Eclecticism

“Eclecticism” is a name given to a group of ancient philosophers who tried to select the doctrines that seemed to them most reasonable, and out of these constructed a new system. The name was first generally used in the 1st century BCE.


it is a notable example of eclecticism. Elements of the gothic stylewere merged with oriental motifs and forms found in the natural world, resulting in a structure that was distinctive and original.[2] Although it was designed during the peak of the eclectic period ,it remains under construction today.
The church of the Sagrada Familiain Barcelona , Antonio Gaudi , (1883–today).
image source: http://uk.businessinsider.com/sagrada-familia-almost-done-2015-11?r=US&IR=T

In spite of the fact that this art movement might not be recognized as a separate style in the world of design, for many people eclecticism is still perceived as a separate and distinct movement.


The first person who has brought the term “eclectic” into the world is presumed to be Johan Joachim Winckelmann (German art historian and archaeologist.). This term was used for the work of Carracci, who created his painting combining classical tradition with the elements of Renaissance.

Annibale Carracci, Sleeping Venus, 1602-1603, oil on canvas, Musée Condé.
Annibale Carracci, Sleeping Venus, 1602-1603, oil on canvas,
Musée Condé.

image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleeping_Venus_(Carracci)

The eclectic style it is characterized by the fact that it is not a particular style. It is the borrowing of a variety of styles, ideas and theories, drawn from different time periods and different origins and combining them within a single project.

A lot of efforts, thoughts, and creativity is necessary in order to make the project, in eclectic style, look logically interconnected.

More than just throwing everything together, eclectic design works to make all these different styles work cohesively.

Elements are thoughtfully connected with the other parts of the style in the space.

Colors, fabric and finish tend to be neutral to further help these different influences come together and avoid the chaotic look with the other features of the design.

info source: http://www.slideshare.net/sandradraskovic/eclecticism-33883012

The Palace of Justice, Rome, Designed by the Perugia architect Guglielmo Calderini and built between 1888 and 1910.
The Palace of Justice, Rome, Designed by the Perugia architect Guglielmo Calderini and built between 1888 and 1910.

image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palace_of_Justice,_Rome

Contemporary context

In contemporary society, styles that draw from many different cultural and historical styles are loosely described as “eclectic” though references to eclectic architecture within literature and media are usually about buildings constructed within the eclectic movement of the late 19th-early 20th century period.

Main Eclectic Architects

  • Daniel Burnham
  • Alexander Jackson Davis
  • Antonio Gaudi
  • Josef Hlavka
  • Richard Morris Hunt
  • Charles Follen McKim
  • William Mead
  • Richard Norman Shaw
  • Stanford White

info source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eclecticism_in_architecture

Eclecticism in art

Eclecticism is a kind of mixed style in the fine arts:

“the borrowing of a variety of styles from different sources and combining them” (Hume 1998, 5)

Significantly, Eclecticism hardly ever constituted a specific style also in art: it is characterized by the fact that it was the combination of elements from different historical styles in architecture, painting, and the graphic and decorative arts.

Indeed, AgostinoAnnibale and Lodovico Carracci had tried to combine in their art Michelangelo’s line, Titian’s color, Correggio’s chiaroscuro, and Raphael’ssymmetry and grace.

Joshua Reynolds, Lady Cockburn and Her Three Eldest Sons, 1773, oil on canvas.
Joshua Reynolds, Lady Cockburn and Her Three Eldest Sons, 1773, oil on canvas.

image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Lady_Cockburn_and_Her_Three_Eldest_Sons.jpg?uselang=en

In the 18th century, Sir Joshua Reynolds, head of the Royal Academy of Arts in London, was one of the most influential advocates of eclecticism. In the sixth of his famous academical Discourses (1774), he wrote that the painter may use the work of the ancients as a

“magazine of common property, always open to the public, whence every man has a right to take what materials he pleases” (Reynolds 1775).

In music the term used may be eithereclecticism or polystylism.

info source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eclecticism_in_art

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