Classicism (derived from the Latin classicus – exemplary) is an artistic style and aesthetic trend in European literature and art of the 17th – beginning of the 19th centuries, one of the important features of which was the appeal to the images and forms of ancient literature and art as an ideal aesthetic standard. A work of art, from the point of view of classicism, should be built on the basis of strict canons, thereby revealing the harmony and logic of the universe itself. Of interest to classicism is only eternal and unchanging. In each phenomenon, he seeks to recognize only essential, typological features, discarding random individual signs. The aesthetics of classicism attaches great importance to the social educational function of art. Classicism takes many of the rules and canons from ancient art.
Classicism is based on the ideas of rationalism, which were formed simultaneously with the same ideas in the philosophy of Descartes. The work of art, from the point of view of classicism, should be built on the basis of strict canons, thereby revealing the harmony and logic of the universe itself. Of interest to classicism is only eternal, unchanging – in every phenomenon he seeks to recognize only essential, typological features, discarding random individual signs. The aesthetics of classicism attaches great importance to the social educational function of art. Classicism takes many rules and canons from ancient art (Aristotle, Horace).
Classicism establishes a strict hierarchy of genres, which are divided into high (ode, tragedy, epic) and low (comedy, satire, fable). Each genre has strictly defined features, the mixing of which is not allowed.
As a certain direction was formed in France in the XVII century. French classicism affirmed the personality of man as the highest value of being, freeing him from religious and church influence. His great representatives were the French painters Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorren, who created the basic “schemes” of classicism painting (rocker construction of a space, a three-plan system, a change of color plans in the picture: warm brown tones of the foreground, green middle and blue, blue of the third and background plan ) Poussin was fascinated by the heroism of Ancient Rome, the ideal of an all-conquering sense of duty. Cosmic panoramas of the world of Lorren are pure nature, full of nuances of moods, its main theme is light in all its subtlest changes.
The main task of the artist was seen by Poussin and Lorren in searching for and selecting from the world of Nature ideal forms, ideal nature itself was understood as architecture, sculpture, painting, in which everything obeys the law of its creator. The personal talent of these two masters was much wider than the laws and restrictions of the style itself, but expressed its main features: the orderliness and logic of all the picturesque constructions, their rational organization, appeal to the timeless, extra-emotional themes of nature, human history and life.
The numerous followers of Poussin and Lorren (the largest – Gaspard Dugue-Poussin, Charles Lebrun) only more or less talentedly followed the manner of their great teachers.
Russian classicism in painting was most clearly manifested in the works of historical and mythological genres (A.P. Losenko, G.I. Ugryumoe, I.A. Akimov, A.I. Ivanov, A.E. Egorov, V.K.Shebuev, early A. A. Ivanov). Some features of classicism are also inherent in the fine-psychological sculptural portraits of F. I. Shubin, in painting – portraits of D. G. Levitsky, V. L. Borovikovsky, landscapes F. M. Matveev.