Arts & Craft _timeline 1850/1914

In arts & craft, cronologias, movimentos on Novembro 16, 2008 at 6:38 am

• early 1860s The concept of “art for art’s sake” is introduced to Britain by the painters Frederic Leighton (1830–1896) and James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834–1903), and the poet Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837–1909). Originating as a literary term in France, l’art pour l’art, in the 1830s, promoted by writer Théophile Gauter (1811–1872), art for art’s sake asserts that a work’s formal properties—its organization, composition, coloring, and surface details—are more important than its subject, subverting meaning in favor of beauty. This notion gives rise to the Aesthetic movement in the arts and literature in Britain, and its champions, in addition to those above, include the writers Walter Pater (1839–1894) and Oscar Wilde (1854–1900), painter/designers Albert Joseph Moore (1841–1893) and Edward Burne-Jones (1833—1898), and the Pre-Raphaelite Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828–1882). Rossetti’s sensuously modeled female figures, rendered in a rich Venetian palette (see MMA 08.162.1), embody this cult of beauty. Whistler, in the Nocturne in Blue and Gold: Old Battersea Bridge (ca. 1872–75; Tate, London), rejects topographical details in an attempt to achieve “a certain harmony of color.” Orientalism and japonisme inspire the Aesthetic movement, particularly in the decorative arts, exemplified in the designs of E. W. Godwin (1833–1886) and in the Holland Park home and studio of Frederic Leighton, where an Arab Hall of polychrome marble, glittering with mosaic tiles collected from Leighton’s journeys to the East, serves as a gathering place for like-minded aesthetes. The Aesthetic movement flourishes in Britain through the 1880s, and influences the later Arts and Crafts movement.

• 1861 William Morris (1834–1896) founds the design firm of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co., employing the artists Ford Madox Brown (1821–1893), Edward Burne-Jones (1833–1898), Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828–1882), and Philip Webb (1831–1915) as designers. In a prospectus, Morris describes his designers as artists who “have felt more than most people the want of some one place, where they could either obtain or get produced work of a genuine and beautiful character.” For the firm, they design and produce mural decorations, architectural carvings, stained glass (see MMA 1998.231), metalwork, jewelry, furniture, embroidered items, and other decorative objects. A painstaking attention to detail, reliance on organic motifs, and a taste for medieval and legendary subjects distinguish handcrafted works by the firm from the mass-produced household objects made widely available by industrial progress.

