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classicism

Subject: Literature

1. The classical aesthetic ideals of simplicity, form, order, harmony, balance, clarity, decorum, restraint, serenity, unity, and proportion—together with an emphasis on ...

Classicism

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The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
Art & Architecture
Length:
63 words

... A confusing term, most often used as the antithesis of Romanticism and implying an adherence to certain fixed ideals or rules in art, as opposed to freedom of individual expression. For example, in the 19th century J. A. D. Ingres ( 1780–1867 ) was often upheld as the champion of Classicism in comparison to the arch-Romantic Eugène Delacroix ( 1798–1863...

classicism

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World Encyclopedia

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2004
Subject:
Encyclopedias
Length:
69 words

... Art history term used to describe both an aesthetic attitude and an artistic tradition. The artistic tradition refers to the classical antiquity of Greece and Rome, its art, literature and criticism, and the subsequent periods that looked back to Greece and Rome for their prototypes, such as the Carolingian Renaissance , Renaissance , and neo-classicism . Its aesthetic use suggests the classical characteristics of clarity, order, balance, unity, symmetry, and...

classicism

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The Oxford Companion to Western Art

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2003
Subject:
Art & Architecture
Length:
933 words

...and permitting the paradox of ‘Romantic Classicism’ (better called Romantic Neoclassicism). And once it had been unbuilt, the canon could never be re-established with its old authority: ‘classicism’ became a style among other styles. However, Neoclassicism may produce oddities, which classicism cannot do. In modern usage the notion of ‘classicism’ has become further bedevilled by the free use of the word ‘classic’: an early Marvel comic, for example, might be called ‘classic’ and so become an example to follow. Classicism, however, is not simply the pursuit of...

classicism

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The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013
Subject:
Literature
Length:
311 words

...the classical age of French and Spanish drama. Classicism denotes a particular commitment to and celebration of the lasting value of the Greek and Roman heritage, usually accompanied by or implying some disparagement of subsequent literary achievements and traditions. This critical position commonly favours such values as harmony, proportion, balance, decorum, and restraint, deploring the less regulated products of the vernacular modern literatures. While classicism is a critical position or unstated aesthetic preference, the applied imitation of Greek and Roman...

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A Dictionary of Philosophy (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Philosophy
Length:
147 words

... The aesthetic and cultural perspective guided by admiration for what are perceived as classical qualities: order, maturity, harmony, balance, moderation. The central models for works striving to achieve these qualities are the literary, artistic, and architectural works of ancient Greece and Rome. In the 18th century the pursuit of these ideals became codified in terms of rules of decorum deriving from Aristotle ’s Poetics and Horace ’s Art of Poetry . The Augustan age in England stretched from the time of Dryden to the middle of the 18th century,...

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A Dictionary of Media and Communication (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2020
Subject:
Media studies
Length:
74 words

... 1. The classical aesthetic ideals of simplicity, form , order, harmony, balance , clarity, decorum, restraint, serenity, unity, and proportion—together with an emphasis on reason. The term is not limited in its application to art of the classical period. As an adherence to artistic rules, the antithesis of romanticism ’s emphasis on individual creative expression . 2. Art or literature echoing elements of the styles of ancient Greece or Rome. ...

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The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015

...), or both. As a literary doctrine, classicism holds that the writer must be governed by rules, models, or conventions, rather than by wayward inspiration: in its most strictly codified form in the 17th and 18th centuries ( see neo-classicism ), it required the observance of rules derived from Aristotle ’s Poetics (4th century bce ) and Horace ’s Ars Poetica ( c .20 bce ), principally those of decorum and the dramatic unities . The dominant tendency of French literature in the 17th and 18th centuries, classicism in a weaker form also characterized...

Classicism

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The Oxford Dictionary of Architecture (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2021
Subject:
Art & Architecture
Length:
983 words

...down to its elements, and free of excess, evolved. This stark Neo-Classicism was widespread in the 1920s and 1930s, notably in Scandinavia, France, and the USA, but it was also found in Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, and the Soviet Union, which gained it opprobrium in spite of the fact that it had many distinguished practitioners in the democracies. In recent times elements of Classicism have reappeared in the disparate architecture that has been categorized as anything from New Classicism to Post-Modernism . J.Curl ( 2001 ) ; P & W ( 1990 ) ; Pn ( 1982...

Classicism

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The Oxford Companion to Italian Literature

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2005
Subject:
Literature
Length:
448 words

... refers in a strict sense to works influenced by the texts of Graeco-Roman antiquity, but in a broad sense to works informed by the qualities thought to typify ancient literature: balance, restraint, conformity with rules. Much of the Italian literary canon even down to modern and postmodern times continues a dialogue with ancient texts, so that in that first sense nearly every period of Italian literature displays classical influence (though Latin influences predominate over Greek influences). As for classicism in the broad sense of balance and...

classicism

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The Oxford Dictionary of Art (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2004
Subject:
Art & Architecture
Length:
477 words

... . Term describing the spirit of order, clarity, and harmony traditionally associated with the art of ancient Greece and Rome. With the related words ‘classic’ and ‘classical’, it is used in various (and often confusing) ways in the history and criticism of the arts. In its broadest sense, classicism is used as the opposite of Romanticism , characterizing art in which adherence to recognized aesthetic ideals is accorded greater importance than individuality of expression. In this sense, Alberti defined beauty in architecture as ‘the harmony and...

