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Art From Us MUSEUM GUIDE : The Metropolitan Museum of Art : Gallery 553

The MET : Gallery 553 : Neoclassicism and the Empire Style, 1750–1830

Art From Us, Museum Guide #657

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 #657 the spotlight is on the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) NY’s Gallery 553. Showcasing a collection of Neoclassicism and the Empire Style, 1750–1830.

The three works in focus are :

  1. Monumental Vase, Pierre Philippe Thomire, 19th century.
  2. Coin Cabinet, designed by Charles Percier, ca. 1809-19.
  3. Panel with mythological scenes, ca. 1790.

The significance of the 3 works chosen for Art From Us, Museum Guide #657

The objects and artifacts of this gallery are influenced by the Neoclassical vocabulary and the Empire style. They were produced predominantly between the late 18th to early 19th centuries

What is Neoclassicism?

Neoclassicism refers to a tradition of aesthetics that originated in Europe.

Classicism refers to the artistic style (both visual and literary) founded in ancient Rome and Greece. Neoclassicism on the other hand refers to the arts produced at a later date, which was inspired and influenced by Classical style.

The late 18th century saw the archeological discovery of the Roman sites of Herculaneum and Pompeii. This arguably fueled the interest in classicism that developed at the time.

What is the Empire Style?

Empire Style refers to the artistic vocabulary of the French Empire that flourished under Napoleon’s regime. It was inspired by the classical stylization of Egypt and Rome.

According to the Metropolitan Museum, “The initial, rather literal, dependence on classical decoration gradually became more creative. In the early nineteenth century, Napoleon favored a more formal Neoclassical style heavily indebted to architecture, and intended to evoke France’s association with imperial Rome and conquest of Egypt. Napoleon’s power ensured the spread of the so-called “French Empire style” to all corners of Europe.”


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