What Is Neoclassicism Anyway?

We always hear this, but does anyone know what it means? We skimmed the Net for a bit and this is what we deduced.

– In the olden days, Greece was considered a dangerous place so no one ever went there. WEIRD!

– People like Greek Art and Mythology, but did not know the exact facts because they were afraid to explore Greece!

– So they IMAGINED it! – So the next time we don’t want to DO something, we’ll just IMAGINE how we would do it if we did it!! LOL

According to the Art Historian, Johann Joachim Winckelmann, Neoclassicism in one way is the idealism of Greek Art: “Johann Joachim Winckelmann’s works are essential to understanding the European discovery of Greece, even if in his writings Greece appeared at times in an idealized form. His work is also essential in understanding neoclassicism and its doctrine of imitation. As for the latter, Johann Joachim Winckelmann’s mimetic understanding of art claimed not for simple imitation but for idealization.” http://www.egs.edu/library/johann-joachim-winckelmann/biography/

-We think we have figured it out – you can talk about neoclassicism at any point on the timeline of life, because it just refers to whatever the speaker wants it to refer to, therefore, it keeps reinventing itself. Here is a quote to support our theory!

“Writing this book I learned that both kinds emerged from the same primal soup, from Western Europe’s repeated efforts to reinvent itself by returning to classical antiquity. The last thing I had in mind at the start was to rewrite the history of neoclassicism, but that is precisely what this book proposes – that we think of neoclassicism not as a single movement, but as a wave of interrelated movements that sometimes further and sometimes retard one another.” http://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/book/toc/14269.html

– We’ve noticed this word, “neoclassicism”, is used a lot in the description of art or furniture to appear fashionable. (And now we know why — because it can refer to whatever the describer wants it to!)

– Back in the olden days, the word was used in literature first, then made its way to visual. We just googled when these ‘olden days’ were: 1660 and ended in 1800.

– So once again, the word can be used for every style of furniture, because styles are usually reinvented and/or imitated over and over and over again!

These are our own reflections and may be completely wrong, although we believe it will give us secondhandjunkies a little idea. If anyone out there has a different opinion or correction – let’s discuss! 🙂

Cheers!
Andrea and Michelle

P.S. Mimetic means: Relating to, constituting, or habitually practicing mimesis.
P.P.S. Mimesis means: Respresentation or imitation of the real world in art and literature.
P.P.P.S. Hey, so Neoclassicism means, not necessarily to imitate something, but to make an idealized version of it!
P.P.P.P.S We still don’t really understand what Neoclassicism means? Does anybody know??

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