The use of Classical motifs and decoration, whether Greek or Roman, is often associated with rationalist ideals and the idea of stability. Rationalism steers away from supernatural or religious explanations for the phenomena of the world, and supports science, skepticism, and the experimental method. It tends towards materialism and a non-metaphysical worldview. The classical style is often used in traditional bank and government buildings such as those in Washington, DC, to give an aura not only of stability, but of Empire.
Neoclassicism is the use of these Roman and Greek forms and images long after the age of Greece and Rome. In the "Enlightenment" era of the 18th century in Europe, neoclassical design was popular. This architectural study depicts archways and elaborate cornices in the church of St. Genevieve in Paris, which was built in the later third of the 18th century. Interestingly, rationalist forms here support a religious building.
I am interested in the Neoclassical style for non-rational reasons. I find this style compatible with various fantasy universes which feature galaxy-spanning star empires imitating ancient Rome or Byzantium, such as the "Warhammer 40,000" gaming world. Eventually I'll be pairing Neoclassical forms and ornament with space-suited super-warriors, as the authors meant it to be. That is, if I ever get my main computer back in action, and if I ever make larger artworks any more.
Pitt drawing pen and greyscale markers on sketchbook page, 3 1/2" x 4", June 14, 2013.