Greek Revival architecture

The Greek Revival was an architectural movement of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, predominantly in northern Europe and the United States. It revived the style of ancient Greek architecture, in particular the Greek temple, with varying degrees of thoroughness and consistency. A product of Hellenism, it may be looked upon as the last phase in the development of Neoclassical architecture, which had for long mainly drawn from Roman architecture. The term was first used by Charles Robert Cockerell in a lecture he gave as Professor of Architecture to the Royal Academy of Arts, London in 1842.[1]

Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany.
Neue Wache in Berlin, Germany, 1816-1819.
Klenze's Propyläen (Gateway) in Munich, 1854–1862.
Thomas Hamilton's design for the Royal High School, Edinburgh, completed 1829.
The Yorkshire Museum designed by architect William Wilkins and officially opened in February 1830

With a newfound access to Greece, or initially the books produced by the few who had actually been able to visit the sites, archaeologist-architects of the period studied the Doric and Ionic orders. In each country it touched, the style was looked on as the expression of local nationalism and civic virtue, and freedom from the lax detail and frivolity that was thought to characterize the architecture of France and Italy, two countries where the style never really took hold. This was especially the case in Britain, Germany and the United States, where the idiom was regarded as being free from ecclesiastical and aristocratic associations.

The taste for all things Greek in furniture and interior design, sometimes called Neo-Grec, was at its peak by the beginning of the 19th century, when the designs of Thomas Hope had influenced a number of decorative styles known variously as Neoclassical, Empire, Russian Empire, and Regency architecture in Britain. Greek Revival architecture took a different course in a number of countries, lasting until the Civil War in America (1860s) and even later in Scotland.


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