What Are the Differences in Neoclassical Art & Romantic Art?

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Art has been around for centuries. Some of the most popular types of art include Neoclassical Art and Romantic Art, both of which were influenced by the Greeks and Romans. Neoclassical Art began in the mid-1700s and Romantic Art began shortly after that, in the late-18th century. Neoclassical and Romantic Art are often confused, though they are not the same. While Neoclassical Art is more unemotional and political, Romantic Art focuses mainly on the natural and mysterious aspects of life.


Neoclassical Art

Neoclassical Art, also known as the revival of artistic canons from Classical Antiquity, began in the mid-1700s. It started as a reaction to the former Rococo period, in which art was whimsical and playful. Neoclassical artists wanted a return to traditionalism and the grandeur of ancient Greece and Rome. They felt that the Rococo period and the Enlightenment did not fully express the discomfort that the people felt about the lifestyle of nobility and the need for a democratic society.


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Romantic Art

Romantic Art began in the late 18th to the mid-19th century as a reaction against the Neoclassical period. It started as an artistic and intellectual movement. This movement hoped to rebel against established values. Romantic Art promoted individualism, subjectivism, irrationalism, emotions and nature. Romantics believed that emotion prevailed over reason and senses over intellect.


Characteristics of Neoclassical Art

Neoclassical Art is characterized by classical themes; the subject's placed in archaeological settings with people dressed in classical costumes. Many Neoclassical artists also integrated Greek and Roman elements into the portraits. Often, the paintings contained mythological creatures and fabled beings. Unlike Romantic Art, Neoclassical Art contains no emotion and portrayals of heroic actions.


Characteristics of Romantic Art

Romantic Art is characterized by bold and dramatic paintings. Much of the art during this period illustrated increased nationalism, exoticism, individualism and heroism. Romantic artists such as Jacques-Louis David and Thomas Gainsborough painted many pictures of royalty. Nature played a major part in the Romantic period also, as many artists painted pictures of landscapes or long-distance exotic places. The natural world was considered more as a place of mysterious powers rather than perfection.


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