Sculpture of classicism – description

The basis of classicism served the ancient art. However, in contrast to the Renaissance, classicism adopted only the external form. It was all about the decorative component. The sculpture of the classical period was intended to decorate the interior of the house, ideal as a specimen, and a perfect delight to the eye. At the same time, the content of many of the sculptures is of a civic and Patriotic nature, inherent in all classicism.

The subjects of sculpture were much the same as Greek and Roman mythology, there is a blatant replica of the works of the ancient masters, which are dominated by the work of the Hellenistic period.

In the works of sculptors, especially in a public setting, praised military prowess, bravery and devotion to duty.

The allegorical sculptures were also popular (which brings in content from a different direction in art – Baroque).

The ancient tradition involves the depiction of nudity, and morals of the 18th century were not allowed to do it. The resolution of this contradiction was found is simple: the generals and statesmen of the sculptors represented in the form of ancient gods in full battle gear. The female sculptures are also “dressed” in the tunic. Later public figures portrayed in Roman togas.

Widespread tombstones in the form of sculptures. This was due to the fact that about major cities began to form a public cemetery. The tombstones are static, emotional paucity. As a sample of the wizard choose the best sculpture of the archaic.

The fashion for classicism was pan-European, so many Russian sculptors worked in this direction.

Among the most famous artists of classicism in sculpture by the Italian sculptor Antonio Canova. During his lifetime he was compared with the ancient sculptors. His work was distinguished by an extraordinary elegance, fluidity of form and decorative effect.


The work of Canova adorn the Louvre, the Hermitage and the square several Italian cities. The most famous sculpture: Napoleon Bonaparte (the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan), Cupid and Psyche (Louvre), the Three graces (Hermitage).


Despite the popularity and impeccable artistic reputation, critics accused the sculptor in distraction of images and poses of decoration.

Sculpture of Napoleon is still a matter of controversy critics. Some consider it an example of following ancient tradition, the Emperor is depicted in a miniature of Zeus with the goddess Nike on the palm of your hand. Others say too much “prettiness” of the statue, the violation of the tradition of the proportions of the male body in favor of striking pose and the exaggerated supremacy of the image.


Among Russian sculptors of the classicism, one of the most famous was Fedot Shubin, whose sculptural portraits gained fame not only in Russia but throughout Europe. Most famous work: portraits of Potemkin and Rumyantsev, Orlov and Golitsyn. The appearance of the great Lomonosov, many also know chubinskogo portrait. Turned the master and to the images of the monarchs, he created a portrait of Catherine the great and Paul the First.


Certainly the classical style is the work of Ivan Martos, whose work (Minin and Pozharsky and the Duke of Richelieu) known to everyone.


Late classicism acquires a certain coldness of images, increasing the decorative component and sentimentalism. Among the masters of the late epoch undoubted leadership belongs to the Bertel Thorvaldsen, the sculptor from Denmark. His work is a monument to Copernicus (Warsaw), statues of apostles (Cathedral of Copenhagen), Ganymede feeding the eagle (thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen) – undoubtedly the work of talented and highly artistic. Master entered the history of art as one of the most prolific sculptors. Orders came to him from all parts of the Old world. But on closer examination, you notice that most of his works, monuments, headstones, portraits done in a very “superficial”.

Flawless from a technical point of view, the work of Thorvaldsen is inherently shallow, and devoid of the ideological foundations of classicism. Master perfectly mastered form, but the content of his work leaves no impression.

Giving way to other trends in art, classicism’ve been back and became fashionable, though in a somewhat modified form.