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Classicism

literature classical century neoclassicism

Classicism, in painting, sculpture, architecture, literature, and music, the emulation of classical antiquity, emphasizing harmony, order, and clarity of form, rather than subjectivity, heightened emotion, and the uncanny. The aims of the artists in the Italian Renaissance (literally, the “rebirth” of classical culture) were rejected in the 16th and 17th centuries by the mannerist and baroque artists. Classicism was revived in the 18th-century movement known as neoclassicism (also called the Enlightenment). Important artistic figures include Samuel Johnson and Alexander Pope (English literature), Pierre Corneille and Jean Racine (French literature), and Franz Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (music). The 19th-century romantic movement in art was partly a reaction to perceived overreliance on reason and order in neoclassicism.

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