Classicism refers to the revival of the pictorial language of Greek and Roman (classical) antiquity. In the 15th and 16th century artists began taking the ancients as their model on a grand scale. Ever since this period – the Renaissance – classical subjects and forms have occupied a permanent place in Western art and architecture. The ancients set the standard against which all artistic expressions – the visual arts, architecture and literature – were measured.
Classicism refers to the period style between roughly 1650 and 1720. The strict principles of the Greek and Roman idiom accorded well with the philosophy of the Enlightenment, which glorified human reason. The end of the 18th century also witnessed renewed interest in classical antiquity following the archaeological excavations in Pompeii and Herculaneum in Italy. This movement is called Neoclassicism.