Friday, October 28, 2011

Victorian Painting

The second half of the 19th century has been called the positivist age and one of the most fascinating periods in history. It has been an age of faith in the positive consequences of what can be achieved through the close observation of the natural and human realms.

The spirit of 19th century England could be personified through Queen Victoria and it's known as the Victorian era. It is covering the eclectic period of 64-year reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1901. British Empire became the most powerful, and England the most modern, and wealthy country in the World.

The faith that science and its objective methods could solve all human problems was not novel.The idea of human progress had been gradually maturing. The world was truly progressing at break-neck speed, with new inventions, ideas, and advancements - scientific, literary, and social - developing. The middle class became self-made men and women who reaped of profits. Prosperity brought a large number of art consumers, with money to spend on art.

When most people think of the Victorian era, high fashion, gilded age, rich with elegance, splendor, and romance, strict etiquette, and plush or eclectic decorating styles come to mind - but it was so much more than that. Victorian era covers Classicism, Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Impressionism, and Post-Impressionism. Classicism, with the accurate and apparently objective description of the ordinary, observable world, was specially viewed as the opposite of Romanticism. Paintings of the Romantic school were focused on spontaneous expression of emotion over reason and often depicted dramatic events in brilliant color. Impressionism, a school of painting that developed in the late 19th century, was characterized by transitory visual expressions that focused on the changing effects of light and color. Post-Impressionism was developed as a reaction to the limitations of Impressionism. Victorian art was shown in the full range of artistic developments, from the development of photography to the application of new technologies in architecture.

In the midst of these artistic movements, painters Dante Rossetti and William Holman Hunt formed the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848. The avant-garde artists banded together with the common vision of recapturing the style of painting that preceded Raphael, famed artist of the Italian Renaissance. The brotherhood rejected the conventions of industrialized England, especially the creative principles of art instruction at the Royal Academy. Rather, the artists focused on painting directly from nature, thereby producing colorful, detailed, and almost photographic representations. The painters sought to transform Realism with typological symbolism, by drawing on the poetry and literature of William Shakespeare and their own contemporaries.

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