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Classicism

Conclusion

Still, during the many centuries of admiring and imitating the Greeks, the term classicism has evolved to describe an ideal, a set of aspirations that humans keep returning to. The style of classicism tends to be clear, elegant, precise, rational; the structure, to be formal, balanced, cohesive, closed; the content, to be uplifting, idealized, humanist. Classicism does not have as strong a pull as it used to, in part because it can be pushed into absolutism, and humans are increasingly seeing the world in relative terms. Classical artists from the past—Phidias, Virgil, Raphael, Michelangelo, Titian—will always be with us. But there are also modern exponents of classicism ranging from poets such as T. S. Eliot and W. H. Auden to literary critics including Irving Babbitt and Jacques Barzun, from artists such as Paul Cézanne and William Bailey to musicians like Sergey Prokofiev, Igor Stravinsky, and Béla Bartók. So ingrained is the term classicism that many critics use it to describe contemporary forms of art, such as jazz, or even cuisine. It implies a standard of excellence only rarely achieved. Postmodernism saw an almost total rejection of classicism in the late twentieth century, but reaction might well lead to a revival of classicism in some form or another.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Aristotle. Poetics. Translated by George Whalley. Edited by John Baxter and Patrick Atherton. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1997.

Avery, Catherine B., ed. The New Century Italian Renaissance Encyclopedia. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1972.

Eliot, T. S. What Is a Classic? An Address Delivered before the Virgil Society on the 16th of October 1944. London: Faber and Faber, 1946.

Fletcher, Banister. A History of Architecture on the Comparative Method. Rev. by R. A. Cordingley. 17th ed. rev. New York: Scribners, 1975.

Hornblower, Simon, and Antony Spawforth, eds. The Oxford Classical Dictionary. 3rd ed. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.

Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia. 4th ed. New York: HarperCollins, 1996.

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Rosen, Charles. The Classical Style: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven. New York: Viking, 1971.

Sadie, Stanley, ed. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 20 vols. London: Macmillan; Washington, D.C.: Groves Dictionaries of Music, 1980.

Secrétan, Dominique. Classicism. London: Methuen, 1973. Speake, Graham, ed. Encyclopedia of Greece and the Hellenic Tradition. 2 vols. London and Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2000.

Summerson, John. The Classical Language of Architecture. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1980.

Turner, Jane, ed. The Dictionary of Art. 34 vols. New York: Grove, 1996.

Wellek, René. "Classicism in Literature." In Dictionary of the History of Ideas; Studies of Selected Pivotal Ideas, edited by Philip P. Wiener. 5 vols. New York: Scribners, 1973–1974.

Wölfflin, Heinrich. Principles of Art History: The Problem of the Development of Style in Later Art. Translated by M. D. Hottinger. 7th ed. New York: Dover, 1950.

Gwen W. Brewer

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Chimaeras to ClusterClassicism - The Romans And Medieval Europe, The Renaissance, Neoclassicism, Conclusion, Bibliography