• 1862 The London International Exhibition is held in South Kensington, giving greater prominence to the fine and applied arts than in the first Great Exhibition of 1851. The exhibition features a display of Japanese crafts and artifacts, as well as a Medieval Court, for which the firm of William Morris (1834–1896) furnishes many objects, including a painted cabinet now in the Metropolitan Museum (26.54).
• 1863 Sir George Gilbert Scott (1811–1878) designs a memorial to Prince Albert (died 1861). Commissioned by Queen Victoria and completed in 1872, the Albert Memorial, erected in Kensington Gardens, features a larger-than-life bronze statue of the prince seated beneath an immense Gothic tabernacle. Irish sculptor John Henry Foley (1818–1874) executes the sculpture of the prince, shown holding a copy of the catalogue from the Great Exhibition of 1851, as well as Asia, one of four marble groups of the Continents at the corners of the memorial. Henry Hugh Armstead (1828–1905) and John Birnie Philip (1824–1875) contribute a sculptural frieze that runs around its base, depicting 169 figures of the greatest composers, painters, architects, and sculptors from antiquity to the present. Called the Frieze of Parnassus, it is named after the mountain abode of the Muses and the site of the Oracle at Delphi.
• 1863 Julia Margaret Cameron (1815–1879) receives a camera from her daughter and son-in-law. She goes on to photograph members of her family and cultural luminaries of her day—many of them close friends: poet laureate Alfred, Lord Tennyson, writer Thomas Carlyle, actress Ellen Terry, poet Robert Browning, and Charles Darwin, among others. Her admiration for the appearance and spirituality of fifteenth-century Italian painting informs her idealized photographic portraits, which draw from literary and biblical imagery.
• 1875 William Morris (1834–1896) reorganizes his firm as Morris & Co., with himself as sole proprietor. It is around this time that he begins to design textiles and wall coverings with intricate botanical patterns. In 1890, Morris undertakes his last major business venture: the foundation of Kelmscott Press, which produces fifty-three elaborate handmade books between 1891 and 1898.
• 1877 The Grosvenor Gallery in London holds its first show. Avant-garde artists such as Edward Burne-Jones (1833–1898), James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834–1903), and Albert Joseph Moore (1841–1893) welcome this alternative to exhibit at the Royal Academy, for which they share a common disdain. Among the most controversial works at the Grosvenor show is Whistler’s Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket (1875; Detroit Institute of Arts), of which the critic John Ruskin writes, “I never expected to hear a coxcomb ask 200 guineas for flinging a pot of paint in the public’s face.” Whistler sues Ruskin for libel in 1878; he wins the trial, but his legal costs render him bankrupt, and he departs England for Venice in 1880.
• 1877 Painter Frederic Leighton (1830–1896) exhibits the lifesize bronze sculpture An Athlete Wrestling with a Python (1874–77; Tate, London) at the Royal Academy. With its anatomical naturalism and dynamic pose, the work marks the beginning of a movement known by 1894 as the New Sculpture. The individual styles of the New Sculptors represent a radical departure from the conservative Neoclassicism of earlier Victorian sculpture and an attempt to reform sculpture in Britain. Edward Onslow Ford (1852–1901) imbues his figural sculpture with a sensuality that relies more upon naturalism than on traditional canons of beauty. In his memorial to the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822) (ca. 1890; University College, Oxford), the drowned poet is shown nude, having washed ashore. The soft modeling of the recumbent nude emphasizes the poet’s youth, and the languorous pose effects a meditative pathos. Hamo Thornycroft (1850–1925) depicts classical subjects, including Artemis and Her Hound (bronze, 1882; Eaton Hall, Cheshire) and Teucer (1882; Tate, London), with a vigorous realism, while works such as the Mower (1888–90; Tate, London) evoke the early Renaissance sculpture of Donatello. Prominent in the work of Alfred Gilbert (1854–1934) is a decorative aesthetic and elements of fantasy, which he uses to explore the Symbolist themes of fate, love, and death. Best known are his Winchester Jubilee Monument to Queen Victoria (1887–1912; Winchester, Great Hall), the memorial to Anthony Ashley-Cooper, earl of Shaftesbury, in the form of a fountain surmounted by the figure of Eros (1885–93; Piccadilly Circus, London), and the polychromed, mixed media tomb of Prince Albert Victor, duke of Clarence (1892–1928; Albert Memorial Chapel, Windsor Castle).
• 1881 Theater impresario Richard D’Oyly Carte (1844–1901) builds the still-extant Savoy Theatre in London for the production of operettas by William S. Gilbert (1836–1911) and Arthur Sullivan (1842—1900). Sullivan’s melodic ingenuity and parodical play upon the Italian bel canto style pair with Gilbert’s witty libretti, which satirize Victorian culture and its preoccupations—law, the Peerage, naval supremacy, the role of women, Orientalism, and japonisme—in productions such as H.M.S. Pinafore (1878), The Pirates of Penzance (1879), Iolanthe (1882), and The Mikado (1885).
• 1884 Five architects—Gerald Horsley (1862–1917), William Richard Lethaby (1857–1931), Mervyn Macartney (1853–1932), Ernest Newton (1856–1922), and E. S. Prior (1852—1932)—and a group of artists led by Lewis Foreman Day (1845–1910) and Walter Crane (1845–1915) and known as The Fifteen, form the Art Workers’ Guild in London. This guild comprises the core of the Arts and Crafts movement, a term coined by the writer/bookbinder T. J. Cobden-Sanderson (1840–1922). Members of the guild, including Edward Burne-Jones (1833–1898), William Morris (1834–1896), and the architect Edwin Lutyens (1869–1944), profess a unity of the arts, placing as much importance on the design of simple domestic objects as on whole architectural structures. From the seeds planted by the Gothic Revival and Aestheticism, the Arts and Crafts movement represents a flowering of craftsmanship that takes as its chief inspiration the pre-Renaissance tradition of workshop production of objects both useful and beautiful. Other societies associated with this movement are the Home Arts and Industries Association, founded in 1884, which encourages the pursuit of crafts among the urban working classes, and the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, founded in 1888. The movement spreads to Ireland, where it becomes a vehicle for nationalism; to Scotland, where a distinct Glasgow Style emerges whose great exponent is the architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868–1928); and to the United States.
• 1886 After his Portrait de Mme*** (Madame X; MMA 16.53) provokes a scandal at the Paris Salon of 1884, painter John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) settles in England with the aim of escaping an unwelcome notoriety. He works in an Impressionist style nourished by his contact with Claude Monet, whom he visits several times in Giverny, and by the opportunity to sketch en plein air during two summers in the Cotswolds village of Broadway, Worcestershire (1885–86). There, in an informal colony that includes American painters Francis Davis Millet and Edwin Austin Abbey, Sargent paints Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose (Tate, London), a lifesize depiction of illustrator Frederick Barnard’s daughters lighting Japanese paper lanterns in Millet’s garden. The canvas wins great acclaim when it is shown at the Royal Academy in 1887, and is purchased for the British nation. The honor assuages the doubts of critics and potential patrons, and Sargent’s portraits—such as the animated likeness of Mrs. Hugh Hammersley (1892; MMA 1998.365), a British banker’s wife depicted in an elegant magenta gown and seated on a luxuriously upholstered sofa—are soon sought after on both sides of the Atlantic. The French sculptor Auguste Rodin in 1902 describes Sargent as the “Van Dyck of the era.”
• 1886 British artists inspired by contemporary French art found the New English Art Club. The influence of French Salon painters is soon eclipsed by that of the Impressionists, promoted by club member Walter Richard Sickert (1860–1942; see MMA 1979.135.17).
• 1892 J. M. Dent publishes the first installment of an edition of Sir Thomas Malory’s Morte d’Arthur. It features high contrast black-and white illustrations by Aubrey Beardsley (1872–1898), a young clerk encouraged by Edward Burne-Jones to pursue a career in art. Dent’s publications, mass produced using the latest methods of reproduction, allow Beardsley’s work to reach a far wider audience than the expensive handmade books produced by William Morris’ Kelmscott Press. In 1894, Beardsley assumes the art editorship for the Yellow Book, a new quarterly for avant-garde literature and art. In the same year, Oscar Wilde’s play Salome appears in print, translated from the French by Lord Alfred Douglas, the “Bosie” with whom Wilde is charged in 1895 with engaging in licentious acts. The overt eroticism of the play and its seventeen illustrations by Beardsley cause a scandal, and Beardsley is dismissed from his post. Though markedly influenced by the Aesthetes of the late nineteenth century, the French Rococo, and the aesthetic of Japanese prints, Beardsley’s drawings probe new depths of symbolism and evoke a realm of decadence and illicit fantasy. In The Kiss, Salome raises the severed head of John the Baptist to her lips, a ribbon of blood flowing into a pool from which a lily blooms.

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“Great Britain and Ireland, 1800–1900 A.D.”. In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/ht/10/euwb/ht10euwb.htm (October 2004)


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