United Kingdom Arts 2

United Kingdom Arts Part II


The court portrait school itself was dominated by mediocre English and Flemish painters. The work of the miniaturists N. Hilliard and I. Oliver, on the other hand, was an original and high-level artistic manifestation. In the second half of the century England approached Renaissance architecture with a casual and somewhat crude eclecticism, which uses French triumphal arches, French-derived banded pediments and elements of the English tradition (Burghley House, 1585, designed by William Cecil, advisor to Queen Elizabeth and amateur architect) and with original, artificial purism in the Elizabethan Prodigy Houses, grandiose country houses with a symmetrically articulated plan (E, H, with courtyards), compact volumes, flat roofs, sober pillared decoration , huge rectangular windows with horizontal and vertical divisions that emptied the walls (Longleat House, built by the client John Thynne with the collaboration of the master builder Robert Smythson, ca. 1568; Kirby Hall, 1570; Wollaton Hall, 1580-88; Hardwick Hall, 1590-97; Audley End, 1603-16; Hatfield House, 1605-12). At the same time, a type of private house linked to Dutch examples (in brick, with curved pediments or gable) spread in the cities.


If the often mediocre and persistently descriptive examples of the portraiture of the century. XVI were long influenced by Holbein, and those of the following century by the work of van Dyck (Walker, Dobson, Lely), also the monumental Baroque decoration, a genre of importation of which Rubens had given an essay in Whitehall (1634), it remained essentially linked to the names of the Italian A. Verrio and Sir J. Thornhill (ceiling of the Painted Hall in the Royal Hospital at Greenwich, 1675). Only in full sec. XVIII a school of painting emerged which, while not excluding contacts with continental schools, can be considered originally English and which, while escaping the traditional stylistic definitions, was divided into genres and currents with a well-defined physiognomy. W. Hogarth was the first in Europe to introduce contents of political and social satire into genre painting, and disseminated it through engravings. But according to Businesscarriers, the most widespread and requested genre by aristocratic patrons was the portrait, which reached its heights in the second half of the eighteenth century with A. Ramsey, with the “grand manner” of J. Reynolds, Th. Gainsborough, G. Romney and, in the early nineteenth century, with Th. Lawrence. In history painting we remember Reynolds, A. Boydell, B. West, JS Copley; in that of genre G. Stubbs, D. Wilkie and J. Wright of Derby. The taste for the landscape, cultivated on Flemish examples, was expressed in an original school of painting: if R. Wilson was inspired by the Lorraine and Gainsborough in Ruysdael, now modern accents are found in the painters of the Norwich school (J. Crome the Elder and JS Cotman) and in watercolor painters JR Cozens and Th. Girtin, all active between the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth century. JMW Turner, tied to a romantic and visionary conception of the landscape, interpreted it in a personal and fantastic way; heir to the watercolors was J. Constable, one of the creators of the modern “realist” landscape, whose work had a great influence on nineteenth-century French painting. Similar function was RP Bonington, who worked in France from 1817 to 1825. At the vein rather romantic, the literary inspiration, should refer the work of the Swiss H. Füssli (in Britain since 1764) and W. Blake who anticipated for some aspects of the symbolism and aestheticism of the Pre-Raphaelites. The Pre-Raphaelite movement, born in 1848 by the painters DG Rossetti, WH Hunt, JE Millais, was similar to the similar Nazarene movements in Germany and purist in Italy, but had greater coherence and force of propagation. From 1853 J. Ruskin also took care of the movement, on whose ideology the Arts and Crafts movement of W. Morris, E. Burne-Jones and W. Crane depends.. Arts and Crafts aimed at the programmatic recovery of the artisan tradition as an antithesis to the bad taste of industrial production: this is still a romantic position, but driven by a rigorous aesthetic requirement, especially important for the renewal of the minor arts and architecture, fields in which, after the picturesque eclecticism of John Soane (Soane Museum, 1812) and the neo-Greekism of Nash and Robert Smirke (British Museum, 1823), the recovery of “historical” styles prevailed among which the neo-Gothic (Parliament, of Ch. Barry and AWN Pugin, 1836) and the Neo-Renaissance (Reform Club, by Ch. Barry, 1837).

United Kingdom Arts 2