Cultural historians call the 18th century the Age of Enlightenment or the Age of Reason. Reason (logic) became the touchstone for evaluating nearly every civilized endeavor.
ART - JEAN AUGUST DOMINIQUE INGRES
Cultural historians call the 18 th century the Age of Enlightenment or the Age of Reason. Reason (logic) became the touchstone for evaluating nearly every civilized endeavor. Chapter 17 Neoclassicism, Romanticism, and Realism
An optimistic and even reverential attitude toward scientific enquiry extended to historical and archeological studies. This new awareness of history plus the discovery of Pompeii and Herculaneum helped make Neoclassicism the dominant style of art in the later 18th century.
Neoclassicism is characterized by: -subject matter and styles borrowed from ancient Greece and Rome -heroic nudity in sculpture and sometimes painting -classical orders in architecture -dominance of drawing over painterly effects in the visual arts.
Playful Rococo gave way to noble and serious modes of expression (Neoclassical). Some artists expressed this new sobriety through their choice of subject matter while still using Rococo forms and coloring.
At the same time Neoclassical became popular, Romanticism also became popular. Romanticism often featured: -fantastic or literary themes -sometimes set in a long ago time or place -and full of a spirit of poetic fancy or sadness.
Many artworks at the end of the 18 th century combine elements of Neoclassicism and Romanticism .
Vig ée-Lebrun’s portrait of the French Queen, Marie Antoinette falls into the mode of using a serious subject with Rococo forms and coloring. The painting was done as propaganda to try to change the public’s opinion of the queen. She was thought of by the public as immoral, extravagant and conniving, but here she is shown as a devoted mother. This was painted two years before the outbreak of the French revolution.
Although Vig ée-Lebrun had to leave France during the Revolution, she was able to make a good living in Italy, Austria, Russia and England. Eventually she resettled in Paris and continued to do well with her painting. In her long career she painted about 800 portraits in her vibrant style that changed very little over the years.
In 1783, Vig ée-Lebrun was admitted to the Academy along with Labille-Guiard. There were only four positions for women in the academy at that time. This painting by Labille-Guiard, was exhibited in the Paris Salon in 1785. She painted this to dispel rumors that her paintings were done by a man. The only man in the picture is a bust of her father.
In England, Thomas Gainsborough achieved great success with paintings such as Portrait of Mrs. Richard Brinsley Sheridan which shows the singer and wife of the playwright seated informally outdoors. Her head is framed by the tree and her windblown hair matches the leaves on the tree. This painting shows one of the new values of the Enlightenment: the emphasis on nature and the natural as the sources of goodness and beauty.
In Colonial America , the taste of the settlers was generally conservative , and styles often lagged behind the European mainstream. John Singleton Copley, a talented artist from the Colonies, eventually went to Europe to study art and settled in England. For more than a century, talented artists of the young United States followed in Copley’s footsteps…going to Europe for the best training and to forward their careers.
Reformers began to say that art should promote and support public virtue and integrity…so Moralized Genre Painting was born. The British tended to like amusing and easily understood satire and moralizing scenes in stead of high minded history paintings of mythology or Bible stories. This contradicted art theorists who had long considered history painting the highest form of art William Hogarth, The Marriage Contract , from Marriage à la Mode , 1743-1745. Oil on canvas, 28”X36”. The National Gallery, London.
A leading Neoclassical painter, Angelica Kauffmann , had been asked to come to England, and in 1768, she and one other woman were included in the founding members of the Royal Academy in London. (see page 462)
In her painting Cornelia Pointing to her Children as Treasures , Kaufmann follows the rules of academic Neoclassical art by illustrating an incident from ancient Rome and a moral lesson.
A woman visitor had been showing Cornelia her jewels, and she asked to see the jewels of Cornelia. Cornelia gestures to her children and states “These are my jewels.” The setting is classically simple, and the figures are loosely based on Roman wall paintings, but the idealization of the good mother belongs unmistakably to the 18th century
In France, Jacques-Louis David developed a truly Neoclassical painting style. In 1774, he won the Prix de Rome , a scholarship for study in Italy awarded to the top graduating students from the French Academy’s art school. After his return to Paris, he produced a series of severe classical paintings that extolled the virtues of moral incorruptibility, stoicism, courage and patriotism.
