Tag Archives: Greek Revival Style

Greek Revival Style

The Greek Revival style, at its height from 1820 to 1840 in America, parallels a period of geographic expansion and growing national identity.  Part fashion, part conscious aesthetic, the Greek Revival, or Grecian, style is defined by the adaptation of ancient Greek forms of architecture and decorative motifs to new uses.  Publications such as James “Athenian” Stuart’s and Nicholas Revett’s Antiquities of Athensthe first accurate survey of Greek architecture ever undertaken—originally published in four volumes from 1762 through 1816, sparked a fashion for the Grecian style first in Europe and then in America.  In America, though, it was more than fashion. It was political.  As a young country emerging from the shadow of our British colonial past, we sought new paradigms and found parallels in the Greek War for Independence of 1821-1828, during which time, after nearly four hundred years of Turkish rule, Greeks fought their own revolution. Viewing ourselves as inheritors of the Greek democratic tradition forging a new democratic state, seeing parallels with another people fighting for their own freedom, we imagined ourselves as a new Athens. Our classically educated politicians and landowners were also familiar with the myths and history of Greece and the classical world.

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