Becoming Modern Historical Context

The 1800s brought upon a modern age of both artistic and intellectual movements. Art transition to be more secular and focused more on nature and the roots of the people of Europe. Science also made a similar transition and many new inventions and ideologies went against ideas that were presented in the Bible. Things began to not only move away from the bible, but also from the upper class and began to focus on the middle class everyday lives.


Romanticism is a mindset and a way of feeling and was a step away from the industrial views people had began to lean towards. Romantic writers found relief in nature and found sympathy for madness. Glamour was also moved from adulthood to childhood and people began to like the irrational and the naive. Many writers and painters began to use nature as their inspiration. People began to follow their hearts rather than the money trail. The world around the romantic believes were for rationalism and technology, but romantic thinkers wanted to return to previous times and sink back into previously familiar ideas of irrationalism

JMW Turner

JMW Turner was born in the United Kingdom during a time when the navy watched over the UK’s kingdom the stretched all over the globe. Their military grew by the increasing economy driven by the industrial revolution. With the invention of steam power followed factories and mechanical processes. This industrial revolution helped to increase the wages of workers, but the standard of living plummeted. When Turner painted The Fighting Temeraire he used the actual war ship the HMS Temeraire as inspiration. Turner witnessed the ship as it went down the River Thames to be broken into scraps. The Temeraire had a historic past and Turner tried to depict the end of a historical era with its decommission, and also the technological change. The painting shows Britain's transition in technology and also the effect it had on centuries of traditions.

Fryderyk Chopin

Fryderyk Chopin was a Polish romantic composer who wrote only for the piano. Chaplin has a strong relationship between the music and piano, showing how his music cannot be played on anything other than the piano. In his pieces there is a lot of undecidedness which can be seen in the names of his work and the inability to attach a single emotion to each piece. Choplin’s work is different than composers such as Beethoven because he almost never uses trills. This reflects how the two composers have different worldviews that they show through their music.

John Keats

John Keats went to school at Enfield and apprenticed to a surgeon. Being unenthused by his work he began to meet with like minded poets and immerse himself in literature. His first book did not succeed and did not reach many people beyond his circle. His second book “Endymion” received a lot of harsh criticism. In eighteen months he produced a lot of different works that were highly praised, but his health dwindled. His work can be described as imaginative, melodious, picturesque and descriptive

Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin believed in the idea of evolution and that animal and plant life developed into new species over time. On top of evolution he also introduced the ideas of natural selection. His idea altered the way many people looked at men and the universe, it began to change people's conception of geologic time and human origins. The idea of evolution went against what the bible said when it depicts the creation of men. Darwin's theory began to draw the line between religion and the sciences. Darwin’s ideas were also changed to fit into a social “survival of the fittest” and were used when talking about laissez faire economics.

The Gleaners

The Gleaners by Jean-Francois Millet is very softly painted and has no hard lines, but the work being done in the painting is harsh. The women in the picture, or the gleaners, go out into the field after the corn is harvested and pick up the corn that has been left behind. The women in the photos are trying to collect food in order to provide for their family. The painting brought fear to people because they believed if the people who were like the gleaners were turned radical that they could possibly have another revolution

Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy saw a novel as something that could educate and reform people. Three of Tolstoy’s major works include “War & Peace” “Anna Karenina” and “The Death of Ivan Ilych.” He believed good art would be a supplement to religion. Tolstoy knew that novels had to be interesting and entertaining or else people wouldn’t read them, but he also knew that hey had a greater meaning. He thought books could lend you insight into other people’s lives helping you stumble your way into maturity.

Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud began as a neurologist and eventually found psychoanalysis, which is the theory that unconscious motives control behavior. Freud believed in the idea of the unconscious which was that awareness existed in layers and there were thoughts occurring “below the surface.” Dreams, Freud believed, were the unconscious at play. He also believed that the unconscious and the process of repression worked together and the unconscious decided what a person repressed. The information Freud collected he had believed to be scientific, but many people condemned his work.

The Dance Class

Edgar Degas in his painting “The Dance Class” was originally intended for the very first impressionist exhibition, but was not actually shown until two years later. This was the first exhibition of art and was very different than anything seen before. The mirror in the background shows the urban city through the window that is reflected through the mirror. The picture does not show a complete narrative but depicts girls doing everyday things, and not a perfect picture. The bottom left corner of the picture is left empty creating an asymmetry to the painting.

The Bedroom

Vincent van Gogh in his painting “The Bedroom” color is very important, and can produce emotion with whatever object it is. In this paint Van Gogh is trying to represent peacefulness and harmony. The simplicity of the painting makes the room inviting and his emotions toward the rooms. Compared to the sophistication of Paris and the paintings of the people around him van Gogh’s painting looked as if a child painted it, but he painted “The Bedroom” with care. His painting shows an authentic experience instead of a city painting.

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