Neoclassicism Vs Romanticism

Neoclassicism Vs Romanticism

The difference between neoclassicism and romanticism

Neoclassicism and romanticism are frequently viewed as reactionary movements that arose from different historical periods. The principle distinction between neoclassicism and romanticism is that neoclassicism focuses on objectivity, reason, and Intellect. While romanticism stresses on human creativity, nature, and emotions or feelings.

The romanticism movement has influenced various topics, styles, and themes. Neoclassicism pays respect to the old-style of Greece and Roman art periods. 

What is Romanticism in writing?

Romanticism in the writing usually focuses on an individual(s) and the creative aspect of the character as opposed to the current social norms. 

Neoclassicism Vs Romanticism Table 

Neoclassicism Vs Romanticism Table

What Is Neoclassicism?

Neoclassicism is a movement that drew motivation from the classical Greek/Roman age. The scholars of this period attempted to emulate the style of Greeks and Romans. Neoclassicism was a response against the renaissance, which was between 1660 and 1798.

Neoclassical Authors

  • John Milton
  • Alexander Pope
  • Voltaire
  • John Dryden
  • Jonathan Swift
  • Daniel Defoe

Neoclassicism depended on traditional topics: Structure, rationality, and objectivity were the primary highlights of neoclassical writing. These were old topics that neoclassical authors appreciated and endeavored to emulate. 

This Neoclassicism movement can be partitioned into three periods:

      • The Restoration Age (1660 to 1700): This period denotes the British King's rebuilding¬†their¬†position of authority.¬†
      • The Augustan Age (1700 to 1750): The Augustans accepted that their period was like that of Augustus Ceaser in Rome, which was a time of refinement and purity.¬†
      • The Age of Johnson (1750 to 1798): Also called the Age of Transition, this¬†period was set apart by the up and coming romantic beliefs which impacted the neoclassical standards to be more sentimental.¬†

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Neoclassical School

The School Of David - The Art School of Athens


The painting was painted by Italian Renaissance artist Raphael. However, it was created in a neoclassical style. 


Neoclassical art increased in popularity with the extraordinary painting of David's Oath of the Horatii which was displayed at the Paris Salon of 1785.

Oath of the Horatii by Jacques-Louis David

The painting caused a phenomenal reaction in the art world. David was declared as an neoclassical artists who accurately presented the characteristics of the Neoclassical style in his paintings. David is among one of the quintessential painters who helped develop and promote the neoclassical style. Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres was another Neoclassical painter who symbolically painted historical settings and was one of David's apprentices. Some of his works that incorporate the neoclassical style are: Virgil Reading to Augustus (1812), and Oedipus and the Sphinx (1864). Both David and Ingres utilized symbolism and fables in their neoclassical paintings during the eighteenth century. 

While some prominent art school like the Académie Française banished women from the Neoclassical style. David accepted that women were talented enough to learn the style and invited numerous women to be his understudies. Among the best were Marie-Guillemine Benoist, who in the end won commissions from the Bonaparte family; and Angélique Mongez, who got world wide recognition for her neoclassical style, especially in Russia.


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Female Neoclassical Artists

  • Marie-Guillemine Benoist
  • Ang√©lique Mongez

Did Neoclassicism Influence Romanticism?

No, the French Revolution influenced Romanticism. Romanticism was a rebellious movement against the social and political standards of the Age of Enlightenment.

Romanticism legitimized the individuals' creative mind as the basis of power. And gave the opportunity for artists to use Greek/Roman ideas of structure in their creativity.

Characteristics Of Neoclassicism

As stated before, the characteristics of Neoclassicism incorporate a focus on Greek and Roman folklore, historical subjects, and brave heroes. The influence of neoclassicism is evident in paintings, sculptures, and writings. Neoclassical arts: are characterized by clear purposeful lines, solid concrete structures, and rationality. 


Neoclassical Artists

Jacques-Louis David

Jacques-Louis David

The art of Jacques-Louis David thrived in France during the late eighteenth and mid-nineteenth hundreds. David's art was somewhat a response against the ornamental and flowery art of the Rococo movement. David drew inspiration from European historical figures and leaders. Such as King Louis XVI's execution during the French Revolution and the fall of Napoleon's rule.