Classicism

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Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2005
Subject:
History, modern history (1700 to 1945)
Length:
2,311 words

... . Western culture has swung from classicism to romanticism (broadly defined) and back again. Classicism stands for tradition, calm, reason, objectivity, proportion, and order; romanticism represents originality, energy, emotion, subjectivity, and wildness. Early seventeenth century metaphysical poets like John Donne manifest “romantic” tendencies, and John Dryden and Alexander Pope the classical sensibility. In the Baroque period, elements of both combined in exquisite tension. Classicism looks to the world of ancient Greece and Rome for its...

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The Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2007
Subject:
Classical studies, History
Length:
218 words

... The modern use of ‘classicism’ to refer either to the art and literature of a period held to represent a peak of quality, or to the conscious imitation of works of such a period, derives from Cornelius Fronto 's use of classicus (lit. ‘belonging to the highest class of citizens’) to denote those ancient writers whose linguistic practice is authoritative for imitators. The possibility of designating a period as ‘classical’, and of the consequent appearance of ‘classicizing’ movements, arises with the Hellenistic consciousness of the present as set...

classicism

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Philip Russell Hardie

The Oxford Classical Dictionary (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2012
Subject:
Classical studies, History
Length:
316 words

... The modern use of ‘classicism’ to refer either to the art and literature of a period held to represent a peak of quality or perfection, or to the conscious imitation of works of such a period, derives from M. Cornelius Fronto 's use of classicus (lit. ‘belonging to the highest class of citizens’) to denote those ancient writers whose linguistic practice is authoritative for imitators (quoted in Gell . NA 19. 8. 5). The possibility of designating a period as ‘classical’, and of the consequent appearance of ‘classicizing’ movements, arises with the...

Classicism

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Thomas Pavel

Encyclopedia of Aesthetics (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2014
Subject:
Art & Architecture, Philosophy
Length:
3,572 words

... . In contrast with modern artistic terms such as Romanticism, Futurism, or Surrealism, which were invented by artists eager to proclaim the novelty of their practice, Classicism has rarely been used as a self-designating label. When it describes an aesthetic program, the appellation “Classicism” is applied retroactively by sympathizers, adversaries, or historians. It follows that, to grasp the content of the term, one must examine the contexts in which it has acquired its meaning. Set off against the art of the moderns, Classicism designates an...

Classicism

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The Grove Encyclopedia of Medieval Art and Architecture

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013
Subject:
Art & Architecture, History, Early history (500 CE to 1500)
Length:
2,137 words
Illustration(s):
1

...so classicism has changed its focus to accommodate them. A medieval or Renaissance or 20th-century work therefore may be classical because it constitutes a distant response to the artistic or literary ethos of the Greeks and the Romans. Far from being dictated only by antique example, classicism reflects changing perceptions of the value of the past by contemporary cultures. Each generation’s classicism is cumulative—a data bank of ideas, forms, and motifs based on contributions made by previous centuries. Hence certain powerful restatements of classicism...

Classicism

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Encyclopedia of Aesthetics

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2008
Subject:
Art & Architecture, Philosophy
Length:
3,465 words

... In contrast with modern artistic terms such as Romanticism, Futurism, or Surrealism, which were invented by artists eager to proclaim the novelty of their practice, Classicism has rarely been used as a self-designating label. When it describes an aesthetic program, the appellation Classicism is applied retroactively by sympathizers, adversaries, or historians. It follows that, in order to grasp the content of the term, one must examine the contexts in which it has acquired its meaning. Set off against the art of the moderns, Classicism designates an...

Classicism

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Caroline Winterer

The Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of the American Enlightenment

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015

...architecture, and letters, it is most useful to see classicism as a series of discrete sites (colleges, libraries, etc.) and discourses (aesthetic, political, social). Americans did not just receive classicism: they used it as a tool to make new and revolutionary claims. In other words, Enlightenment Americans were not only classical but “classicizing,” actively using various parts of Greco-Roman antiquity in the service of thoroughly modern agendas. Schools and colleges were the bulwarks of American classicism during the Enlightenment, educating some of the...

Classicism

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The New Oxford Companion to Literature in French

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2005
Subject:
Literature
Length:
1,584 words

... 1. Legend and Counter‐Legend The words classicisme and classique are applied to many periods, from antiquity to the early 20th c. of Gide and Valéry , thus implying the existence of an eternal classicism, opposed to an eternal romanticism or baroque . The terms are most used, however, of the literature of the second half of the 17th c., though the âge classique may be seen as extending well into the 18th c. ‘ Neoclassicism ’, often used as a synonym by English‐speaking writers, is best kept for the quite different artistic movement of the...

classicism

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Ulrich Gehn

The Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2018

... Modern concept used to describe a style in the fine arts which uses the formal language of the Graeco-Roman past, considered as a model aesthetically, and even ethically for the values it encodes (such as rationality and clarity). ‘Classical’ art is characterized by a fondness for three-dimensional images, the ‘naturalistic’ (if often highly idealized) treatment of organic forms, and the creation of spatial illusion in two-dimensional media. New aesthetic values (influenced by political, religious, and social change) emerged in Late Antiquity,...

Classicism

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Caroline Winterer

The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Cultural and Intellectual History

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013

... “Classicism” is an English-language word coined around 1600 that refers to an admiration for the totality of the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome, including politics, art, architecture, education, and literature. The ancient Greeks and Romans had no equivalent to our words “classical” or “classicism”: they did not lump together Greece and Rome to the exclusion of all other ancient civilizations. Rather, these words were coined in English as a way to describe the ongoing modern effort to recover what was authentically ancient about the Greeks and...

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