Dates: 1800-Present

Origin: Europe

Key Artists: William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Art made according to the teachings of an art academy. In the nineteenth century the art academies of Europe became extremely conservative, resisting change and innovation. They came to be opposed to the avant-garde and to modern art generally.

“Academic Art.”, 12 March 2010. <;

Academic art is a style of painting and sculpture produced under the influence of European academies or universities. Specifically, academic art is the art and artists influenced by the standards of the French Académie des Beaux-Arts, which practiced under the movements of Neoclassicism and Romanticism. The term academic has thus come to mean conservative forms of art that ignore the innovations of modernism. The art influenced by academies and universities in general is also called “academic art.” In this context as new styles are embraced by academics, the new styles come to be considered academic, thus what was at one time a rebellion against academic art becomes academic art.

Wikipedia contributors. “Academic art.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 8 Feb. 2010. Web. 12 Mar. 2010.<;

William Adolphe Bouguereau



Dates: 1780-1880

Origin: Europe

Key Artists: Eugène Delacroix, François-René de Chateaubriand

Inherently the most unstable of the major definitions of a particular period or style, Romanticism can at one level be seen simply as a late 18th- to early 19th-century reaction against the reason of the Enlightenment and the order of Neoclassicism. Implicit to this process were beliefs in the primacy of individual experience and in the irrational as well as the rational. Romanticism was more an attitude of mind than a set of particular traits, hence in the visual arts it could embrace such apparently diverse artists as Goya, Blake and Turner, Delacroix and Géricault, Friedrich and Runge. Originally, however, it was a literary term, first defined by the German critic Friedrich Schlegel in an essay of 1798 on Romantic poetry which, he stated, was ‘in the state of becoming; that, in fact, is its real essence; that it should forever be becoming and never be completed’. The sketch-like quality (and indeed the growing importance of the sketch) characterized much Romantic visual art. The word itself was derived from the late medieval Romance, seen as a fruitful literary alternative to the traditions of Classicism. Romanticism was not essentially backward-looking, however, and was responsible for a general ‘freeing-up’ of content and form in art. Classical subject-matter was largely rejected in favour of that drawn from a wide variety of literary sources—the aforementioned medieval Romances, Dante, Shakespeare, and contemporary literature (especially Sir Walter Scott). Nature, hitherto viewed as an ordered part of man’s environment, was seen as an elemental force inspiring an emotional reaction in man and a concomitant interest in landscape painting of all types. Romanticism remained the dominant current in European art until around 1840 when it was superseded by Realism.

“Romanticism.” The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms. Oxford Art Online. 11 Mar. 2010 <;

Eugène Delacroix



Dates: 1750-1830

Origin: Europe

Key Artists: Jacques-Louis David, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres

Now understood to describe the classicizing style which evolved in European art of the later 18th and early 19th centuries in reaction to the florid sensuality of the Rococo. It embraced the fine and decorative arts and architecture, and its masters included the painter David (The Oath of the Horatii, Louvre, Paris), the sculptor Canova, and the architects Ledoux and Soane. The term was actually devised later, in the 1880s, and was originally pejorative, denoting ‘pseudo-classical’, and particularly directed at Jacques-Louis David and his school. Neoclassicism is now seen to have achieved a purity of expression, however, and would have been referred to by its practitioners as the ‘true’ or ‘correct’ style. It was based on the study of antique art, which was to be imitated but not slavishly copied, and thus embody what were perceived to be the general and permanent principles of the visual arts as formulated by the ancients. Its first great theorist was J. J. Winckelmann (1717–68), whose Reflections on the Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks was published in English translation in 1765.

“Neoclassicism.” The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms. Oxford Art Online. 11 Mar. 2010 <;

Jacques-Louis David