In the late 18th and 19th centuries, there was a hearkening back to the ancients, more specifically the Greeks and the Romans, in the fields of literature, the fine arts, architecture and the decorative arts. Thus was born the neoclassical age. Inspired and influenced by classical art, there was a surge to recreate its ideals and make people aware of the great body of work left to the world by the ancients. What the neo-classicists did was to draw inspiration from the past. They created a new format, but preserved classical ideals. Reason was their watchword.
Neoclassicism was an ?uprising? against the Rococo style, characterized by its elaborate ornamentation and the Baroque, with its excessive decoration. Restraint and regularity of form as embodied by the classicists is what the neo-classicists laid emphasis on in the architectural and visual art fields. These characteristics were incorporated into new ?arrangements?.
Neoclassical leanings were evident during the French Revolution, as also the American War of Independence. The Byzantine influence was apparent in the neo-classic style of certain countries. In the 19th century, several European and American buildings were constructed in the elaborately imposing classical mode. The Lincoln Memorial, a white marble edifice and the National Gallery of art are fine examples of the neo-classic style.
Styles change and as in most cases, this came in the form of a reaction. The Romantic Movement emphasised the existence of the spiritual. It believed in transcending the senses through intuition rather than by reason as the neo-classicists believed. This movement was closely followed by the Gothic revival that led to the ?art for art?s sake? concept. In fact, the Neo-classicists were never really replaced by the former.
World War II changed the way the world thought. However, neo-classicism was not entirely forgotten. From time to time, the influences of this style crept into the work of artists like Picasso, whose motifs during one period were distinctly neo-classical. The Art Deco style at its zenith in the 1930s showed a bias towards neo-classicism with its geometric shapes, stylized forms and symmetrical designs.
Die-hard Neo-classicists could not come to terms with Dadaism, a nihilistic artistic trend that was popular in America and Europe in the early 20th century.
If you wish to purchase a work of art in the neo-classic style, you first have to peruse the books that categorize these works. This takes a great deal of effort for there are numerous catalogues that you will have to go through. Once you find what you want to purchase, consider the price. Collectors won?t willingly part with them. Added to this is the enormous cost it would entail. The best option is to select a print of the artwork you most enjoy and buy it. That would be the best economically viable solution.