Victorian Classicism Art Movement

England 1860 - 1910

Victorian Classicism Art Movement, History, Victorian Classicism Paintings & Artists.

The Victorian Classicism Art Movement was a British form of historical painting propelled by the art history and architecture of Classical Greece and Rome. The Victorian classical revival in painting had little to do with ancient Greece or Rome. Despite the fact that Britons related to the old Greek and Roman eras and appreciated their accomplishments, artists in Victorian times reinterpreted the great events of the classical past instead of their own current experiences.

Queen Victoria Rules the World at Nineteen.

On June 28, 1838, at the age of 19, Queen Victoria became sovereign of a domain that, during her reign up to 1901, reached out to every one of the five continents. The so-called Victorian Age was a long and critical period in English history portrayed by intense economic development and a growing concern for morality. This recently discovered riches and mastery of a large part of the world enabled many to make the "Grand Tour" to Mediterranean lands, particularly Italy, and this interest energized the ascent of Classicism in Britain, and in continental Europe, Orientalism.

There is no simple definition of Victorian Classicism in the context of art. All the famous artists inclined towards eclectic and aesthetic oil paintings. Leighton's ambitious classicism was geared towards uplifting England's artistic aspirations, Alma-Tadema tamed Imperial Rome for the most un-Roman, unclassical purpose, Poynter sought to identify a heroic ideal, Moore used classical figures for aesthetic ends, and Waterhouse blended classical realism with poetic fantasy.

Victorian Classicism Putting Color to Antiquity.

The adherents of Victorian Classicism discovered motivation in Classical Greek and Roman writings, art, and architecture. This style of painting has an original elegance. Victorian Classicism is characterized by holding fast to a narrow approach to painting, following stringent academic composition rules and working from a constrained palette. Followers of this movement were influenced by the high requirements of the British and European Art Academies. The underlying foundations of Classicism can be found in Neoclassicism and Romanticism.

British Victorian Classicism favored Greek, Roman, and Renaissance subjects and their oil paintings were full of symbolism based on Biblical stories, Arthurian legends, and mythology.

The Classicists were associated with the Pre-Raphaelites, numerous artists being affected by both styles to some degree. Both movements were sentimental and motivated by comparable historical and mythological themes, the key qualification being that the Classicists embodied the unbending principles of Academic standards of painting, while the Pre-Raphaelites formed as a rebellion against those same standards.

Frederick Leighton and Lawrence Alma-Tandem were the leading Classicists, and in their lifetimes were considered by many to be the finest painters of their era and were immensely famous and popular, both frequently highlighting delicately clad women in intriguing or classical settings, while the allegorical works of G.F. Watts matched the Victorian feeling of high purpose. The more traditional Roman ladies of Edward Poynter and Albert Moore wore more garments and met with rather less success by the public and the critics.

Other Victorian Classicism artists: John Collier, Thomas Ralph Spence, Solomon Joseph Solomon, Aby Altson, Ralph Peacock, Arthur Drummond.

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