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Art History Course


2. Industrial Revolution and the Natural World: Romantic, Rural and 'en plein air'


The nineteenth century was a period of enormous upheaval: political, social, technological. It is, therefore, no surprise that avant-garde art at the end of the century looked very different from art being made in the early 1800s.

When the Napoleonic wars curtailed travel abroad, British Grand Tourists sought spectacular scenery at home. A taste developed for 'The Sublime'. This fashion also grew in Northern Europe and, later, in the USA.

The industrial revolution and urban expansion created a growing nostalgia for the countryside. Taste shifted to more comforting rural views.

The new railways could transport artists to the countryside and new tubed paints made it possible to paint 'en plein air'. The Impressionists became fascinated by the science of atmospheric light.

Join me to explore changing responses to the landscape through the century.