definition of eclectic

Eclectic is a qualifying adjective used to refer to situations, phenomena or personalities that are characterized by having very different elements or traits, without this becoming a problem or pathology but rather as a way of combining diverse and broad features. Unlike what happens with some phenomena or with some types of personalities that are very extreme, the eclectic always means taking the best of the different elements present to make it a new and unique combination. The eclectic can easily be made visible in the way of thinking, of dressing, in the style of the person, in the design and decoration of interiors, etc.

Eclecticism is a process by which different features or characteristics are presented, which normally would not be combined but which can also give a new and different style, phenomenon or reality to the rest. The idea of ​​eclectic is used in most cases with a positive sense since it is assumed that those who maintain a style, a way of thinking, a way of facing eclectic reality does not want to be like anyone else but rather to build their own. own life from specifically selected elements, even though this combination of elements is not the common one.

However, in some cases it can also have a negative meaning when talking about things that are not usually combined together. This is especially visible in the field of political ideas or ideologies, since there are elements that are contradictory to each other of each current of thought and to say that a person is eclectic could mean that their choices or expressions do not make sense because they are combined for no reason. The same can happen with personal style since for those connoisseurs on the subject combining certain elements of a clothing style, for example, with elements of a contrasting style is not always well seen.

Eclecticism, Greek philosophy

It should be noted that the concept of eclectic comes from eclecticism, as it has been called at the instigation of philosophy to the philosophical school that arose in Greece and that was characterized by choice of philosophical conceptions, ideas, points of view and even evaluations of other philosophical schools, but that despite coming from other thoughts can be synthesized in a coherent way due to the compatibility they present. However, in some cases there may be contrapositions that do not make up an organic whole.

The philosopher, jurist and politician Marco Tulio Cicero He was the most prominent representative of eclecticism and for his part sought the conciliation of various theories and currents, taking from each the most important in order to break the contradictions that could arise a priori. For example, he knew how to combine theories of Stoicism, Peripatetics and Skepticism.

Artistic eclecticism

In the fine arts, eclecticism is a mixed type style whose aspects arise from various sources and styles and which was never constituted as a specific style. That is, in a single work either in the field of painting, architecture or decorative and graphic arts in which different influences will be combined.

German-born archaeologist and historian Johann Joachim Winckelmann It was he who used the concept of eclectic for the first time at the request of wanting to single out the artistic work of the painter Caracci, who would incorporate elements of classical art into his works.

Meanwhile, in the 18th century, the English painter Sir Joshua Reynolds who at that time directed the Royal Academy of Arts in London, was one of the staunch defenders of eclecticism. In one of his many speeches exhibited at the Academy, he was able to express that the plastic artist should use the art of antiquity as a magazine with common characteristics and take from it the elements that most please him.

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