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Neoclassical architecture predates Hitler, Speer and all the rest

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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-29-04 10:23 PM
Original message
Neoclassical architecture predates Hitler, Speer and all the rest
Like the WW2 Memorial or don't but don't spread ignorant lies about neoclassical architecture. Neoclassical architecture isn't even German in origin.

http://concise.britannica.com/ebc/article?eu=398529

Neoclassical architecture
Britannica Concise


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Revival of Classical architecture during the 18th and early 19th centuries.

The movement concerned itself with the logic of entire Classical volumes, unlike Classical revivalism (see Greek Revival), which tended to reuse Classical parts. Neoclassical architecture is characterized by grandeur of scale; simplicity of geometric forms; Greek, especially Doric (see order), or Roman detail; dramatic use of columns; and a preference for blank walls. The new taste for antique simplicity represented a general reaction to the excesses of the Rococo style. Neoclassicism thrived in the U.S. and Europe, with examples occurring in almost every major city. Russia's Catherine II transformed St. Petersburg into an unparalleled collection of Neoclassical buildings as advanced as any contemporary French and English work


I have no idea, without seeing the monument in person what I think of it. But I do know it isn't facsist, or NAZI inspired and it doesn't or at least shouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out.
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Mz Pip Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-29-04 10:31 PM
Response to Original message
1. Thank you for posting this
I haven't seen the memorial up close but it looks like a fine tribute to our WWII servicemen. All the comments that it looks like Nazi architeture or Nazi inspired is pretty sleazy.

Honestly, does anyone really think that a WWII memorial to honor those who fought the Nazis is really some Nazi inspired structure? Get a grip.

MzPip
:dem:
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Waverley_Hills_Hiker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-29-04 10:35 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. Neoclassicsm is as American as apple pie.
Gee whiz, sometimes I wonder about people!

This is one of the most popular architectural styles in US history. It has long been associated with civic and monumental architecture from the early days of our Republic, and some of the best examples in this genre are in the USA.
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Waverley_Hills_Hiker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-29-04 10:32 PM
Response to Original message
2. Thank you so much for this thread! A bit on German neoclassicsm
The German states of Prussia and Bavaria where big patrons of neoclassicsm, around the same time it was becoming the favored style of the new American republic.

One of the great German architects, Karl Friedrich Shinkel, worked in this style, producing two masterworks in it..the Altes Museum, on the Museum Island in Berlin, and the "Neu Wache", which was also turned into a war memorial

Another great German architect who worked in this style was Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe, who eventually moved to modernism (and emigrated to the USA, to Chicago), but retained the neoclassical esthetic values in his design.

Again, this predates the Nazis by many years (in the case of Shinkel by a century). The Nazis just co-opted this aesthetic as they co-opted alot of other aspects of German culture.

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Kellanved Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-30-04 11:58 AM
Response to Reply #2
31. thanks
To make your point:
Schinkel's Alte Nationalgalerie


Mies van der Rohe's Neue Nationalgalerie (currently AKA MoMA)
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burrowowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-29-04 10:33 PM
Response to Original message
3. Thank you
I pointed this out to a DUer on another thread.
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-29-04 10:37 PM
Response to Original message
5. Well, The Monument Is Essentially Neo-Neo-Classical
Edited on Sat May-29-04 10:41 PM by cryingshame
and is thus derived from a derivative.

And as an art historian I must request that you please look at the historical climate the orginal Neo-Classical artwork and architecture came into vogue... Napoleon and Empires figure heavily! Then of course, we have the ORIGINAL Classical Period courtesy of the Romans!



Why do you think Hitler choose that style? It evokes certain historical realities in ways that aren't entirely conducive to modern Democratic Ideals.
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-29-04 10:40 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. It was also huge here
and we didn't have an empire. I am certainly not claiming it never was used by empire builders (the example I used was a Russian who built an empire) but my point was that it wasn't NAZI or facsist inspired.
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-29-04 10:42 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. Yes, Popular On Southern Plantations
Edited on Sat May-29-04 10:44 PM by cryingshame
and also used heavily when building banks and government buildings.
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-29-04 10:44 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. I live literally hundreds of miles from the nearest plantation
and can point to tons of buildings inspired by neoclassical architecture in my very own state.
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Waverley_Hills_Hiker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-29-04 10:41 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. ..and the Roman Republic & Greek democracy for us.
As we where the first modern Republic the appeal of classical aesthetic, Greek and Roman, was pretty obvious, too.
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Mz Pip Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-29-04 10:43 PM
Response to Reply #5
9. Well, gee
Who had the money to build huge monuments back then? The common man? Hardly.

