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Greek Revival in the USA

Ronald R. McCarty

in Oxford Art Online


Published online September 2015 | e-ISBN: 9781884446054 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.T2283840

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Ronald R. McCarty

Term used to describe a style inspired by the architecture of Classical Greece. The introduction of a new ‘National Style’ adopted by the USA during the first half of the 19th century saw ancient architectural forms from Greece and Rome being used as inspiration for the new federal and domestic buildings built throughout the country. Interior furnishings and decorative arts were similarly dominated by the Grecian mode from the 1800 through the 1850s.

During the late 18th century and early 19th, throughout the USA, classical taste experienced an enormous growth in interest stimulated by discoveries and study of ancient civilizations. The term Greece, ancient §XI 2., (i) describes the style celebrating the Classical architecture of ancient Greece and the reinterpretation of Grecian architecture evidenced in monumental buildings and the decorative arts designed to furnish them. The USA doubled in size between the years 1800 to 1840, with the population growing to over 17,000,000 across the country. During these important years of growth in America, new state government buildings were commissioned whose Neo-classical façades represented the ideals of a new nation: a strong and united America. The Greek Revival style was adopted for new courthouses, state capitol buildings, banks, schools, prisons, and churches. Many incorporated the use of domes, porticos, rotundas, and colonnades in classical façades and building forms....

Reference Entry.  1814 words. 

Subjects: Architecture ; 18th-Century Art ; Art of the United States

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