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Academic Art is the painting and sculpture produced
under the influence of the European Academies, where
many artists received their formal training. It is
characterized by its highly finished style, its use of
historical or mythological subject matter, and its moralistic
tone. Neoclassical Art was closely associated with the
The term "Academic Art" is associated particularly with
the French Academy and its influence on the Salons in the
19th century. Artists such as Bouguereau and Jean-
Léon Gérôme epitomize this style.
• Adolphe William Bouguereau
• [French Academic Painter, 1825-1905]
• I accept and respect all schools of
painting which have as their basis the
sincere study of nature, the search for
the true and the beautiful. As for the
mystics, the impressionists, the
pointillists, etc., I don't see the way they
see. That is my only reason for not liking
• - Bouguereau
Romanticism might best be described as anti-Classicism. A reaction
against Neoclassicism, it is a deeply-felt style which is individualistic,
beautiful, exotic, and emotionally wrought.
Although Romanticism and Neoclassicism were philosophically
opposed, they were the dominant European styles for generations, and
many artists were affected to a greater or lesser degree by both. Artists
might work in both styles at different times or even mix the styles,
creating an intellectually Romantic work using a Neoclassical visual
In the United States, the leading Romantic movement was the Hudson
River School of dramatic landscape painting.
Impressionism, and through it almost all of 20th century art, is also
firmly rooted in the Romantic tradition.
J.M. William Turner
• France, Mid-19th Century
• The Barbizon School was a group of landscape artists working in the
region of the French town of Barbizon. They rejected the Academic
tradition, abandoning theory in an attempt to achieve a truer
representation of the countryside, and are considered to be part of the
French Realist movement.
Théodore Rousseau is the best-known member of the group.
The Barbizon School artists are often considered to have been
forerunners of the Impressionists, who took a similar philosophical
approach to their art.
• Consider This…Previously, Paints had to be made by hand and
were often stored in Pigs Bladders. About this time, paint in tubes
became available as well as collapsible easels. This enabled artists
to go out into the world and observe and examine nature with the
same intensity as the figure in the studio. For the first time the
Landscape itself became a legitimate subject in painting.
The Barbizon School
Rousseau, Théodore [French, 1812-1867]
The First Impressionist