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Art From Us MUSEUM GUIDE : Harvard Art Museums : Room 2220

Harvard Art Museums – Room 2220

Art From Us, Museum Guide #868

Art From Us presents a must-see Museum Guide daily, where we showcase specific artworks in specific museums – from across the globe. Today, for Art From Us, Museum Guide #868 the spotlight is on the Harvard Art Museums’ Room 2220. Showcasing a collection of Rococo and Neoclassicism in the Eighteenth Century

The three works in focus are :

Harriet Leavens (1802-1830), Ammi Phillips, c. 1815
Abigail Bromfield Rogers (Mrs. Daniel Denison Rogers) (1753-1791), John Singleton Copely, c.1784
Calliope Mourning Homer, Circle of Jacques-Louis David, 1812

The significance of the 3 works chosen for Art From Us, Museum Guide #868

This gallery showcases works from the two primary art movements that prevailed in Europe around the 1900s. These movements were Neoclassicism.

What is Rococo?

The digital catalogue of the Harvard Art Museums defines Rococo as:

“The term rococo is a combination of the French word rocaille—a style of ornament with an elaborate, often asymmetrical conflation of natural elements, especially plants, stones, and shells—and the Italian word barocco, which refers to the baroque style, characterized by exuberant ornamentation and dramatic action.”

Rococo artists found inspiration in nature. Their visual vocabulary consisted of elements that already existed in their natural environments. They simply drew out these decorative patterns and rendered them using highly theatrical curved lines. Opulence is at the core of the rococo aesthetic.

What is Neoclassicism?

The digital catalogue of the Harvard Art Museums explains Neoclassicism as :

“Neoclassicism, a style based on the art of ancient Greece and Rome, developed in tandem with archaeological excavations at Herculaneum and Pompeii toward the middle of the century.”

The artists of the mid 19th century simply adopted motifs they saw in the newly rediscovered Greek and Roman antiquity. The term ‘neo’ means ‘new’ and ‘classicism’ related to that which is classical.


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