Madrid
Weather Icon
New York
Weather Icon
Rome
Weather Icon
Lisbon
Weather Icon
Mexico C.
Weather Icon

THE HISTORY OF ART

THE HISTORY OF ART

3D_historia-arte

The artists who wanted to be famed sculptors with their own workshop did not have an easy road in the world of commissions and official exhibitions of the 19th century. Although very few triumphed and remained relevant for their work's stylistic contribution, nevertheless there were many more unknown artists who dedicated themselves to the profession of sculptor. They had to be an apprentice for years in the workshop of their teachers since mastery required experience. Quite a few even preferred to remain in the shadow of a famous teacher all their lives, as qualified employees, working on secondary and anonymous pieces.

The new style of sculpture in Spain was made principally in Rome. Four main names represent Spanish neoclassicism or, at the same time, four teachers who developed the precepts of Canova and Thorvaldsen through the Academy of San Fernando and De La Lonja in Barcelona.

Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, an exemplary teaching authority from Rome, exerts a greater influence than Canova. In Rome, Thorvaldsen became the most admired sculptor and a guide of artistic taste, the ideal of classical Greek and Roman sculpture still presiding, but reformulated into rules that became academic precepts, marking the style known as academism.

Therefore, this is the style that characterizes most of European sculpture throughout the 19th century. The most relevant creations in the style are found exhibited in Parisian salons, commissions (especially portraits), monument sculpture, funeral sculpture, and in ornamental adornments in architecture. Thorvaldsen, his disciples and followers, among them the Spaniard Ponzano, decisively contributed to the dissemination of neoclassical ideals.

Paris and Rome were the capitals of sculpture during the first half of the century largely due to numerous commissions obtained from the Napoleonic occupation of the Italian states, the presence of the emperor's court in Paris and his nearby residence at Malmaison, and the fact that Rome continued to be the center of artistic mastery for all European countries. Thorvaldsen was still the master owing to the presence and prestige of his workshop-museum, but Michelangelo's Florentine work shifted the focus of sculpture from antiquity to the high renaissance, which was more passionate and lively.

Even though after the fall of Napoleon, a paralysis of sculptural projects took place in Paris, the monarchical restoration endorsed all the projects that signified the exaltation of its past splendor. Royal equestrian monuments, such as that of Henry IV, were restored following a Baroque model. In other words, they changed the names of the new statues, but not the names of the sculptors working for the new monarchs, which, stylistically, meant a return to Baroque models.

Throughout most of the century, of the respective national academies, Rome was to remain the best training center for young European artists and the most prominent scholars.