The Victorian age was a time greatly influenced by cultural trends influenced the growing industrialization of the era. Trends and movements such as The Great Exhibition of 1851, The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, The Arts and Crafts Movement and the Medieval/Gothic Revival, transformed England into a culture with a passion for visual advancement.
In 1849, Paris held one of several national exhibitions, showcasing products of craft and industry. Successfully hoping to advance interest in the industries, the idea of such an exhibition was emulated by the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London, England. The idea of holding such an event in London was presented to Prince Albert by an engineer named John Scott Russell. Although those of England did not favor the engineer, the plan for the exhibition won the favor of the Prince, with influence by the Queen since she ???wanted Albert to be a success??? (Dugan). The Great Exhibition was commonly referred to as The Crystal Palace Exhibition, due to the cast-iron and glass building in which the fair was held.
The Great Exhibition boosted Victorian culture, creating a vast appeal to a visual culture specifically. London exploded with an array of ???public amusements, popular shows, traveling exhibitions, circuses, sporting events, holiday resorts, and public gardens??? (Broadview LIV). This advancement in a culture that celebrated leisure time was even expanded to the working and lower classes, allowing them to entertain music and dance performances. During this time, London landmarks commonly recognized today were established, such as museums and department stores. Print technology also advanced, releasing ???the world??™s first illustrated weekly paper to hit newsstands, The Illustrated London News??? (Broadview LV).
Since the Victorian??™s became so fascinated with visual culture, naturally, painters of the era profited. A style known as ???Social Realism??? became quite popular, with portrayals of contemporary industrial culture, as well as domestic life. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood has been considered the most influential movement of painters of the Victorian Era. The Brotherhood was founded in 1849 by Ruskin influenced avante garde painters such as, William Holman Hunt, D.G. Rossetti, John Everett Millais, William Michael Rossetti, James Collinson, Thomas Woolner and F.G. Stephens in attempt to ???revitalize the arts??? (Landow). This movement challenged the domineering taste and conventional views in art by: ???painting bright colored, evenly lit pictures that appeared almost flat???, ???emphasizing precise, almost photographic representation of humble objects???, and ???attempting to transform hard edge realism by combining it with typological symbolism??? (Landow). The PRB had two stages, the second influencing the Arts and Crafts Movement, part of the Gothic Revival.
John Ruskin, an art critic and social thinker who ???criticized the industrialism of the Victorian age???, not only greatly influenced painters like the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, but also Victorian architecture and design (Kim). The Arts and Crafts Movement, lead by ideas of Ruskin and others, emphasized that the ???Industrial Revolution both greatly damaged popular taste and did much to destroy traditional crafts skills???, making the role of the crafts underappreciated (Landow). This movement held the idea of importance of handcrafted goods, ???rejecting the mass-produced manufactures of the assembly line in favor of the freedom and spontaneity of craft and its makers??? (Broadview LVII). This movement goes alongside with the Victorian Medieval Revival, or the Gothic Revival. This was a time were the Victorian??™s began to revaluate everything from art, architecture and religious practice with a passion for the aesthetics of Medieval and Gothic times. ???The birth of the medieval revival can be characterized as a reaction against modern developments during the Victorian era??? (Kim). The revival encouraged artists to express their individuality and ???spiritual nature??? (Broadview LVII).
The Victorian Era experienced a time of industrialization, creating cultural trends and movements that greatly influenced the views and passions of the people. The Great Exhibition of 1851 introduced a fascination with the visual world and time of leisure. Movements in the arts and architecture transformed the Victorian age into a time of cultural revival.
Works Cited Page
1. Broadview Press. ???Cultural Trends???. The Broadview Anthology of British Literature: The Victorian Era. Ontario. 2009 LIII-LVII.
2. Dugan, John. ???The Engineers and the Crystal Palace???. The Victorian Web: literature, history & culture in the age of Victoria. 31 December 2005. 17 March.
3. Kim, Angela Y. ???The Medieval Revival: An Influential Movement that First Met Opposition???. The Victorian Web: literature, history & culture in the age of Victoria. 22 November 2004. 17 March.
4. Landow, George P. ???The Arts and Crafts Movement: A Brief Introduction???. The Victorian Web: literature, history & culture in the age of Victoria. 22 November 2006. 17 March.
5. Landow, George P. ???Pre-Raphaelites: An Introduction???. The Victorian Web: literature, history & culture in the age of Victoria. 7 June 2007. 17 March.