The term classicism is used to describe art that makes reference to ancient Greek or Roman style

The terms classic or classical came into use in the seventeenth century to describe the arts and culture of the ancient civilisations of Greece and Rome. The following of the principles of these ancient civilisations in art, architecture and literature is referred to as classicism.

Classicism is generally associated with harmony and restraint, and obedience to recognized standards of form and craftsmanship.

From the Renaissance on, classicism dominated Western art, with classical mythology – consisting of the various myths and legends of the ancient Greek and Roman gods and heroes – becoming a major source of subject matter for history painting.

See also

Tate Etc

Five hundred years of British art: Tate Britain rehang I

Spread over twenty rooms, Tate Britain director Penelope Curtis’s vision for the extensive rehang hinges around a chronological display ...

Tate Paper

Reasoned Exhibitions: Blake in 1809 and Reynolds in 1813

This paper considers Blake’s 1809 exhibition in the light of the nascent practice of retrospective exhibitions and compares it ...


The Return of the Gods Study Afternoon

Sculptures of mythical characters by Canova, Flaxman, Deare and others were eagerly collected and exhibited by British connoisseurs. This Study ...
Tate Britain Exhibition

The Return of the Gods: Neoclassical Sculpture

28 Jan – 8 Jun 2008
Return of the Gods, Neoclassical sculpture in Britain, Tate Britain exhibition