French Art and Architecture

French Art and Architecture
  • French artists
  • Romanesque French Art
  • Gothic Art
  • Renaissance Art
  • Baroque Art
  • 18th Century Art
  • 19th Century Art
  • 20th Century Art

19th Century Art in France

The Neo-Classic movement began to be associated with the Enlightenment, which in France eventually led to the radical liberalism that played such an important part in the French Revolution towards the final stages of that same century. In this sense, Neo-Classic art was very much related to Classical art and its democratic and republican spirit. Some of the major exponents of this Neo-Classical style included Jacques-Louis David, Antoine-Jean Gros, Anne-Louis Girodet and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres.

The Romantic movement emerged during the first half of the 19th century, in opposition to the Neo-Classical style. Romanticism promoted subjective emotion, a liking for the exotic, artists as individuals, independent from social purpose. Some French exponents of the movement included Honoré Daumier, J. B. C. Corot, Gustave Courbet, Théodore Géricault and Eugène Delacroix. This style was completely contrary to the balanced harmony achieved by Classicism.

Around the mid-19th century, a new artistic movement began to emerge, referred to as Impressionism. Having a lot of impact in the artistic world, this style took root when first launched at an 1874 exposition. The foremost painters representing this style included Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Camille Pissaro, Auguste Renoir and Alfred Sisley. Cézanne, although drawing inspiration from the impressionists, went on to develop his own individual and unique style.

The end of the century saw the emergence of a reaction to the impressionist movement, named the postimpressionist movement, reflected in the works of painters such as Seurat, Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec and Gauguin. The Revolution had a significant impact on artistic evolution in France, given the severance with 18th century tradition and the appearance of industrialization. Design and craftsmanship in France's decorative arts declined considerably as a result.