Absolutism In The Neoclassical Era

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Throughout the Neoclassical period (1765-1830), traditional absolutism declined and caused other forms of government such as a republic and an enlightened monarchy to emerge and affect the main elements of Neoclassical art. Rather than a traditional absolute monarchy where the monarch had the power to freely rule their land without laws, an enlightened monarchy emerged. Enlightened monarchies emphasized edification, promoted religious tolerance, the liberation of speech, and the right to hold private property while a republic consisted of an elected executive and representatives that governed over a sovereign state. Under the absolute rule of Louis XVI between 1775 and 1793, France became the birthplace of the Enlightenment. Voltaire and Denis…show more content…
The revival of earlier ideas from these ancient civilizations began to take place as early as 1760 in European countries including Austria, Italy, and Belgium. These ideas originally developed between 8th century BCE and 600 ACE directly coincided with the expansion of the newly founded importance of philosophy and the philosophes in France that surfaced throughout the age of Enlightenment (Honour 17-25). Salons established throughout France offered the opportunity for individuals to gain influence and elevated the status of women since they owned the majority of the coffeehouses (Blanning 75). Similarly, the Scientific Revolution revealed advancement in better understanding of the physical world and its laws. Scientists like Copernicus and Galileo began to question dogmas instituted by the Church and undermined its influence. The Copernican theory, although true, contradicted the beliefs of the Church even while supported with evidence. Throughout this time period, the people steered away from the religion and the Church as a result of the Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolution. However, an egalitarian society did not form. While the Scientific Revolution furthered human understanding, it did not favor a society based on equality and it deemed women as “weaklings” (Blanning 75). The political and social elements of this era later created a familiar Neoclassical style similar to famous works produced in ancient Greece and Rome. During the Neoclassical era, Angelica Kauffman’s Ferdinand IV, King of Naples and His Family, Antonio Canova’s Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss, and Tilman-François Suys’ Royal Palace of Brussels reflected the revival of ancient Greek and Roman ideas, a new religious tolerance, and a newly developed enlightened monarchy.
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