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Art History Course


4. Escape to the Past and Fin de Siecle: Medievalism, Aestheticism and Post-Impressionism


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.

Seismic changes in the early nineteenth century led to a crisis in faith in northern Europe. Protestantism splintered into a number of sects. The public - and artists - yearned for the simplicity of a Medieval past.

Rossetti and Burne-Jones led pre-Raphaelitism into the Aesthetic movement. This morphed into a darker, brooding Symbolism on the continent.

In France a few lone artists were developing new directions for art, breaking with Impressionism, inspired by the latest Freudian thinking and the lure of so-called 'Primitive' cultures.

Join me to explore art and culture towards the close of the century.