Began 18th century developed through 19th century.


Looks to Classical Greek Sculpture from 5th Century BC and Classical architecture from the Italian High Renaissance.

The word 'Classical' was frequently used in opposition to the word 'Baroque' when describing different styles during the 17th Century.

Leading international style of the 2nd half of the 18th century. Revolutionized architecture from the late 1750s. Patrons and designers looked at the art and architecture of Ancient Greece and Rome for inspiration. Archaeological discoveries started in late 30ís at Herculaneum and Pompeii, near Naples stimulated new ideas.

A breaking away from the Mannerist concern with "submitting decoration to order."1 

French Classicism is not Academicism which is characterized by "too thoroughly subjugated to rules, paralyzing transport and imagination, and hence a mere caricature of true Classicism."1

French Classicism

Richelieu (1624-1642) and Mazarin (1642-1661)
The painting of Poussin and Philippe de Champaigne
The philosophy of Descartes, the religious thought of Pascal, and the tragedies of Corneille
The architecture of Jacques de Mercier (Church of the Sorbonne), Francois Mansart (Hotel Lambert, Paris and Maisons-Lafitte), and Louis le Vau (Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte). "Using a rich but controlled vocabulary, clearing organizing masses by underlining the essential, they were for more than a century, to define the criteria of an 'architecture a la francaise', both experienced and innovative."1 
Examples in sculpture include funerary momuments, Jacques Sarrazin who decorated Mansart's edifices, created the caryatids of the Louvre Pavillion de l'Horloge, and whose students decorated the gardens of Versailles

British Architects

The style was introduced by Robert Adam, William Chambers, and James Stuart, all whom studied in Rome. Designers inspired by two types of classical objects. They used the antique vase for all sorts of vessels from coffee pots to stoves, and classical tripod altars became models for candle stands and candelabra.

Lecture at the Victoria & Albert Museum October 2002 on 18th Century British Sculpture

Made from marble, lead, terrcota, bronze. Terracota used as a prep for most sculpture.

Took awhile for galleries to be set up for sculpture. Garden sculpture one main venue. Not finished, exposed.

Gardens at Stowe have allegorical/political meaning. 1720/30ís Classically oriented, use of mythology, but a Britishness celebrated in a Temple of Saxon dieties.

Risebrack (sp?) from the Netherlands, worked Britian:  King akin to Jupiter. Suna akin to Apollo

1730ís: His rival Roubiliac, French, was a little more Rococo.



1)    Musee d'Louvre. 2003 (Poussin Folder)
Victoria & Albert Museum, London. 2002.