Arts Curriculum

Chaos and Classicism

October 1, 2010–January 9, 2011


Allegory A symbolic representation of an idea.

Classical Referring to the culture, art, and architecture of ancient Greece and Rome.

Classicism A style that uses techniques from or creates a mood that invokes antiquity. Classicism has been the dominant style repeatedly since the medieval period, particularly during the Renaissance and from the mid-18th to the 19th century.

Commedia dell 'arte Italian theatrical form, popular from the 16th to the 18th centuries, that features masked actors improvising with stock characters and scenarios.

Cologne Progressives A loosely organized group of artists based in Cologne, Germany, during the 1920s and 1930s that sought a new visual language to support the working class in its conflict with the wealthy. The group’s influence waned when the Nazis took power and later declared their art “degenerate.”

Degenerate Art A term used by Nazi officials to describe art deemed unfit for society, usually applied to avant-garde styles. It is also the name of an exhibition, organized by the Nazis in 1937, of works that they had purged from German museums. The show traveled throughout Germany and Austria, attracting more than two million visitors, and featured many artists who are now considered masters of 20th-century art, including Marc Chagall (1887–1985), Max Ernst (1891–1976), Vasily Kandinsky (1866–1944), and Paul Klee (1879–1940), among others.

Fascism A set of political beliefs, party, or government that privileges the nation and race over individuals, encourages extreme discipline, social regimentation, autocratic rule, and suppression of opposition.

Lekythos (lek-uh-thos) An ancient Greek oil flask with a long elliptical shape, thin neck, and loop-shaped handle. Often featuring detailed figure paintings on a white ground, they were used in public baths and gymnasiums as well as for funerals.

Neue Sachlichkeit German for “new objectivity,” a 1920s artistic style that used a realistic approach to figuration and color in reaction to Expressionism and abstraction as well as the devastation of World War I. This movement had two wings, the Verists, which included Georg Grosz (1893–1959) and Otto Dix (1891–1969); and the Classicists, which included Alexander Kanoldt (1881–1939) and Georg Schrimpf (1889–1938).

Pavilion A light, usually open building used for shelter, concerts, exhibitions, and many other public events in a park or at a fair.

Purism A movement founded by Amédée Ozenfant and Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (Le Corbusier) in 1918 with their defining manifesto Après le cubisme (After Cubism) that privileged rationality, order, science, and technology in its simple, machinelike aesthetic.

World War I A military conflict from August 1914 to November 1918 that involved two alliances of the major European powers. More than 65 million people fought in what was known as the Great War until World War II, due to its unprecedented scale.