Eclecticism in art  

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"They were eclectics and sought to combine the purity of the ancients and of Raphael, the knowledge of Michelangelo, the richness and the exuberance of the Venetian school, especially of Paolo Veronese, and the gaiety of the Lombard brush in Correggio."--"Essay on the Beautiful in Art" (1763) by Johann Joachim Winckelmann

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Eclecticism is a kind of mixed style in the fine arts: "the borrowing of a variety of styles from different sources and combining them" (Hume 1998, 5). Significantly, Eclecticism hardly ever constituted a specific style in art: it is characterized by the fact that it was not a particular style. In general, the term describes the combination in a single work of a variety of influences — mainly of elements from different historical styles in architecture, painting, and the graphic and decorative arts. In music the term used may be either eclecticism, crossover music, or polystylism.

In the visual arts

The term eclectic was first used by Johann Joachim Winckelmann to characterize the art of the Carracci, who incorporated in their paintings elements from the Renaissance and classical traditions. Indeed, Agostino, Annibale and Lodovico Carracci had tried to combine in their art Michelangelo's line, Titian's color, Correggio's chiaroscuro, and Raphael's symmetry and grace.

In the 18th century, Sir Joshua Reynolds, head of the Royal Academy of Arts in London, was one of the most influential advocates of eclecticism. In the sixth of his famous academical Discourses (1774), he wrote that the painter may use the work of the ancients as a "magazine of common property, always open to the public, whence every man has a right to take what materials he pleases" (Reynolds 1775). In 19th-century England, John Ruskin also pleaded for eclecticism.

Western architecture

Victorian architecture, Revivalism (architecture)

Early examples of eclectic arc hitecture were built in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, particularly in the Palazzina Cinese in Palermo.

Eclecticism arose in Western architecture in the mid-19th century. It reappeared with postmodern architecture.





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