Fine art has often been supported by those that had the money. The Church, the State, the rich folks. Are we now going to trash Michaelangelo because he was supported by the Church?

Let's not diminish the effort to honor our WWII veterans by whining about the design of the monument because some previous empire used a similar style.

MzPip
:dem:
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-29-04 10:47 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. Artistic & Architectural Styles Don't Exist In A Vacuum
and there are many STYLES that can be used when erecting monuments and buildings.

Are you implying that one cannot critique the style and execution of the WWII monument.

It is unimaginative, maudlin and derivative. Although I wouldn't have been adverse to a modern rendition of an allegorical figure.
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Waverley_Hills_Hiker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-29-04 10:53 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. whats it derivative of?
(I can see the maudlin part a bit, though).
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-29-04 11:01 PM
Response to Reply #15
20. All The Neo-Classical Monuments Gone Before It
Edited on Sat May-29-04 11:03 PM by cryingshame
sorry, it looks like a Disney knock-off of a pre-existing monument.

MY preference would have been something done in a style more contemporaneous with WWII. Perhaps a statue of an allegorical figure done in an art deco style. Perhaps something with a Craftsman feel to it?
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Waverley_Hills_Hiker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-29-04 11:06 PM
Response to Reply #20
22. hmmm...ok
I can see that. There was sort of a classiczing aesthetic operating within art deco (but not literal), which would have worked in the context of the Mall.
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-29-04 11:09 PM
Response to Reply #22
25. Yes! Deco Had A Touch More Of The Organic Along With
the rational structure of Classical.
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Mz Pip Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-29-04 10:54 PM
Response to Reply #12
16. I am implying
that saying this looks like some Nazi inspired monument is over the top and not a worthy critique.

Unimaginative - Well, I guess they could have done something in fushcia plexiglass.

Maudlin - War kinda does that to one's thoughts. Maybe 400,000 teddy bears would be less maudlin.

Derivative - Have no idea what that means in the context of this memorial.

MzPip
:dem:
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-29-04 11:08 PM
Response to Reply #16
23. Fushcia Plexiglass Might've Worked In A Stained Glass Piece
Edited on Sat May-29-04 11:14 PM by cryingshame
Perhaps a Rotunda with stained glass inserts depicting various scenes of the time.... that would have been extraordinary!

Teddy Bears would be an interesting allusion to Teddy Roosevelt for whom they were named and whose progeny Franklin D. was a major actor in the conflict. I make Teddy Bears and would love to see an installation of 400,000. It could also allude to the over 400,000 children who lost fathers and mothers during the war.

Derivative... the monument is, simply put, unoriginal.
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Mz Pip Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-29-04 11:21 PM
Response to Reply #23
27. I guess there are
many, many ideas that could have worked. I guess I find it hard to be that critical of the one that was chosen.

It looks like something one can spend some time walking around and contemplating the sacrifice that was involved in WWII.

I am easily moved. The Statue of Liberty moved me. THe WWII memorial in Battery Park moved me. The hundreds of candles in the little roundabout on one of Berkeley's streets after 9/11 moved me.

I think the veterans of WWII are probably moved by this memorial. I just feel that the Nazi comparisons are somehow disrespectful to those who fought and died to defeat the Nazis. My father-in-law probably shed a few tears today. Linking this to anything Fascist would be all too sad.

MzPip
:dem:
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-29-04 11:08 PM
Response to Reply #12
24. honest criticism is fine
I said myself I have no idea if I will or won't like it till I see it. The pictures make it appear a little stark and cold to me but without a sense of size and place I am withholding judgement. My problem is with calling it something it isn't. It isn't NAZI inspired or facist.
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-29-04 11:11 PM
Response to Reply #24
26. Anyhow, Your Thread Presents A GREAT Opportunity To Talk Art
and architecture and how it relates to history and politics.

