Nineteenth Century Literature- the Context of the Visual Arts: Enlightenment… Romanticism… Victorianism….

Art Gallery Quiz Questionnaire2019

HI All, we had an amazing experience this Wednesday, exploring the art of the Enlightenment, followed by the art of Romanticism (both in Europe and Australia) and then the art of the Victorian Era. These paintings depict many of the social and historical contexts and obsessions of the late 18th and 19th Centuries. Of particular interest is the way that the art of early Australia was such a powerful expression of the Romanticism that was sweeping England as well as Europe. Here in Australia (if you could close your eyes to the horrors of Convictism) there was an unspoilt world that had not been destroyed by industry in the way that Europe had.

Here are the audio tours in which you gave so many great insights into the works we discussed:

There is a  study sheet for you to download and print (from LEO) or from right here. I have also posted up here a number of the key works that we will be exploring. The questions in the study guide are designed to help you make sense of what you are looking at and to help you relate the paintings and art works to the preoccupations of the late 18th and 19th Centuries in poetry, fiction and drama. It is important to work through the questions with your team mates, but the most important thing is to enjoy the experience, and to come away with a deeper sense of what life in this period was actually like.

I could add two simple questions to the range of questions on the study guide and these would be:

  1. What is this painting/ art work telling me about human experience during the 18/19th Century? (Can you describe what is going on in the painting/ art work in as much detail as possible?)
  1. What is special about the way this painting is telling  its story? (Is it the colour,  the texture, the originality, the point of view?)

Your quiz this week will have some questions that are directly related to this art gallery visit. You will find some specific clues in the Questionnaire.  Enjoy!

Here are some of the paintings that we will be stopping by:

The Enlightenment: 


Romanticism in England and Europe: 

1/ John Glover: The Lake District UK: Ullswater 1824 (painted before he migrated to Tasmania.


Australian Romanticism

John Glover: Natives on the Ouse River 1838


John Glover: Launceston and the River Tamar 1832


The Victorian Hall



  3 comments for “Nineteenth Century Literature- the Context of the Visual Arts: Enlightenment… Romanticism… Victorianism….

  1. May 21, 2019 at 4:51 pm

    Sincere question. I’m not trying to be difficult. How do you sometimes differentiate between the different genres of art? In theory, it sounds simple. But I have seen some art books and websites and museums that will classify a certain painting from that period as Neoclassical, and another book or site or museum classify the same painting as Romantic. Take William Etty. You have him classified as Victorian art, but I’ve seen other sources that classify his work as Romanticism. I myself feel that some of Etty’s work is Neoclassical, but most are Romantic. There are is also debate about whether the Pre-Raphaelite school is just a school or an actual movement. I can see arguments for both. Though, frankly, I lean towards the Pre-Raphaelites being a school with a bunch of different art styles. Take Sir Laurence Alma-Tadema. I see sources that classify him as Romanticism, but I don’t at all. To me, he is Neo-classical bordering on Academicism. Heck, I even found an art book published by the Taschen that classified one of Ingres’s works as Romantic, though I felt it was more Neoclassical.

    Anyway, I’m not coming onto your wall to be difficult. I just wanted your perspective. By the way, I like what you have to write, so I am following your blog.

    • May 21, 2019 at 5:37 pm

      Hi Jonathan- you ask some interesting but very complex questions. In general I think that genres and periods are very artificial constructs that try to pigeonhole particular writers and artists. But as you rightly observe a particular writer or artist can be creating their work across a range of often competing and even contradictory categories. So I myself prefer to stay close to the artist’s own vision- and let the theoretical structures go their merry way- but then I might just be old fashioned ! Thanks for your thoughts!

      • June 2, 2019 at 5:07 am

        You responded to my question. I’m so pleased. Anyway, I am following your blog. You have a lot of good things to say.

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