Naturalism and the Decline of Deference: The Politics of Style in British Landscape Painting, c.1805-25
03 Nov 2017, 17:30 to 03 Nov 2017, 19:30
Marxism in Culture
IHR Wolfson Room NB01, Basement, IHR, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
Since the 1970s, the social history of British landscape painting has generally focused on the ideological connotations of representations of landed property and of the life and work of agricultural laborers. A particular concern has been the ways in which parliamentary enclosures and the destruction of common rights in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries impacted on the iconography of rural England. This paper approaches the social significance of landscape painting from a different angle, arguing that the novel stylistic features of some of the most original painting of the period should be understood as a challenge to patrician authority by painters emboldened by Romantic conceptions of the artist and the democratic aspirations of the post-1815 years. As such, style spoke a language of class at the very moment when an articulate middle-class interest was first emerging in political discourse in Britain.
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