19th Century Paintings

19th Century Paintings

From the beginning of the 1800s we saw a huge expansion in British & European art movements. The Victorian era produced a number of artistic movements.

Impressionism

Impressionism is a 19th-century art movement, associated especially with French artists. Artists such as Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir and Camille Pissarro. They attempted to accurately and objectively record visual ‘impressions’ by using small, thin, visible brushstrokes. These coalesced to form a single scene. They emphasize movement and the changing qualities of light. Being anti-academic in its formal aspects, the impressionists, were excluded from the government-sponsored annual exhibitions called Salons. They responded by creating independent exhibitions outside of the established venues of the day.

Romanticism

Romanticism embodies a broad range of disciplines, from painting to music to literature.  They embraced both classical art and Neoclassicism. Romantic artists emphasized the individual and imagination. Another defining Romantic ideal was an appreciation for nature. With many turning to plein air painting. This brought artists out of dark interiors and enabled them to paint outside. Artists also focused on passion, emotion, and sensation over intellect and reason.

Prominent Romantic painters include Henry Fuseli, who created strange, macabre paintings that explored the dark recesses of human psychology. William Blake, whose mysterious poems and images conveyed mystical visions and his disappointment in societal constraints.

Neoclassical

As its name suggests, the Neoclassical period drew upon elements from classical antiquity. Archaeological ruins of ancient civilizations in Athens and Naples that were discovered at the time reignited a passion for all things past. Artists strove to recreate the great works of ancient art. This translated to a renewed interest in classical ideals of harmony, simplicity, and proportion.

Neoclassical artists were influenced by classical elements. In particular, a focus on idealism. Inevitably, they also included modern, historically relevant depictions in their works. Italian sculptor Antonio Canova drew upon classical elements in his marble sculptures. He avoided the cold artificiality that was represented in many of these early creations.

19th Century Paintings