Tuesday 11 March 2014 -
Desire and Pleasure in the Victorian Era, Pérez Simon Collection, exhibition
Victorian painting in the spotlight.
After the exhibition at the Jacquemart-André Museum in Paris and the Chiostro del Bramante in Rome, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid showcases a selection of Victorian paintings (1860-1914).
During the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901), various artistic movements were to develop in England. Among them, neoclassicism was one of the most popular trends for art lovers. It united painters such as Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Sir Frederic Leighton, John Strudwick, John William Waterhouse and Albert Moore, who for the most part were members of the prestigious Royal Academy.
Far from the great economic and industrial boom which characterized this period of English history, artists strove to break with the triviality of modern everyday life to honour a golden age; an imaginary and ideal world mainly inspired by Greco-Roman antiquity.
Artists thus developed a sensual aesthetic which was at the opposite end of the spectrum from the moralizing discourse of the Victorian era. Archaeological discoveries at great ancient sites, such as Pompeii first and foremost, were to help nourish the creativity of artists who enjoyed considerable success, such as Alma-Tadema, who was the most famous artist of this era.
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