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European Art: Neoclassicism  
page: 1  2  

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Neoclassicism as a style and movement was also applied to artworks in which the beauty of the male form played very little or no part at all. The French painter J. A. D. Ingres (1780-1867), for example, applied the characteristics of neoclassical line, voluptuous form, and grace to women.

Landscape painter Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes (1750-1819) used neoclassical principles of line and rational form to depict the pure landscape, while Claude-Nicolas Ledoux (1736-1806) and Étienne-Louis Boullée (1728-1799) did the same for architecture.

In interior design and the decorative arts, François Honoré-Georges Jacob (1770-1841) triumphed by combining the formal elements of neoclassicism with the fad for things Egyptian in the early nineteenth century.

In the graphic arts, the drawings and illustrations of the Englishman John Flaxman (1755-1826) made use of a purified linear contour that, although derived from designs on Greek vases, was applied to representations of both women and men.

In its emphasis on rationality and recovery of tradition, neoclassicism may seem antithetical to the anarchic spirit sometimes associated with our modern understanding of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and queer culture. Nevertheless, homoeroticism is a prominent presence in neoclassicism. It could hardly be otherwise given the movement's development of a masculine style, its appreciation of male beauty, and its privileging of ancient Greece and Rome as civilizations to be emulated.

James Smalls

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arts >> Overview:  Classical Art

Ancient Greek and Roman art represents a variety of homoerotic experience in several different ways.

arts >> Overview:  European Art: Eighteenth Century

During the eighteenth century, men whom we would now call homosexual, such as Johann Winckelmann, Horace Walpole, and William Beckford, were at the forefront of public taste, championing respectively the fresh interest in Classical, Gothic, and Oriental styles.

arts >> Overview:  European Art: Nineteenth Century

Several artists and art critics of the nineteenth century achieved a self-aware homosexual identity that is expressed in both their lives and their works, but lesbianism is only rarely depicted in terms of identity during this period.

arts >> Findlater, James Ogilvy, Earl of

James Ogilvy, the 7th Earl of Findlater and 4th Earl of Seafield, was an accomplished amateur landscape architect and philanthropist; after his death, scandal erupted when he was outed by his own relatives in Scotland.

literature >> Winckelmann, Johann Joachim

The art historian Johann Joachim Winckelmann, the first German to have been publicly acknowledged as a homosexual, developed an aesthetic deeply rooted in his homosexuality.


Crow, Thomas. Emulation: Making Artists for Revolutionary France. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1995.

Honour, Hugh. Neo-Classicism. New York: Penguin, 1977.


    Citation Information
    Author: Smalls, James  
    Entry Title: European Art: Neoclassicism  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated September 14, 2006  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2002, glbtq, Inc.  


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