Victorian-art

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John Martin (1789–1854, England)

Dramatic landscapes 2

John Martin was an English Romantic painter and one of the most popular artists of his day. He was celebrated for his typically vast and melodramatic paintings of religious subjects and fantastic compositions, populated with minute figures placed in imposing landscapes. His dramatic and subjective style of composition was in stark contrast to the emerging schools of naturalism and realism, which led his work to fall out of critical favour soon after his death, however a revival in interest has occured towards the end of the 20th century, and now his major works are popular pieces of many museum’s collections.

2

Romanticism/
Was an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to 1850. Romanticism was characterized by its emphasis on emotion and individualism as well as glorification of all the past and nature, preferring the medieval rather than the classical. It was partly a reaction to the Industrial Revolution. The aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment, and the scientific rationalization of nature. It was embodied most strongly in the visual arts, music, and literature, but had a major impact on historiography, education, and the natural sciences. It had a significant and complex effect on politics, and while for much of the Romantic period it was associated with liberalism and radicalism, its long-term effect on the growth of nationalism was perhaps more significant.

Frederic Leighton, Flaming June, 1895, oil on canvas, 120 × 120 cm, Museo de Arte de Ponce. Source

Flaming June perfectly presents the classicist style of Lord Leighton. The female subject, draped in a sheer orange garment, sleeps as peacefully as a nymph, perhaps unaware that she is being watched.

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John Atkinson Grimshaw (1836–1893, England)

Nocturnes

Grimshaw was an English Victorian-era artist, popular both during his time and in the present for his night-time depictions of British cities.

Grimshaw’s earliest influence was the Pre-Raphaelites. True to the Pre-Raphaelite style, he created landscapes of accurate colour and lighting, vivid detail and realism, often typifying seasons or a type of weather. Moonlit views of city and suburban streets and of the docks in London, Leeds, Liverpool and Glasgow also figured largely in his art. The focus on atmosphere, and lack of moral message or historical reference allies his work to some extent with the Aesthetic Movement.

His careful painting and his skill in lighting effects meant that he captured both the appearance and the mood of a scene in minute detail. His “paintings of dampened gas-lit streets and misty waterfronts conveyed an eerie warmth as well as alienation in the urban scene.” Later in life his colour palette shifted from dark blues to golden yellows, and towards the end of his life were hints of a change in artistic direction, with looser brushwork influenced by his friend James Abbott McNeill Whistler, who was quoted saying “I considered myself the inventor of Nocturnes until I saw Grimmy’s moonlit pictures.”