Neoclassicism was the favourite style of Napoleon and Thomas Jefferson, and made Josiah Wedgwood's fortune. The period of Neoclassicism in the visual arts - from 1750 to 1830 - was an age of Classical revival, when the civilization of ancient Greece and Rome was held as a Golden Age to be studied and emulated. The Neoclassicists went directly to antiquity itself at a time when archaeologists were making fresh discoveries and unearthing a Classical treasure trove. Enthusiasm was such that Neoclassicism became the most pervasive style in the history of European art, deployed in the design of houses, churches, museums, shops and items of daily use ranging from teapots to textiles.
This book is the first study of Neoclassicism to embrace all manifestations of the style, not only the movement's broad territorial scope, but also its versatility in every branch of art, from the fine to the utilitarian. The book concludes with the survival of the style beyond 1830 up to the present day. David Irwin's lively text provides unique insight into the richness and variety of this most fertile style. The illustrations mix the famous with the unfamiliar, providing visually exciting evidence of this diversity.