18th Centuryx

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Comparative Arts

The 18
th

Century


Chapter 16

November 2010

The 18
th

Century


Between about 1700 and 1800, the world experienced massive
change in the realms of politics, intellectual development, science,
industry and society.


The 18
th

century has been called the ‘Age of Reason’ because of the
emergence of the intellectual revolution in Europe we have come to
call ‘the Enlightenment’


During the Enlightenment,
reason

(as opposed to religion) was
advocated as the primary source for legitimacy and authority


Also, ideas of freedom and democracy emerged during the Enlightenment


The ‘Sacred Circle’ disintegrates


The
Sacred Circle
is the interdependent relationship between the hereditary
aristocracy, the leaders of the church and the text of the Bible. This
interrelationship manifests itself as kings invoking the doctrine "Divine Right of
Kings" to rule. Thus church sanctioned the rule of the king and the king
defended the church in return.


Two great movements of the 18
th

century:


The Enlightenment


Neoclassicism, which looked back to classical antiquity


Where was the Enlightenment?


The Enlightenment did not emerge in one particular place: it
developed simultaneously in France, Germany, and Great
Britain, as well as the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Portugal and the
American colonies


The Enlightenment was not a single movement or school of
thought


it was more a set of values: critical questioning of
traditional institutions, customs and morals, and a strong belief
in rationality and science


Authors of various pivotal documents were motivated by
Enlightenment principles:


The American Declaration of Independence


The United States Bill of Rights


The French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen


Etc


So what was going on in the world in the 18
th

century?


Colonialism


The Industrial Revolution


Decadent monarchies crumbling


Rococo


The scientific revolution (Isaac Newton, Denis Diderot,
Carolus

Linnaeus)


Revolutions springing up

18
th

century Colonialism

Colonialism refers to the establishment and maintenance of colonies in one territory by people
from another territory. The colony’s social structure, government and economics are changed by
colonists. The relationship between colonizers and indigenous population is unequal and often
exploitative.

Colonial
-
era racial philosophy


There was still a very unsophisticated understanding of intelligence,
brain function, cultural difference


The Victorian era was particularly obsessed with categorizations,
hierarchies, taxonomies


Scientists attempted to identity and classify all plants and animals


as well as humans


There was a deep ignorance about race, which was assumed to
account for human difference


we now know that race is superficial
and humans are different due to a variety of factors: access to
resources, education, culture, etc.

Identifying criminals by facial
features!

Colonialism and the city


A disregard for indigenous knowledge and land claims (e.g.
Afghan cameleers and explorers in Australia not valued as much
as white explorers)


Colonial cities can generally be characterized by distinct quarters
for racial groups based on assumptions about each race


Various colonial philosophies expressed through architecture and
urbanism:


Imperialism


Modern social values about hygiene


Ideas about eugenics and racial purity


‘Ethnic’ revivalism


religion



Colonial philosophies about segregating people based on race
evolved into a variety of urban forms: segregated cities based on
race (Chinatowns, etc), apartheid in South Africa, segregation in
the American south, the native America reservation system and
other reservation systems for indigenous people)

12

Still existing colonial era districts
based on race: Indian district,
Chinatown, Malay
kampung

(village)

13

Grand colonial district, Kuala Lumpur

Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata


classic British Raj style: a blend of neo
-
classical and
Orientalist

fantasy
Mughal

in the former capital of British India

-
dedicated to Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom and Empress of India

-
this style promoted the British sense of ‘rightful self
-
glorification’

-
built on a massive scale to promote a notion of unassailable and invincible British Empire

British Raj architecture, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

-
British Raj buildings adopted ‘
orientalist
’ elements while using British structural engineering
standards of the 1800s (iron, reinforced steel, poured concrete, pre
-
cast elements)

British Raj architecture featured bulbous domes, domed kiosks, clusters of
miniature domes, towers or minarets, arcading,


Industrial
Revolution


Age of Invention: steam
engine, telegraph, telephone,
phonograph, diesel engine,
airplane…


All sectors of life were
transformed

Reinforced concrete,
Portland cement and
iron used to create
massive structures
(bridges, train stations,
factories), replaced
wood and limestone in
building

Growing social ills: low wages, long working hours, child labor, unhealthy work conditions,
widespread misery, over
-
work, disease, no child labor laws


Craftspeople, especially lace makers and weavers, found themselves out of work due to
factories. A group known as the Luddites began destroying factories and the machinery
that had taken their jobs. The British government took drastic measures to protect
industry, using the army to break up rioters. Those caught were hanged or transported.



