The Painting of Modern Life



It has long been recognised that French Impressionism was in some ways a response to the economic, political and social upheavals of Second Empire Paris. But although the links between the Victorian novel and the city have received extensive critical attention, treatments of Victorian painting have largely failed to consider why, despite radical changes in London comparable in scale to Haussmann’s remodelling of Paris, no developments in English art occurred comparable to French Impressionism.1


Modern Life Royal Academy Sexual Double Standard Protestant Work Ethic Picture Space 
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  1. 1.
    For surveys of Victorian representations of London, see Victorian Artists and the City, ed. Ira Bruce Nadel and F.S. Schwarzbach (New York, 1980); Google Scholar
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  5. 5.
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    Two notable exceptions are George Clausen’s Schoolgirls (1880) and A Spring Morning, Haverstock Hill (1881), which juxtapose middle-class girls and women with working-class flower-sellers, a milk-seller, and street pavers. For reproductions, see Casteras, Images of Victorian Womanhood, fig. 24 and plate; Wood, Victorian Panorama, pl. 161. Compare also Edward Clegg Wilkinson’s Spring — Piccadilly (1887), in Wood, pl. 160; and Logsdail’s contemporaneous painting (figure 38 infra). At a more facile level, Augustus E. Mulready’s mawkish paintings of the haves and the have-nots offer a trite moral commentary on social inequalities.Google Scholar
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  64. 101.
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© Alan David Robinson 2004

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