Very often, during times of political turmoil... the artwork is one of the first things to manipulated.

Egyptians scratched off their predecessor's names and during the French Revolution... statues were erected and pulled down practically daily! :)
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Waverley_Hills_Hiker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-29-04 11:24 PM
Response to Reply #26
29. This is a very loaded topic.
public art and architecture.
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dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-29-04 11:25 PM
Response to Reply #26
30. I do have a big problem with putting the current President's name on
monuments when they are built. I am glad they got the memorial built in time for at least a decent number of vets to see it. After what happened with the VietNam Memorial I have decided to see first, critique later.
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democracyindanger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-29-04 10:46 PM
Response to Original message
11. Whatever
There's a difference between saying it looks like something the Nazis would do and saying it was inspired by Nazi architecture.

It looks like what it looks like. It's closer to a frame from "Triumph of the Will" than the Lincoln Memorial, but that's my opinion. That you don't agree is not a fair reason to call people 'ignorant' and liars.

You don't have to be a brain surgeon to recognize that.
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Waverley_Hills_Hiker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-29-04 10:52 PM
Response to Reply #11
14. Triumph of the Will was filmed in a medieval city.
....unless you are talking about the Zepplinfeld parade ground. This doesnt look like that either, as that was a very centralized, axial, scheme, while this one vacates the primary axis, operating as a secondary, biaxial scheme.
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democracyindanger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-29-04 10:59 PM
Response to Reply #14
19. Columns set against the sky?
Empty space in the middle for a pond/formations of troops?

I'm sure that architects can point out all sorts of academic reasons why there are differences. Still doesn't change the final impression on any particular person.

The swastika used to be a symbol of good luck, too.
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kalian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-29-04 10:48 PM
Response to Original message
13. I call it authoritarian architecture....
the Soviets used it as well. Its basic premise is the grandoise
aspects of the buildings...the "look how powerful we are" type
statement. The new WTC "tower" will follow this line as well...
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Waverley_Hills_Hiker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-29-04 10:56 PM
Response to Reply #13
17. its more contextual than anything.
This design is operating within the neoclassical (perhaps late baroque) context of its central position in the mall. Maybe its too literal in its references, OK, but I sure think something like that Vietnam memorial would be a real mistake given that site, and WWII.
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mot78 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-29-04 11:23 PM
Response to Reply #13
28. I don't think it's authoritarian
I think subtle aspects of it, like the brzone wreaths contrasted with light-colored granite give it an authoritarian image. But it's bullshit to say it's a Nazi or Stalinist monument.
BTW, the New WTC tower is not Neo-Classical. I think the reason you may think it's authoritarian is because it has such a jingoistic name (Freedom Tower)
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Spider Jerusalem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-29-04 10:57 PM
Response to Original message
18. I happen to have studied architectural history...
so I'm aware of all this, thanks. However, you also have to consider that use of such architectural styles has a certain historical context, especially in the past century. Context is something that has to be taken into account, as well. After all, use of the swastika predates the Nazis by at least five thousand years; even so, I can't think of many people it would not offend if used today.

Also, the primary reasoning behind employment of the neoclassical style in civic architecture over the past few centuries is the creation of a testament in stone to the glory and power of the almighty State...which is, you'll probably agree, not quite compatible with supposed "American" values.
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Waverley_Hills_Hiker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-29-04 11:04 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. So have I.
And this monument operates withing the neoclassical, neo-baroque context of Washington, particulary the Mall.

In the US, the early use of neoclassicsm had alot to do with this being the first modern Republic, and a democracy. So the symbolic aspect of neoclassicsm for govt. buildings was related democratic and republican values, not empire. This has remained a preferred style for monuments and govt buildings, until the advent of modernism. Even then, a sort of classizing modernism has been preferred for govt. buildings (like Mies Van Der Rohes federal complex in Chicago, or the miesian-derived Civic Center in that same city).



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