As a people that appreciate both the psychology and entertainment value of mythology AND the alluring aesthetic of antique and vintage home décor and ritual accoutrement, it only makes sense that many of us would love and feel an attraction to the Neo-Classical aesthetic. I hear the questions in your head: “How do YOU know what I like… and what is Neo-Classical even mean anyway???” That’s what this week’s blog is all about: what IS Neo-Classism and how can I recognize it when I am searching for vintage pieces to include in my collection?
Neoclassism was an art movement that also greatly influenced architecture and home décor (as art often does). In architecture and home design, Neoclassism is characterized by clean lines and wide open spaces of Greek and Roman temples. As an art style it hit the peek of its popularity in the late 1700s following some very important archaeological finds in Greece in the early 1700s that reignited the public interest in Classical art styles, but its influence is still strong even today and it is a common source of inspiration for even modern designers.
Neoclassicism in the arts is an aesthetic attitude based on the art of Greece and Rome in antiquity, which invokes harmony, clarity, restraint, universality, and idealism.Neoclassical art | arts | Britannica
Neoclassical style as it comes to furniture or home decor is often described in comparison to the French Rococo style from which is evolved as a sort of counter-point. Rococo was extremely ornamental and, for lack of better word, “frilly”. Neoclassism was a step in a more practical, pared down design that preferred columns and symmetry to paw-footed curving flourishes. Neoclassism was also characterized by light, airy colors and materials like marble, travertine, and medium-to-light-toned hardwood.
Where once the Ancient Greek philosophers romanticized Egypt as the seat of psycho-spiritual wisdom, Westerners have since done the same thing to Ancient Greece (as its most prolific during the NeoClassical period) like a twisted lineage of occult knowledge. Of course both were and are colored by modern perceptions and exaggerated notions of what life was really like for these ancient ancestors. Greco-roman classical and neo-classical design feels a bit like a portal that can help us tap into ancestral wisdom and knowledge. We can use the art and styles of those times periods to connect to those ancient peoples who venerated and worshipped the old gods as a matter of fact as opposed to the small, but mighty minority of (Neo)pagans today. This can give us a sense of power and connection to our gods in a way that I feel modern art and decor sometimes lacks.
Have you been decorating with Neo-classical decor and furniture as a matter of course without realizing it? Or perhaps you prefer the more ornate and flowery French Rococo style? Let me know which one you like better in the comments below!