Art Term

Neoclassicism

Neoclassicism was a particularly pure form of classicism that emerged from about 1750

Sir Joshua Reynolds, ‘Three Ladies Adorning a Term of Hymen’ 1773
Sir Joshua Reynolds
Three Ladies Adorning a Term of Hymen 1773
Tate

Following the discovery of the Roman ruins of Pompeii and also the publication in 1764 of a highly influential history of ancient art by German scholar Winckelmann, there was an intense flourishing of classicism in art, architecture and design in the eighteenth century.

In Britain it can be seen in the paintings by Sir Joshua Reynolds, Benjamin West and James Barry and in sculpture in the work of John Flaxman, whose illustrations to Homer’s Odyssey particularly reflect this interest. Neoclassicism was also an important influence on architecture, particularly in Scotland (Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson) but also for example St George’s Hall, Liverpool; Euston Arch (demolished), and the British Museum, in London.

related terms and concepts

selected artists in the collection

selected artworks in the collection