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Now understood to describe the classicizing style which evolved in European art of the later 18th and early 19th centuries in reaction to the florid sensuality of the Rococo. It embraced the fine and decorative arts and architecture, and its masters included the painter David (The Oath of the Horatii, Louvre, Paris), the sculptor Canova, and the architects Ledoux and Soane. The term was actually devised later, in the 1880s, and was originally pejorative, denoting 'pseudo-classical', and particularly directed at Jacques-Louis David and his school.

Text source: The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms (2nd Edition) by Michael Clarke

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