Neo-Renaissance is a form of Historicism, it is characterized by a clear reversion to Renaissance. Stylistic elements from Neo-Renaissance can mainly be found in architecture and in handicrafts all the way through the 19th century. Neo-Renaissance had its beginning in France, just as Neo-Rococo, from where it was brought on the way to the rest of Europe and to America. After the German Empire had been founded in 1871, Neo-Renaissance was propagated as a national style.
As Renaissance had always been regarded as the epitome of culture, individualism and free cities, it was mainly employed for the construction of cultural institutions, such as museums and theatres, but also for administrational buildings and monuments. The most important architects were Leo von Klenze (1784-1864), whose main work was the Leuchtenberg-Palais (1817-21) and the "Alte Pinakothek" (1826-36) in Munich, Friedrich von Gärtner (1791-1847) and Gottfried Semper (1803-79), whose opera house and gallery of paintings have a major contribution to Dresden's architectural appearance. By reverting to principles of Renaissance architecture, Neo-Renaissance buildings are characterized by a cohesive harmony, decorative elements in form of rectangles and circles, such as the ring arch, cornices serving as horizontal elements of arrangement, pillars and pilasters were in line with the classic arrangement.
Neo-Renaissance tendencies could also be observed in handicrafts. The bodies of furniture were mostly made of heavy dark woods, preferably walnut, and decorated with small carved or turned pillars; seating furniture was covered with silk cloth in colors. Georg Hirth's book "Das deutsche Zimmer der Gotik und Renaissance" (The German room in Gothic and Renaissance) from 1879 had a great impact on the formation of the style.