|(Les Saisons by Art Nouveau artist Alfonse Mucha)|
|(The Lady of Shalott by John William Waterhouse)|
A certain romanticism surrounds the Classical and Middle Ages even today. Greek and Roman gods and creatures, Knights in shining armor, beautiful young maidens, and tales of honor and bravery were appealing to industrializing societies during the first part of the last half of the 19th Century. People were bewitched by a simpler age filled with myth and natural beauty. The artists of the Victorian Era who painted and sculpted in the Neoclassical style brought these ancient myths, legends and classic stories to life with their work. One of my favorite neoclassical artists in John William Waterhouse. Whenever I think of King Arthur, I imagine that legendary world in the style of Waterhouse: delicate, embellished, and somehow, real.
|(Hylas and the Nymphs by John William Waterhouse)|
|(Art Nouveau lady's broach)|
|(An advertisement for actress Sarah Bernhardt created by Mucha)|
Then there were the rebels; those that scoffed at the Mannerists and who wanted to return to a true reflection of nature in their paintings. They relied less on innovation than the Neoclassicists but also insisted on maintaining a classical subject focus. While their style mimicked that of an earlier "artistically purer" era, the Romanticism of the Victorian era is evident in their work. They may not have been interested in myth and whimsy for myth and whimsy's sake, but these guys were talented artists expressing the logic and scientific tendencies of their time period through their art. I particularly enjoy John Everett Millais and his paintings of Shakespearian characters.
|(Ophelia by John Everett Millais)|
|(Field of Poppies, by Claude Monet, 1880)|
|(Dancers by Auguste Renior)|
|(Starry Night over the Rhone, Vincent van Gogh)|
|(Untitled landscape by Paul Cezanne, 1870)|