(1 st Q) Poussin's "Holy Family on the Steps (1648) " and Rubens' "Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus (c. 1620) ", these two contrasting styles picture influenced to art of the late 18 th - early 19 th each way. Poussin's "Holy Family on the Steps", this is a classical style picture. The beautiful architecture is placed in the background. The architectures and sculptures are from Roman style. The human figures wear classic clothes with natural color.
Sculpture relief is inclined to be a same plane. Horizontal and vertical lines tend to construct a mathematical formation. All human figures make a big triangle and each small group makes some small triangles in the big triangle. So the triangles create a balance com positionally. And two women look at each other diagonally.
Two babies also look at each other diagonally, and they are a kind of precision in the composition. Synthetically, the picture is a stable, symmetrical and concise composition. And there is a stiff composition, even though some slight movement is appeared. Rubens' "Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus" is painted with the subject from Greek-Rome mythology. The composition is very different with the Poussin's picture, briefly.
One woman is twisting and the other woman is like airborne. Two women do not overlap. This scene likes chaos. Those movements make tensions and excitements. The power of movement is the salient traits of the picture. The picture's brushstroke that seems to be his gesture of power on the canvas is heavy.
The emotional feeling oozes through the powerful movement. Neo-classicism artist, David is coming out of Poussin. Delacroix is, who comes out of Rubens, the great leader of Romanticism. These 19 th century styles, Neoclassicism and Romanticism, are based on 17 th century.
The two 17 th-century styles tend to parallel each other to 19 th century. And each style influences Neoclassicism and Romanticism, separately. Poussin is exemplified in classicism principles and static principles. These backgrounds also influenced to Neoclassicism. In the neoclassicism picture, a stable, symmetrical and concise composition is like a fundamental notion. A triangle is an important source to make picture well balanced.
In the Romanticism style, heavy brushstrokes, emotional scene, power of movements and diagonal composition are important characteristic like Rubens's style. And some figures come from Rubens'. For instance, in the Delacroix's "the Death of Sardanapalus", the twisted woman and the horse is similar to Rubens' figures. (2 nd Q) 'History painting' has a strong educational character. So the picture is not only scene representing actual historical events, but also to scenes from legend and literature of a morally instructive kind. The history, which is told in picture making by artists, is treated in a suitably grand and noble way.
And the subject matter comes from out of artist's mind. In academic theory, history painting was considered the highest branch of art. Benjamin West's "Death of General Wolfe (1770) " and David's "Battle of the Sabines (1799) " are the good example for history paintings. In this period, painting had to be didactic and serve a moral purpose in society. "Death of General Wolfe" represents the battle between France and Great Britain in Canada.
And when this picture is painted, the Royal academy, which is in London, is just founded at that time. Benjamin West was a historical painter for George 3 who founded the Royal academy. The subject matter comes from a recent history. It is focused on contemporary hero. It is grand style of history painting. There is the sense of distance between front layer and back layer.
The costumes are recent style. Furthermore, the scene is realistic. Even he represented the smoke behind figures. "Battle of the Sabines" represents the moment that a few years after the legendary abduction, when the women, who can be both wives and mothers, stop the progress of a battle between their Roman husbands and the Sabine men who have come on an unnecessary rescue mission. The subject matter comes from an ancient history. In this period, the French revolution was happened in 1789.
This picture is painted well to incite the people to have a revolution spirit. The relief of the human figures is inclined to be a same plane. The horizontal composition is the evidence of neoclassicism. The heroin's costume is classic and male figures are nude. David is inspired by the idea that the Greek represented its heroes in nude. He painted it more morally than physical.
In addition, David didn't concentrate on the masculine beauty. He striped away anything that was unnecessary, and then David represented heroic simplicity. (3 rd Q) Neo-Classicism is the influential movement in European art in the late 18 th and early 19 th centuries. It is characterized by a desire to recreate the heroic spirit and the ornaments of the art of Greece and Rome. After the discoveries at Pompeii and Herculaneum, a new and more scientific interest in classical antiquity was one of the features of the movement, and it is also seen as a reaction against the light-hearted and frivolous Rococo style.
In the David's "Oath of the Horatio (1785) ", neo-classicism styles appear at important points. In the subject matter, this picture describes the ancient early Rome where was the republic, not the empire. So republicanism appears in the picture. The subject matter is important things for moral education in neo-classicism.
This picture's scene is kind of an educational drama. Each figure makes some triangles, and each triangle makes an opposition of sense of movement going different direction. So the picture's weight is uniform. Behind of the figures, the three arches divide the whole picture into three equal parts. So the picture becomes three different parts but they are unified together. Therefore, the whole picture is very well balanced and differences tend to create the sense of harmony.
And then, the background is very shallow space. The male figures' muscle is very realistic. Each person wear Roman style clothes which is adorned with natural color. Fragonard's "Swing", this is a Rococo style picture. The scene is represented in the beautiful forest, a woman is on a swing and an old man, who looks like her husband, is pushing it behind. Front of her, a man, who looks like her boyfriend, hides in a thicket and look at inside of her skirt.
The whole scene is painted by beautiful color. Sculptures, costumes and most things in the picture are gorgeous. These things make the picture is like a dream. However, the inside story is the period's lifestyle which is a dissipation and a sexual disorder. In this period, the subject matter is only about an aristocracy.
Therefore the peculiarity of Rococo style picture is very esoteric style. Greuze's "Broken Eggs", this picture's background is the culture of the countryside. The scene is represented in the timber house, a young girl sit down and broken eggs are side by her. Behind her, a man and an old lady are standing up, and the old lady get angry. At the right side, a young child stands up. This group makes a triangle and it helps the picture well balanced.
This picture is not Rococo style. Because of the background and the composition. Nonetheless, it is also not the Neoclassicism style. The woman's shape comes from Rococo style.
Furthermore, the subject matter is not for education. The broken eggs are suggestive things. It means like 'broken virgin' or something happened between the man and woman. And the child could be their future baby. So the picture's story is erotic which is never being Neoclassicism style. Therefore, this picture is in a time of transition from Rococo style to Neoclassicism style..