The History of Art and the Curios Lives of Painters



Benjamin West


American Neoclassical  Painter and Co-founder of the English Royal Academy

Artistically and Stylistically Influenced by the Following Painters - John Wollaston, Titian, Raphael, Joshua Reynolds, Paul Sandby and Thomas Hudson

Education -  was tutored in basics of portraiture from John Wollaston and later studied under John Valentine Heidt.

Cause of Death - Old Age

Benjamin West was an American-born painter. His main subjects were mythological, historical, religious, and portraits. West had a significant influence on the growth of historical painting in England.  He court painter to king George III and founding member of the Royal Academy.

Benjamin West Quotations
"To recognize great talent, we must encourage dreamers."  -- Benjamin West
"I will let them see if an obscure Yankee boy cannot shine as great as any of them." -- Benjamin West
“A kiss from my mother made me a painter.” -- Benjamin West
Description and Origins of the Neoclassic Art Movement

 The Neo-Classical movement was centered in Rome, where many painters congregated around the influential eighteenth-century German art historian Johann Joachim Wincklemann. Winckelmann touted Greco-Roman art, writing explicit descriptions of erotic sculptures from Classical Antiquity thereby encouraging an interest in Greek antiquities. The period is called Neoclassical because its artists looked back to the art and culture of classical Greece and Rome.  Neoclassical art is characterized by its classical form and structure, clarity, and to an degree, realism.

More than just an classical revival, Neo-Classicism was connected to contemporary political events. Neo-Classical artists at first wanted to supplant the eroticism and frivolity of the Rococo style with a style that was orderly and serious in character.  French Neoclassism painters emphasis's patriotism, as well as a sense of civility and honorableness. The movement was particularly connected with the beliefs of the French Revolution and was seen as anti-aristocratic. The fantasy-based aristocratic art of the Rococo seemed an insult upon the rights of men and was vilified by critics and the general public.  In an age of sweeping revolution and transformation Neoclassicism became the art of change.

Principle Artists of the Neoclassical Period

James Barry Irish, 1741-1806
Antonio Canova Italian, 1757-1822
Jacques-Louis David French, 1748-1825
Jules Elie Delaunay French, 1828-1891
Francois Gerard French, 1770-1837
Antoine-Jean Gros  French, 1771-1835
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres French, 1780-1867
Angelica Kauffmann Swiss, 1741-1807
Rembrandt Peale American, 1778-1860
Bertel Thorvaldsen Danish, 1770-1844
John Trumbull American, 1756-1843
Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun   French, 1755-1842

Benjamin  West American, 1738-1820

Require more information about the famous Neoclassicist Painter Benjamin West in art history? Type your query in art into the google search box below and poke around every nook and cranny of the known universe for information this subject. If you like this page and wish to share it, you are welcome to link to it, with our thanks.

If you feel you have worthwhile information you would like to contribute we would love to hear from you. We collect essential biographical information and artist quotes from folks all over the globe and appreciate your participation. When submitting please, if possible, site the source and provide English translation. Email to 



site map prehistoric entartete kunst iconography 100 greatest paintings
links illuminated manuscripts top 50 painters art supplies   book store

References -  Richard Muther, The History of Modern Painting, Henry and Co., London, 1896