The first of these, painted as a royal commission, was the Oath of the Horatii. The young men’s father, Horace, administers the oath to his sons. The women weep, knowing that whatever the outcome of the battle, a loved one will be lost.
When first exhibited, the painting caused a sensation. It became an emblem for the French Revolution, especially to the Jacobins, a group who abolished the monarchy and presided over the Reign of Terror. (1793-1794) (during one stretch of 47 days, 1,376 people were guillotined.)
After Napoleon was named emperor in 1804, David became his court painter . Even before then, David had painted Napoleon as a larger-than-life figure. Napoleon Crossing the Saint-Bernard is an idealized version of a military campaign…Napoleon actually made the crossing on a donkey . The style of this painting owes as much to the Baroque as to Neoclassicism.
David’s career was tied so closely to Napoleon, that when Napoleon fell from power in 1814, David moved to Brussels, where he died in 1825.
David trained many young artists, and one of his most talented pupils was Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres . Although Ingres painted literary subjects and contemporary events, they were less successful than his female nudes and erotically charged portraits of women….especially his representations of the odalisque (a woman living in the woman’s quarter of a Turkish house) The odalisque appealed to patrons because of its exotic, non western source.
Although classically trained, he treated a number of Romantic themes (such as the odalisque) in a highly personal, almost Mannerist fashion. Note the elongation of her back, the widening of her hips and her tiny feet. All appear anatomically incorrect, but compelling.
Romanticism Romantic painting features loose, fluid brushwork , strong colors , complex compositions , dramatic contrasts of dark and light , and expressive gestures and poses -suggesting a revival of the Baroque. The Romantic style became identified with a type of social commentary in which the dramatic presentation was intended to stir public emotions. This was especially true in the work of the two leaders of the Romantic movement: Th éodore Géricault and Eugéne Delacroix.
After a trip to Rome, where he studied the work of Michelangelo, G éricault came back to Paris determined to paint a great picture of a contemporary event. He decided to use the scandalous and sensational wreck of the Medusa.
In 1816, a ship of colonists headed for Madagascar ran aground near it’s destination. The captain was an incompetent aristocrat appointed by the monarchy for political reasons. There were not enough lifeboats. The captain ordered 152 passengers and crew into a small raft which tossed on the sea for nearly two weeks before it was found. The 15 survivors had subsisted for the last days of their horrific on human flesh.
G é ricault decided to show the moment when the survivors first spot the rescue ship, but survival was not yet assured.
The artist’s academic training shows in the painting’s organization within a series of interlocking triangles.
Delacroix followed G éricault as the inspirational leader of the Romantic movement. The contrast in styles between the Large Odalisque and Women of Algiers points out the difference between the Neoclassical style (clear, linear, sculptural) and the diffuse, colorful, painterly Romantic mode.
Although Delacroix generally supported liberal political aims, his visit in 1832 to Morocco seems to have stirred his more conservative side. Images of hedonism and passivity countered the contemporary demands of many French women for property reform, more equal child-custody laws and other egalitarian initiatives.
In Spain, Francisco Goya y Lucientes became a major figure in the Romantic movement. His study of Velázquez and Rembrandt began to manifest in his work in freer brushwork , richer colors , and dramatic presentation . The artist did not share the Enlightenment faith in the ultimate rationality and goodness of humanity, and he believed that the violence, greed, and foolishness of society had to be examined mercilessly if it were to be changed in any way
Goya’s painting of the family of Charles IV openly acknowledges the influence of Vel ázquez’s Las Meninas . Goya even places himself behind the easel on the left, just as Velázquez had in his painting.