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Jacques-Louis David Paintings 


Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres was a French painter who advocated neoclassicism during a period that saw the ascent of Romantic painters like Eugène Delacroix. He rendered compositions with exact shapes. Jupiter and Thetis (1811) is a classical painting by Ingres; and it showcases Ingres's eagerness to misshape the human figure and display the structure and organization that is rendered by neoclassicism.


Antonio Canova

Antonio Canova

Antonio Canova was an Italian Neoclassical sculptor, well known for his marble figures. Frequently viewed as one of the best of the Neoclassical artists, his style was enlivened by the Baroque movement.


William-Adolphe Bouguereau

William-Adolphe Bouguereau

William Adolphe Bouguereau was a French painter, best known for his pragmatist portrayals of human figures set inside a Neoclassical setting. Bouguereau learned at the √Čcole des Beaux-Arts. He endeavored to influence Renaissance painters like Titian, he was granted the esteemed price of Prix de Rome in 1850.¬†Bouguereau's life-sized oil paintings of fanciful accounts were profoundly expressive. With¬†definite¬†brushstrokes and a nuanced tonal style, his neoclassical art was a contradiction to his peers, the French Impressionists.

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Adolphe William Bouguereau Paintings

What Is Romanticism?

Romanticism is an abstract movement that started around 1789. The fundamental elements of this movement is its accentuation on the creative mind, subjectivity, inspiration, and human emotions. The Romantic movement drew motivation from Medieval and Baroque periods and its primary topics were nature, life, and love.

William Wordsworth who is an English Romantic poet describes this 'accentuation on the creative mind':

“Tis more to guide than spur the Muse’s Steed;
Restrain his Fury, than provoke his Speed;
The winged Courser, like a gen’rous Horse,
Shows most true Mettle when you¬†check¬†his Course‚ÄĚ

Below are some of the acclaimed scholars of the Romantic Movement. 

Romantic Writers

  • William Wordsworth
  • John Keats
  • Lord Byron
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • Walter Scott
  • Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • Mary Shelly
  • William Blake


German Sturm und Drang Movement

Romanticism was propelled by the German Sturm und Drang (Storm and Stress) movement, which valued instinct and feeling over realism. This proto-romantic movement began in Germany and paved the way for romanticism. It focused on writing, music, and human visual expressions. The movement underlined singular subjectivity. Sturm und Drang in the visual expressions can be seen in sketches of storms and wrecks demonstrating the reality fashioned by nature.


Romanticism Artists

William Blake

William Blake

Who is William Blake?

William Blake was a writer, painter, etcher, and a visionary. He attempted to create a change within the social class hierarchy and in the psyches of men. Throughout his lifetime most of his work was disregarded or rejected. However, he is now viewed as one of the main contributors to English poetry and art. Blake lived and worked in the overflowing city of London during a period of incredible social and political change that significantly affected his compositions. His visual artwork is now profoundly respected all over the world. 


Francisco Goya

Francisco Goya

Francisco Goya was a Spanish painter and printmaker. He is viewed as the most prominent Spanish artist of the late eighteenth and mid-nineteenth hundreds. He was extremely dedicated to his art, Goya is frequently alluded to as both an Old Master painter and one of the first modern artists. He was also an extraordinary portraitist. 

Francisco Goya Paintings



Eugène Delacroix

Eugène Delacroix

Eugène Delacroix was one of the most significant French Romantic painters. Delacroix was a lithographer, who outlined and depicted different works of William Shakespeare, the Scottish essayist Sir Walter Scott, and the German author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Delacroix was motivated by the art of Rubens and various painters of the Venetian Renaissance. Delacroix's utilization of expressive brushstrokes and his investigation of light when it comes to painting; and how it impacts shading, influenced Impressionist movement.

Eugene Delacroix Paintings 



Caspar David Friedrich

Caspar David Friedrich

Caspar David Friedrich was a German scenery painter and sketcher of the nineteenth-century. Friedrich is best known for his symbolic scenes, which highlight pensive figures outlined against night skies, morning fogs, trees, and Gothic remnants. His essential inspiration as an artist came from nature.

Caspar David Friedrich Paintings [German Romantic Landscape Artist]


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