19th Century Artists and Movements 

The Nineteenth-century began on January 1, 1801, and ended December 31, 1900, over the entirety of that century there were major social changes as well as advancements in technology and was also the beginning of the Industrial Revolution as well as other significant urbanization movements all over the world. These changes affected everyone the poor, middle class and the rich as well. An age of change that gave way to the new modern world. All of these developments affected all of the art during that time and provided the foundations for new ways of looking and making art.

The creation of marvelous masterpieces occurred in this century and some of the greatest artists lived and forged them there, in a time where all the advancements affected their art style. Helping these masters to produce their best works in such a shifting tide during their time.

Major art movements of the nineteenth century included, Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Realism and Impressionism (1886). Art movements tended to arise from what people thought other movements were lacking, such is the case for Neoclassicism and Romanticism.

Neoclassicism was heavily inspired by Greco-Roman culture. It rejected shallow subject matter such as superficial beauty and frivolous subjects to instead appeal to the masses as a political tool. Portraying the morality of the Greco-Roman period. Those being bravery, loyalty, patriotism, and sacrifice. Romanticism was defined by the way it evoked intense emotions, depicted the individualism and eulogized the past and nature. The Romantic artist wanted the viewer to be engaged emotionally and spiritually while the Neoclassical artist wanted to give you a depiction of reality at a certain time and was much more grounded in reasoning.

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Realism came from a need to rebel against subjects of past movements specifically Romanticism. To do that the realism movement called for emotionless and ordinary subject matter as opposed to the imaginative figures. Depicting rural life and landscapes the realist artist aimed to capture the nobility of people leading simple lives. Its goal to show the viewer an image of what life was like for most people at that time. Moreover, this leads to Impressionism which has subject matter inspired by the realism movement but played with the technical part of the painting. Loosening brushstrokes, lightening palettes creating accomplishing an overall different tone in the methods of paint application rather than the subject. The objective of an impressionist artist was to capture the essence of a subject rather than provide a clear portraiture. Furthermore giving way to other movements such as Post-impressionism, Cubism and more.

A great Neoclassical artist would be Jacques-Louis David as he was a very influential painter in France. He studied in the Academy of Rome on a scholarship called the Prix de Rome under the painter Joseph- Marie Vien. After his studies, David desired to advance the art world with iconic “concepts of classism” and was given the high honor of having two pieces displayed at the salon of 1781. Salons during the nineteenth century acted as annual art exhibitions where artists were given the chance to display their work. King Louis-Joseph-Xavier-François gave David lodging in Louvre a highly esteemed honor for an artist. He went on to make the famous paintings “Oath of the Horatii”, “The Death of Marat” and “The Death of Socrates”. The “Oath of the Horatii” is an oil on canvas painting with a landscape orientation that is located today in the Louvre, Paris. Known as one of the best-known paintings in the Neoclassical style. Portraying the Roman legend of the warring cities of Rome and Alba Longa and symbolizes patriotism and self-sacrifice for one’s country.

“The Death of Marat” is another oil on canvas painting located today in the Royal Museums of Fine arts of Belgium. Its known as a famous image of the French revolution depicting the death of the revolutionary leader Jean-Paul Marat. The painting is an idealized composition of Marat’s figure and is designed to pay tribute to the hero. “ The death of Socrates” is oil on canvas, located in the Metropolitan Museum in New York. The subject is the execution of Socrates as told by Plato. Where Plato describes how Socrates is charged with corrupting youth with strange gods and is sentenced to die. Socrates in the painting is on his deathbed and uses his own death as a lesson to the pupils who surround and mourn him. An exemplary artist during the Romantic period is Fransico Goya. He manifests the important ideas of the Romantic movement such as evoking emotions and using imaginative subject matter. His art directly responded to the world around him form the enlightenment to the atrocities of the Napoleonic wars. Goya was a Spanish artist who was well known for his engravings and paintings.

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