Lionel Lambourne Victorian Painting

ISBN 13: 9780714837765

Victorian Painting

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9780714837765: Victorian Painting
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This text presents an overview of one of the most fertile and exuberant periods in the history of art. It embraces not only the UK but also the English-speaking countries linked to England by the cultural ties of empire and emigration. Long out of fashion, Victorian painting is now enjoyed in its own right. This book is divided by themes into 22 chapters, and features anecdotes and colour illustrations from the period. It can also serve as a reference work as it features the work of some lesser-known artists, as well as the famous and well-loved images.

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Review:

After 500 pages of sparkling, appreciative text and gorgeously reproduced paintings of fairies, angels, knights in shining armor, Queen Victoria, rustic bumpkins, mermaids, society ladies, gamboling colts, roses, storm-tossed seas, and small children accompanied by mutts, not to mention Ophelia floating beautifully in her watery, flower-strewn grave, readers may feel as if they inhabit the 19th century. It's a shock to wake up to the end of the 20th instead, and to the end of a deeply satisfying book. Lionel Lambourne, who was head of paintings at London's Victoria and Albert Museum for nearly a decade, writes with knowledge, wit, and grace. "Scratch a cynic and you will always find a sentimentalist," he says with regard to Victorian genre painting. In discussing the nude and a return to classicism, he writes, "Such works ... provided an additional thrill for their nouveau riche owners, for by displaying them they could show evidence of classical leanings, if not a classical education."

After an excellent introductory overview, Lambourne divides his course into 21 chapters, including: "The Victorian Art Establishment," "The Fresco Revival," "The Panorama," "Childhood and Sentiment," "Fairy Painting," "Sporting and Animal Painting," "The Pre-Raphaelites," "The Frailer Sex and Fallen Woman," "Aesthetes and Symbolists," and "Impressionism in Britain." The editing and design of the book are superb, with reproductions exactly matching the text and captions containing all relevant information. Lambourne offers new dimensions even to history we think we know well, such as Whistler's lawsuit against the critic John Ruskin, who famously accused the artist of "flinging a pot of paint in the public's face." In Lambourne's view, the controversy "marked the beginning of aspects of art as various as conceptualism and abstraction," and he goes on to explain why. A tour de force of scholarship served up with style, Victorian Painting does ample justice to a complex, frequently misunderstood era. --Peggy Moorman

About the Author:

Lionel Lambourne, OBE, was Head of Paintings at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, from 1986 to 1993. His publications include Japonisme (2004) and The Aesthetic Movement (1996), also published by Phaidon.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780714843599: Victorian Painting

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ISBN 10:  0714843598 ISBN 13:  9780714843599
Publisher: Phaidon Press, 2003
Softcover

9780821223260: Victorian Painting

Bulfinch, 1999
Hardcover

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