French artist Jacques-Louis David is in many respects the hero of Neoclassical art. His somber, serious works represent the ideals of a style that often aspired to high-minded statements. Indeed, David perfectly captured the mood of the time in which he lived and worked in many of his paintings.
As the word Neoclassical suggests, much of the inspiration for this style came from the Classical world of the ancient Greeks and Romans. The art of these civilizations was thought by many during this period to represent the height of artistic achievement. And it was not only the appearance of these ancient works of art that appealed to painters such as David - the subjects also caught the attention of Neoclassical artists. Therefore, it is not surprising that many objects and paintings created in the Neoclassical style were inspired by ancient Greek and Roman characters, myths, and stories.
Glancing at the list of works by Jacques-Louis David above, one will immediately recognize how much this artist relied on ancient history and mythology. With titles such as Andromache Mourning Hector, Paris and Helen, Mars Disarmed by Venus and the Graces, and The Death of Socrates, it is evident that David looked to the past for inspiration. It is the way in which David has made these - and many other - myths and legends come to life that sets him apart as a master artist, and marks him as one of the great painters of his time.
This beautiful book (which is a part of the Phaidon Art & Ideas series) features information about the Neoclassical style. It is an insightful and delightful introduction to an important period in the history of art.
The Art Book
This book is sure to enhance any art lover's library. Color images grace the pages, and every picture is accompanied by a concise description of each featured work and artist.