Responses to the Industrial Revolution:
Luddites at work destroying machines and
factories

William Morris, a British social reformer, artist and architect
(1834
-
1896) believed that traditions of craftsmanship had been
lost during the Industrial Revolution.

He pursued the revival of hand craftsmanship to enable workers
to achieve satisfaction and pleasure in their work


Marxism


The Industrial Revolution concentrated labor into mills,
factories, and mines


Socialism and Marxism emerged as a reaction to the Industrial
Revolution


Karl Marx viewed that industrialization polarized society


required a majority of the population laboring for the benefit
of the bourgeoisie, perpetuating feudal relationships


The goal of Marxists was to bridge the gap between rich and
poor

The growth of modern industry
led to massive urbanization as
new opportunities were created
in cities.


The population grew and new
areas were settled in the
colonies. Cities in the UK grew
overcrowded and unhealthy.


In 1800, only 3% of the world’s
population lived in cities. 50% of
the world now lives in cities.


In 1717, Manchester had 10,000
people. By 1911, the population
was 2.3 million. The population
of England and Wales went
from a steady 6 million in 1740
to 30.5 million in 1900. Britain’s
population doubled every 50
years during the Industrial
Revolution.


Cities were incredibly unhealthy due to high densities, a lack of infrastructure (e.g. sewage) for
the majority of people, coal burning produced a constant smog that dimmed the sun.


Tuberculosis (and to a lesser extent
, cholera) was
the major killer in cities. By the late 19
th

century, 70
-
90% of the urban populations of Europe and North America were infected with
tuberculosis. 40% of working class deaths in cities were from TB.

Rococo in France


The Rococo style of art was seen by many to be decadent and
self
-
serving


It was commissioned by the same powerful aristocratic
families who were seen as suppressors of the people’s
freedom


The Rococo art of the aristocracy was precisely what the
Enlightenment came to define itself against

Jean
-
Antoine Watteau, Pilgrimage to Cythera, 1717

The Rococo style is characterized by lightness both of content and of color; romantic pastimes are portrayed
in an atmosphere of aristocratic hedonism.

What do these images tell you
about society in the 18
th

century?

These are typical European paintings
from the 18
th

century. What is going
on in them? Why do you think they
were painted?


Enlightenment thinkers


Enlightenment thinkers:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbedy1tg5E8



Galileo and the Church

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAra0BVjJp4&playnext=1&li
st=PL94110AABB3641854&index=13


Revolutions


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EvakM9Waus


The emergence of Neoclassicism


Many people in France (and elsewhere) were suspicious of
the behavior and tastes of their own aristocracy


To painters, the sensuous colors and brushwork of Rococo had
become a visual sign of a general moral decline


classicism, (reference to classical Greece and Rome) offered
and alternative style to Rococo and a corrective to the social
ills of the state


Many art critics in the 18
th

century criticized the Rococo
fantasy paintings and called for more grandiose history
paintings


Prompted in large measure by the rediscovery of the ancient
Roman cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii (1738 and 1748),
classical values had begun to be re
-
established in art

Jacques
-
Louis David (1748
-
1825)


David studied in Rome and offered his stark, simple painting
as an antidote to Rococo frivolity


First major commission for King Louis XVI was the Oath of
Horatii
:


Three brothers from Rome, the
Horatii
, pledge an oath upon their
weapons


They vow to fight to the death against the
Curatii
, three brothers from
Alba, to resolve a conflict between the two cities


What can you observe about the painting’s topic and style?


John Singleton Copley,
Watson and the Shark,
1778, oil on canvas


Copley was an American
expatriate working in London.
He was from Boston and New
England’s leading portraitist.


The event depicted is real:
Watson encountered a sharks
while swimming in Cuba.


What can you observe
about this
painting?

John Singleton Copley,
Watson and the Shark,
1778, oil on canvas


Copley was an American
expatriate working in London.
He was from Boston and New
England’s leading portraitist.


The event depicted is real:
Watson encountered a sharks
while swimming in Cuba.


What can you observe
about this painting?

-
drama, immediacy,
realism

-
a struggle for survival
against nature

-
the climactic moment is
depicted and the outcome
is left uncertain

-
heroic nudity

-
cliff hanger

American Neoclassicism


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dR6Qmod
-
7E