Teaching Students About Neoclassicism

As an educator, it is critical to incorporate various artistic styles and movements into your curriculum. One prevailing style that you can teach your students about is Neoclassicism.

Neoclassicism is an artistic style that emerged in the 18th century and lasted until the 19th century. It was a response to the elaborate and intricate Baroque and Rococo styles that dominated the art world during the time. Neoclassicism embraced a more simplistic and straightforward approach, drawing inspiration from classical art forms such as ancient Greece and Rome.

Teaching neoclassicism to your students can be an excellent opportunity to introduce them to classical concepts and visual language, such as balance, harmony, and proportion. Here are some tips and ideas to get started:

  1. Start with the Basics

Begin your lesson by introducing your students to the fundamental characteristics of neoclassicism. Discuss the style’s simplicity, symmetry, use of geometric shapes, and its emphasis on line and form. Show examples of neoclassical art to help your students identify the style’s essential elements.

  1. Connect Neoclassicism with Classical Art

Neoclassicism is a revival of classical art, so it’s important to connect the two. Provide examples of classical art such as sculptures, paintings, and architecture from ancient civilizations such as Greece and Rome. From there, discuss how neoclassical art borrows and modifies these classical elements and concepts.

  1. Incorporate Historical Context

It’s vital to place neoclassicism within its historical context to understand why and how it emerged. Discuss the cultural, political, and social conditions that led to the development of neoclassicism. For example, the Age of Enlightenment, the French Revolution, and the American Revolution influenced the emergence of neoclassicism.

  1. Use Comparison and Contrast

Drawing comparison and contrast between neoclassicism and other art movements can help your students understand the style better. The most notable comparison is to the Baroque and Rococo styles which preceded neoclassicism. You can also compare neoclassicism with contemporary art movements like romanticism, impressionism, and abstract art.

  1. Make it Fun and Interactive

Incorporate interactive and fun activities into your lessons to make learning neoclassicism more enjoyable for your students. You could organise a visual scavenger hunt where students must identify and classify neoclassical images in art history books, museums, or online.

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