Neoclassicism: The Fires of Revolution

Questioning the divine right of kings, laissez faire capitalism, and rejection of feudalism's ridged social strata, all come together to erupt into a revolutionary zeal that begins to sweep the West. Heroism and sacrifice fills the air as a spark that is first ignited in the American colonies soon spreads into France, and the tenets of the Enlightenment are put into action. Purging themselves of the last vestiges of Medieval feudalism requires identifying with the foundations of Western Classicism. Everywhere the influence is felt: Roman styled buildings and monuments, constitutional arguments signed by the likes of Brutus and Cato, and in France a new Caesar - Napoleon.

Neoclassical Arts:
Visual Art - Mozart - Beethoven

Acknowledging his route back to Roman classicism through the Poussin-like form, David transforms the poetic figure into one of revolutionary sacrifice, while at the same time statesman and amateur architect Thomas Jefferson transplants the style into the new nation. But will the model be of Rome's Republic or its Empire? This challenge of the age is best observed in the contrasts between applications of the style in France verses The United States. The revolutionary spirit is best captured by Beethoven, who true to the spirit of the age overturns age-old musical traditions and charts a new course for all future composers. Not a revolutionary, but a natural talent, Mozart graced the age with a melodiousness and virtuosity that have become hallmarks of the age.

The Industrial Age

Another revolution had been occurring in the West. Underlying all of western society had been a growing emergence of an industrial based culture. Like the political revolution that swept aside the final vestiges of a Medieval feudalism, the industrial revolution was replacing a society based on land with one based on capital. No longer only relevant was what was grown on the land, but what was produced from it. Toffler describes an industrial code that forms the basis of the West until the modern age. A code that nineteenth century man was first beginning to come to terms with.