Goya’s painting is realistic rather than flattering. Viewers who first saw the painting, in 1800, were impressed with the honesty of the painting which was refreshingly “modern.” In 1808 Napoleon conquered Spain and placed his brother on the throne. Many Spaniards welcomed the French, hoping for liberal reforms, but the government soon turned despotic*. * Despotism is government by a singular authority, either a single person or tightly knit group, which rules with absolute power
On May 2, a rumor spread that the French were going to kill the royal family. People rose up and a day of street fighting resulted. Hundreds of Spanish people were executed the next morning.
Fighting spread into the countryside, and for the next six years the Spanish conducted guerilla warfare against the French. The events of this were recorded in a print series, The Horrors of War .
The scenes are like scenes from a nightmare…When asked why he painted such brutal scenes, he said: ”To warn men never to do it again.” The Enlightenment’s faith in reason and empirical knowledge was countered by Romanticism’s celebration of the emotions and the subjective forms of experience as dramatized in Goya’s The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters.
Romantic taste in England found an outlet in landscape painting. Romantic landscape generally took two forms: Naturalistic or Dramatic John Constable William Turner
Naturalistic Style -closely observed representation of tranquil nature. -meant to communicate reverence for the landscape as a spiritual place. -to counteract the industrialization and urbanization that was quickly transforming it.
The Dramatic -emphasized turbulent or fantastic natural scenery, often shaken by natural disasters. -aimed to stir the viewers emotions and arouse a feeling of the sublime.
In spite of his training at the Royal Academy, where landscape was considered an inferior art form, Constable was greatly impressed with the Dutch landscape artists, and theirs were the example he followed.
The White Horse is an example of Constable’s powers of observation. He made outdoor sketches and then painted from his sketches in his studio. His style is sometimes called Romantic naturalism, and he avoided the Romantic tendency toward drama and grandeur.
Turner, a contemporary of Constable, rapidly won public acclaim for his work. He was elected a full member of the Royal Academy, and later became a professor there. As Turner’s personal style matured, the phenomena of colored light and misty atmosphere became the true subjects of his paintings. Academics thought his paintings looked unfinished, but his admirers said they were golden visions painted with tinted steam.
The Fighting “T éméraire,” Tugged to her Last Berth to be Broken Up is a painting of an actual event, and a study in the optical effects of the sun setting over the water.
The “ Téméraire” had been the second ranking British ship at the Battle of Trafalgar, a great British victory over the combined fleets of Spain and Napoleon’s France. Thirty three years later Turner watched it being towed away to be destroyed. Some say that this is a painting abut the passing of the old order…the old sailing ship being tugged away by the steam engine-driven tug.
<ul><li>Early Photography </li></ul><ul><li>Photography was developed as a way to “fix” a visual impression produced by a camera onto light sensitive material. </li></ul><ul><li>Daguerre’s first picture of this type (daguerreotype) makes the earliest claim for photography as an art form because of it’s artistic subject matter. </li></ul>
Daguerre’s method could only make one image, each one unique. Eventually, Fox Talbot invented a technique that used a negative so that a photograph could be reproduced limitless times. This is the basis of modern photography.
While Europe suffered through the Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815) the US was entering an era of great optimism and expansion. The new country was moving into the forefront of the industrialized world.
Thomas Cole was America’s foremost Romantic landscape painter in the first half of the 19th century. Landscapes became his chief interest, and his style became known as the Hudson River School. Cole considered views like The Oxbow to be America’s “antiquities.” The fading storm suggests that the wild will eventually give way to civilization
Pictures of everyday American life were also popular. George Caleb Bingham was the first major painter to live and work in the western half of the country. His work was scenes of everyday life along the Mississippi River.
Bingham’s scene in Fur Traders Descending the Missouri seems not only idealized but also nostalgic…by the time it was painted, independent French trappers who had opened up the fur trade in the US were being replaced by trading companies using larger, more efficient craft. This painting records a vanished way of life.
The Industrial Revolution reached the US by the early 19th century. A transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869 and by the 1890’s, the American frontier had all but disappeared In the second half of the 19th century, both the US an Europe would experience a new art and a new modern age