Val Woodgate's Victorian Art Series 3
Friday 20 Nov 2020
11:00 - 12:00 BST
Victorian Art: the Stories and the Scandals
Pre-Raphaelites, Aesthetes, Olympians, Symbolists and The Woman Problem
Friday 20th November, 11.00am
Join Val Woodgate, Art Historian, for a lecture in the series about Victorian art. There are three lectures in this series to be enjoyed but you do not need to attend all.
More than in any other period, art in the Victorian age gives us a wonderful insight into life and attitudes of the time. Through art we are made aware of the deep gulf between the rich and the poor, the plight of the homeless, the tragedy of the millions forced to emigrate because of economic circumstances, the thrill the Victorians experienced when using the omnibus or the railway, and their attitudes to prostitution, the fallen woman and divorce.
The pictures also reveal the Victorian obsession with sickness and mortality, childhood and love, their fear of female demands for equality and the vote (‘The Woman Problem’), and much much more.
This lecture: Pre-Raphaelites, Aesthetes, Olympians, Symbolists and The Woman Problem
In this lecture we will look at several key artistic styles of the second half of the century, and the continuing issue of feminism and female sexuality, the Woman Problem. For many women the late 19th century was the Age of Repression and outspoken women were regarded as unnatural, irrational and dangerous. Responses to the dangerous woman can be found in all four of the styles mentioned in the title.
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, founded in 1848, challenged existing taste and, at a time of religious controversy, was at the centre at a scandal for the style and religious overtones of some early works. It was largely thanks to the support of Prince Albert and John Ruskin that within a couple of years they were to become a huge success.
The Olympians represented the art of the Establishment, while the Aesthetes’ cult of beauty for its own sake, or Art for Art’s Sake, was regarded by many as decadent. The cult of beauty was also central to the Olympians, with subjects from Greek and Roman myth inspired, among other things, by the Elgin Marbles.
Some of the art of any of these groups can also be described as Symbolist in works of art which are mood-creating and atmospheric but with no particular narrative. Symbolist art often reflects male fears of women.
This lecture will take place online via Zoom. The link will be sent to participants the day prior to the lecture.