This essay will discuss what is Enlightenment followed by the impact of the Enlightenment upon on art. A movement occurred in 17th and 18th centuries that emphasises reason and individualism rather than tradition in Europe which is known as Enlightenment (Oxford Living Dictionaries, n. d. ). The art form and style change from Rococo to Neoclassic, showing the impact of religion on art would be challenged. The formation of the art academy is influenced by the idea of efficiency, standardising the form of the art and skill which improve the efficiency of the art production.
The impact of the Enlightenment will be illustrated through three examples which are the Oath of the Horatii, The Apotheosis of Homer and Experiment on a Bird in an Air Pump The Enlightenment was a self-conscious movement in the field of science, technology and philosophy. The 17th-century philosophers such as Descartes and Newton have heavily influenced this movement (Oxford Living Dictionaries, n. d. ). Enlightenment would be a single history to be either condemned or celebrated, when Enlightenment is considered in the context of modernity, a unitary and universal phenomenon (Pocock, 1997).
However, instead of a family of discussion arising about the same time in a number of European cultures such as not only Protestant but also Catholic, and certainly not all occasioned by the Parisian intellectual hegemony that sought to establish itself among them (Pocock, 1997). This view reiterates the diversity of cultures, national or state, in a Europe presenting itself at the end of the twentieth century as a cultural homogenization bent on the destruction of both states and nations; in resisting this aggression, the study of Enlightenment discourses looks for maintaining the open society by articulating he diversity of voices within it (Pocock, 1997).
The Enlightenment can be separate into two aspects which are radical thinking and achieve a balance between reason and tradition and broadly supporting the status quo, and a variety of emotional and individual response (Israel, 2010, p. 19) (Sweetman, 2007, p. 288). A more ‘representative’ and more ‘republican’ European states were gradually formed, through their assemblies, laws, and institutions (Israel, 2010, p. 6).
Enlightenment thinking is affected by the development of, as a number of Enlightenment thinkers and writers came from the background in the sciences. Scientific method is associated with Enlightenment. This develop the open and doubtful thought within the society (Walsh, 1993). One of the most important publications of during that time would be Encyclopaedia, which has been thought as the representation of the thought of Enlightenment, published between 1751 and 1772 in France. This standardises the way of learning and is intended to educate the general public and future generations.
The Enlightenment thought played an important role in the French revolution. The influence of Enlightenment thinking on religion would be the concept of separation of church and state. The impact of Enlightenment thinking on art can be addressed in the following ways to start with, art form which can be seen as a continuation of the Renaissance time, which turns back to the Roman style. Furthermore, the absorption of new discoveries reflects on the art (Sweetman, 2007, p. 288). Finally, the establishment of the Academy.
Neoclassicism was a child of Enlightenment, the philosophers believed that the destinies can be controlled by learning the law of nature (McChoy, n. d. ) Although it represents a new and more politically-charged spirit, continuing the connection to the classical tradition signified moderation and rational thinking (Gersh-Nesic, n. d. ). Clarity of form, sober colours, shallow space, strong horizontal and verticals are the characteristic of neoclassic (Gersh-Nesic, n. d. ). The Oath of the Horatii is painted by Jacques-Louis David in 1784.
He chose the Roman history as the background o represent a heroic story. On the left hand side of the picture, the three brothers swear to the father that they will protect the country or die, and the right hand side, there are women who fear of the worst situation to happen. The Oath of the Horatii is the first masterpiece of a different style, breaking with the rococo style (Louvre, n. d. ). The story of the oath is told by David, who organise all the figures in the painting stand or sit in front of the roman atrium dominated by three arches (Louvre, n. d. ).
The three roman arches at the back that keeps our attention focused on the main action (Louvre, n. d. ) and also cohesive to the three men who make the oath. Furthermore, the three Roman arches separate this piece of work into three sections. The first section on the left is the three brothers who oath to protect the homeland. The middle section is the old father who is on a platform and one arm outstretched. Then the right hand section is the group of women who sit at the steps. These set out the emphasis on the architecture which indicates that the rationality within David’s mind.
The theoretical foundation is added into the formal structure of the Academy (Boime, 1971, p. 3). The course based on two principles which are antique and a circumspect selection of nature (Boime, 1971). The preliminary stage in the artistic education is retained by the Academy (Boime, 1971). Academic arts are bounded to the classics to look to nature for permanence and ideal order (Sweetman, 2007). Ingres painted The Apotheosis of Homer in 1827.
He studied at the Royal Academy and is one of the most famous students of David and he is also seen as the successor of David (Louvre, n. . ). Ingres adheres to academic style such as the emphasis of highly finished surfaces and the clear demarcation of forms and contours, building his acclaim (Mora, 2000). From the arrangement of this piece that Ingres chose the horizontal perspective instead of the vertical perspective which is favoured by Baroque even though the painting was intended for a ceiling (Louvre, n. d. ). He painted this to decorate the ceiling as a royal commission that he received in 1826 (Louvre, n. d. ). The composition of The Apotheosis of Homer is symmetrical, retaining the classical format.
All the people group in front of a Roman temple, keeping with the subject of painting which celebrates classical artists. Despite the fact that his interpretation of academic classicism through his choice of subject matter and distortion of space and form as well as maintaining what was central to David which is the type of control, order and balance, he renown persisted (Mora, 2000). The modern linear style was dissatisfied by Delacroix who is a French romantic painter, with several reasons (Mora, 2000).
He believes a false notion of classicism has been given by the art from David and Ingres, and the Academy and the teaching from them as well as led to a misguided use of the antique (Mora, 2000). Classicism had meaning as a philosophy of art and a canon of value is believed by Delacroix (Mora, 2000). In conclusion, the Academic and Neoclassic art are influence by the Roman art, and it is inherited from the Renaissance period, which is dignified by the composition and the use of colour. The art is also influenced by the development of science and technology.
For example, Experiment on a Bird in an Air Pump, an oil on canvas painting painted by Joseph Wright in 1768. The painting is showing that the bird was panicking about the withdrawal from the vessel through the pump. A lay audience, including men, women and children, gathered together to watch the early experiment which is performed by the longhaired scientist, showing air is vital to life (Schlick, 2005).
The observer has different emotions towards the experiment, including the negative emotions such as frightening ad anxiety (two young irls) and the positive emotions such as admiring and willing to absorbing scientific knowledge (the young and middle aged gentleman, as well as the parental protection (Schlick, 2005). The painting clearly shows that the entire experiment conducts under the artificial lamp light instead of the moonlight. The theme set as the bird would die because of the depletion of oxygen would challenge the Christian interpretation of the world by Enlightenment science (Baudot, 2012). This new discovery of a visual style shows blend science with religion to create a special effect.
Telling a story between science and art, the primary intention of the art not about the wonder of scientific discovery, but ‘the haunting presence of religious questions and artistic tradition in the new experimental science’ (Baudot, 2012, p. 22). In conclusion, the thought from Enlightenment has a great effect upon on art, which changes the for the form of art. The example discussed earlier in this essay such as The Oath of the Horatii illustrate the art form changed to classic styles. Moreover, the establishment of Academy has great impact upon on art in a few ways.
For example, the Academy standardise the way of learning and the style of the representation, but as Pocock (1997) mention the culture within Europe became homogenised. Further more, the art work from Joseph Wright demonstrate a new subject developed which are based around the science. The Enlightenment thought which related to critics also represented from his work. As he uses the scientific representation in the Experiment on a Bird in an Air Pump, questioning the traditional religious view of human life.