color and rhythms in the composition

Prints: Etchings include a series called the "Horrors of War"
The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters, 1797-98, etching

Romantic Landscape Painting
-reflects a Romantic view of the landscape portrayed in a nostalgic way
-painters active in Europe and US worked in portrayals of landscape
-significant painters included: Constable, Friedrich, and Turner

The Pre-Raphaellite Brotherhood
Believed in the responsibility of art to inspire high moral values. They believed that the art made before Raphael was more pure, because it did not rely heavily on conventions and saw Raphael's work as too theatrical. Some artists of this movement were Ford Madox Brown, Edward Burne-Jones, William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rosetti.

Third Class Carriage
French Realism
oil on canvas
by Honore Daumier

Luncheon on the Grass
French Realism
oil on canvas
by Edouard Manet

French Realism
oil on canvas
by Edouard Manet


-comes from direct observation of society and nature
-time of great change in society

Immanuel Kant-theorized the importance of the "disinterested viewer," that is the process of evaluating a work without sentiment based on the formal qualities of the piece.

G.F.W. Hegel-saw art as a sort of "conscience" for the world and believed that it should exist on the perimeter of society to reflect and critque society. He said that the clash of contrary principles helps society progress.

French Realist Painting

-portrayed "proletariat" or working class or direct observation of nature

The Barbizon School
-group of landscape painters who worked in the "open air" not in studio
-created picturesque landscape paintings
-considered "lowbrow" by Academy

Jean Baptiste Corot (1796-1875)
-worked directly from nature
-tried to portray subjects from "life"
-began as an academic painter like many of the Salon painters of the time (example: Bougereau)

Jean-Francois Millet (1814-75)
-depicted peasants and working people
-elevated genre to higher level

The Gleaners- 1857, oil on canvas, 2'9"x 3'8"
-view of peasants and pulling the last fragments of straw from a field

Gustave Courbet (1819-77)
-created allegorical paintings about society
-Burial at Ornans, 1849-50, oil on canvas
-The Painter's Studio Studio (A Real Allegory of Seven Years of My Life), 1855, oil on canvas, exhibited by itself at Paris World's Fair.

Honore Daumier (1808-79)
-caricaturist and artist
-did political satire and was imprisoned for offending the King (Gargantua).
-often used lithography as a medium. Lithography is a process where an artist will work directly on a special kind of stone with a grease pencil. The artist then "fixes" the image into the stone by adding a gum arabic and nitric acid solution. This causes the greasy pencil lines to adhere to the stone and attract ink. It also causes the undrawn areas of stone to attract water, and repel ink. Because the ink is sitting on top of the stone, one can make an infinite number of prints on paper.

Rue Transonian, lithograph, c.1830's

Third Class Carriage, 1862, oil on canvas
-portrays life and class within French society

Edouard Manet
-used familiarity and confrontational views to shock and comment on society
-believed that a good painting is true to itself

Dejeuner sur L'Herbe (Luncheon in the Grass), 1863, oil on canvas, 7'x 9'
-depiction of recognizable figures with a nude in public setting
-color builds from muted in background to bold in foreground

Olympia, 1863, oil on canvas
-recognized prostitute depicted as a Greek goddess. This contradicted theories of morality in Classicism by confronting a viewer with reality.

Bar at the Folies-Bergere, 1881-2, oil on canvas
-reflection of the seemy side of Parisian aristocracy
-the "real" is shown through the familiarity of the subject

Impression: Sunrise
French Impressionism
oil on canvas
by Claude Monet


-was interested in the effects of color
-based on observation, not interested in politics or religion
-"art for art's sake"
-used broken color, rather than flat

French Impressionism
-Impressionism began in France with a group of artists interested in color

Claude Monet
-leader of the Impressionist movement
-used diffused light and color to create composition

Impression: Sunrise, 1872, oil on canvas
-this is the work that Impressionism is named for
-one critic advised that small children or pregnant women should not see this
-uses broken color to show the changing nature of light on water

Rouen Cathedral and Haystack series
-a series is a number of works of art that are related in some way. Usually an artist will develop an idea by doing it over and over again. A series is often a group of works that reflect a particular idea or image that one artist has worked over and over.

Auguste Renoir
-worked on figures in Impressionist style
The Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1881, oil on canvas

Edgar Degas
-lived in New Orleans for a short time.
-Many works with dancers as subject.

Absinthe, 1876, oil on canvas

Little Dancer Fourteen Years Old, 1881, bronze sculpture

Sunday on the Island of La Grande Jatte
French Post-Impressionism
oil on canvas
by Georges Seurat

The Starry Night
French Post-Impressionism
oil on canvas
by Vincent Van Gogh

The Scream
oil on canvas
by Edward Munch


-was a movement based on Impressionism
-more theoretical in its nature
-more experimentation

-Post-Impressionist painting concentrated on color and brushstroke

Paul Cezanne
-worked on theory that an object could be broken into planes of color
-began this theory by working from apples (Still Life with Apples, c. 1890), then expanded into figures, etc.

Mount Sainte Victoire series
-a series of views of a mountian landscape with emphasis on the color reflections and color shifts in the landscape.

Georges Seurat
-used a process called Pointillism
-worked with theories about optical color mixing and color complements

Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, 1884-6, oil on canvas
-group of people in an outdoor environment
-small dots of color that change as the viewer gets further away

Vincent Van Gogh
-works with expressive qualities of color and brushstroke

The Night Cafe,
-uses psychological color as well as night lighting

Starry Night, c. 1888-9, oil on canvas
-uses line, shape and color in expressive ways

Paul Gaugin
-worked in Tahiti looking for the "noble Savage" a common myth of the time
-used flat and brilliant color
-psychological color


Edward Munch, The Scream, 1893, oil on canvas.
-expressive character and mode of communication.

Next study guide: Chapter 19

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