Post-World War I European Classicism

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Following the devastation of World War I, and until the outbreak of World War II, a "return to order" permeated the arts in Europe. Characterized by a rejection of prewar avant-garde practices—abstract art in general, Cubism and its fracturing of reality, and the extreme introspection of Expressionism—many artists returned to more traditional modes of representation, embracing classical modeling of figures, solid volumes, and references to antiquity. This sweeping movement encompassed various national or regional tendencies, such as Neue Sachlichkeit in Germany; Giorgio de Chirico's Pittura Metafisica, second-generation Futurism, and the Etruscan-inspired archaism of Mario Sironi in Italy; as well as Purism and Fernand Léger's Tubism in France.

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