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Victorian Art

Victorian art refers to painting in the United Kingdom during the reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1901. During this time, the United Kingdom was one of the most powerful and advanced nations in the world. Victorian artwork in the early years of her reign was influenced by the Italian Renaissance painter Raphael. It was thought that the artist should make the subject of their work appear noble.

The main subjects of commissions during this time were portraits of nobility, military, and historical scenes. The rise of the wealthy middle class soon changed the art market. Soon painting was done as accurately as possible rather than making the individual appear noble.

Victorian Paintings

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Wrexham, Denbighshire
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Portrait of a Young Girl in a Blue Hat, 1881
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Coastal scene. c.1830
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Lady in a Boat (detail)
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River bank, c.1830
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Stepping Stones, 1893
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Cockermouth Castle
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Landscape near Petworth, c.1828
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Study for Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (seated woman detail)
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On The Rhine
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Beach with figures and a jetty. c.1830
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Petworth, Sussex
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The Apple Seller, c.1890
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Victorian Bath I
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The Lake, Petworth: Sunset, Fighting Bucks
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Ulysses Deriding Polyphemus
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The Swing, 1876
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Children Playing with a Cat
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Portrait of a Young Woman with Blonde Hair and Blue Eyes, 1878
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Claude Monet reading a newspaper
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Dinner at Les Ambassadeurs
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The Little Gleaner, 1888
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Sonja Knips, 1898
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Yvonne and Christine Lerolle at the piano, 1897
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By 1870, Victorian art was being influenced by French Impressionist artists moving to London after the Franco-Prussian War. They brought a new style of painting. At this time, a severe economic depression made British cities an unpleasant place to live. There was a decline in the quality of painting. The aesthetic movement concentrated on creating works depicting beauty and noble deeds, as a distraction from reality.

The Victorian age ended in 1901. Most prominent artists of the time had already died. Victorian attitudes and arts became extremely unpopular. The modernist movement, which soon dominated British art, was drawn from other traditions that had little to do with the 19th century. In the 1960s, some works come back into fashion. A series of exhibitions in the 1960s and 1970s further restored their reputation. A major exhibit in 1984 was one of the most commercially successful exhibitions in the Tate Gallery’s history.
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