The long-dusty ideas of the past, grounded in tradition and defying attempts at progressive thought, were being shaken out, examined and, often, thrown out with the rest of the garbage. The societal shifts that began in the Renaissance were brought into greater relief with the new changes occurring toward the middle of the 1700s as Western cultures experienced a tremendous shift in the economic base from one based upon agriculture to one based on the town market and produced consumer goods. It was also a time when the shift in the long-held class systems from that of a feudal organization made up of the traditionally wealthy and the barely recognized desperately poor to one consisting of a greater stratification, in which social mobility was possible had become undeniable. According to Stephen Greenblatt (1997), This is a world in which outward appearance is everything and nothing, in which individuation is at once sharply etched and continually blurred, in which the victims of fate are haunted by the ghosts of the possible, in which everything is simultaneous as it must be and as it need not have been (60). Within this chaotic world of change and instability, architects, artists, and writers turned to the solid foundations of the ancient world, the ‘classics’, attempting to discover a solid base in what would come to be termed the Neoclassical period.The structural ruins of the ancient world had already been rediscovered along with the basic principles of science during the 1400s. The influences of the ancient Greeks and Romans on the development of visual art in the form of paintings, sculpture, and architecture during the Italian Renaissance have been well-documented. The process of architectural theory, as we know from a modern study, is a continuous process.
NeoClassic Architecture and its Reliance on the Ancients