A second generation of art, literature, music, theater and decoration that was inspired by the art and culture of ancient Greece and Rome, Neoclassicism marks a period of severe or unemotional art during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Europe.
The first period of Classicism had been quickly ushered out by the appearance of Baroque and Rococo formality and exuberance. The return of this interest in classical art is referred to as Neoclassicism because it also brought about interest in classical thought which is considered an instigator for the revolutionary periods in France and America during this time as well.
The Neoclassic style is emphasized by a return to cleaner and simpler design, far less complicated than the preceding period. For example, paintings are free of haziness and pale pastel colorations, and instead are sharply drawn with a great emphasis on the interaction between light and shadow.
Painters of the Neoclassic period include Jaques-Louis David, Jean Francois de Troy, Giovanni Paolo Pannini, Louis Joseph Le Lorrain and sculptor Augustin Pajou among many others.