If Rococo art was aimed at the French aristocracy, then Neoclassical art was aimed at the masses on the verge of revolting against the aristocracy. In England, John Flaxman was the most influential sculptor, known not only for his figures such as his Pastoral Apollo but his reliefs and his Neoclassical designs for Josiah Wedgwood's Jasperware, an internationally popular stoneware.
Neoclassical painters depicted subjects from Classical literature and history, as used in earlier Greek art and Republican Roman artusing sombre colours with occasional brilliant highlights, to convey moral narratives of self-denial and self-sacrifice fully in keeping with the supposed ethical superiority of Antiquity.
This photograph shows William Wilkins' Downing College, the Cambridge chapel that exemplified the Greek Revival style dominating British architecture the first half of the nineteenth century.
Such archaeological discoveries were the biggest news of the day. Both styles were connected to a sense of national identity, encouraged by the political environment of the time. If some of these elements had already been seen in works by British and American painters like Hamilton and West, the figurative confrontations in J-L David's pictures are much more dramatic: not only are they starker and in clearer profile on the same plane, and set out against a more monumental background, but also there is nothing to be seen of the distinctive features of Baroque painting, such as diagonal compositional movements, large groups of figures, and flamboyant drapery.
Modern-day fallen patriots and revolutionaries were mythologized and portrayed as heroes bravely meeting their demise in scenes that resemble religious martyrdom e. As art historian John Goldsmith Phillips described, "He first cut out the entire iris, and then bore a deeper hole for the pupil, taking care to leave a small fragment of marble to overhang the iris.
The abstemious severity of Doric was replaced by Corinthian richness and splendor.