Neoclassical period starts at the early 18th century. After the solemn Baroque and frivolous Rococo, people calm down and come back to the modest classical style. Neoclassical artists are imitating the way of creating ancient Greek and Roman art, but they are more sophisticated in skill than ancient artists. There’re several obvious features of Neoclassical art: 1. Serious topics such as history or significant actual stories. Neoclassism is about rationality not sensitivity. 2. Balanced and integral compositions. 3. Clear edges and strict values. Characters look firm and sound in paintings. But they don’t care much about colors and hue. 4. Make the aesthetic more realistic, which is different from Greek or Roman art.
Madame Moitessier Seated, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. 1856. Oil on canvas, 120 x 92cm.
Composition: A maam sits in the middle of the picture. There’s a space around her except the bottom. Her dress fills the bottom of the picture. This is a integral, calm and peaceful composition.
Value: There’re lots of subtle changes on the character, but the painter controlled very well. The hair is generally dark and the skin is light. There are sharp changes on the dress which shows the texture just right. Overall, the value is rigorous.
Lines: Everything has a clear contour.
Patterns and Textures: Patterns are elaborately painted on the dress, furniture, and accessories. So are the textures of skin, clothes, gems, metal… and everything.
Colors: Actually there’re lots of colors in the picture. However, there’s no clear cold or warm between light and dark. In other words, they are solid and realistic without personal imagination.
Here’s my Neoclassical version of Alice in Wonderland:
There’re something that is NOT Neoclassical in this painting:
The composition is pretty modern, because I always hope this painting can be used as wallpaper. The background is very flat, which is not Neoclassical, either. The flowers have some light and shade, but they’re not totally finished yet.
Portrait of Madame Moitessier Standing, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, 1851. Oil on canvas, 146.7 x 100.3 cm.
Here’s my Neoclassical painting of Zahra:
The Coronation of Napoleon, Jacques-Louis David. December 21, 1805–November 1807. Oil on canvas. 6.21 m × 9.79 m.
The Virgin of the Host – Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, 1866