From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"The nineteenth century not only shows a new age, but probably begins a new section of universal history. It is probable that in contrast with this epoch of stirring movement, during which the readjustment of all political and social relations, the new discoveries in the instruments of commerce, trade, and industry have given an entirely new aspect to the world, the next thousand years will sum up all the previous centuries as the "old world." New men require a new art. One would be inclined to surmise from this that the art of the nineteenth century presented itself as something essentially personal, with a sharply distinctive style. Instead of this it offers at first view, in contrast with those old ages of uniform production, a condition like that of Babylon. The nineteenth century has no style--the phrase that has been so often quoted as to have become a commonplace."--The History of Modern Painting (1893/94) Richard Muther
"The Industrial Revolution, starting in England, where scientific research and applied science ushered in the Machine Age, spread rapidly. The half-century from 1800 to 1850 saw the first of many inventions: steamboat, locomotive, transatlantic liner, and passenger train as well as the telegraph and the camera — all which, with other factors, eventuated in a great expansion of industry; in the rise of the wealthy manufacturer to challenge the wealthy landowner; in the drift of population to the cities where the manufacturing plants were located, with consequent overcrowding; in the emergence of those social and economic conditions which gave rise to socialism and other attempts to alleviate their injustice. The application of the scientific viewpoint, with its critical observation of phenomena, produced Darwin’s The Origin of Species (1859) and a consequent long line of research; and a weakening of religious faith." --Gardner's Art Through the Ages (1926) by Helen Gardner
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The 19th (nineteenth) century was the ninth century of the 2nd millennium.
The century saw large amounts of social change; slavery was abolished, and the Industrial Revolution led to massive urbanization and much higher levels of productivity, profit and prosperity. The Islamic gunpowder empires were formally dissolved and European imperialism brought large parts of Asia and almost all of Africa under colonial rule.
The British Empire grew rapidly in the first half of the century and during the post-Napoleonic era, it enforced what became known as the Pax Britannica, which had ushered in unprecedented globalization and economic integration on a massive scale.
It was a century of widespread invention and discovery, and one in which social, cultural, and economic systems were heavily affected by science and technology and the business models built on them, such as a shift from independent artisans and craftsmen to wage laborers employed by large factories as the primary means of production.
It was the heyday of capitalism, but it was also the century in which the major opposing ideologies, socialism and communism, arose. The successes up to that time in building mechanical devices and in discovering the natural laws of the universe led to a widespread belief by the end of the century that the world ran predictably as by clockwork and that all of its mysteries would soon be solved by modern science; and, similarly, all of the social problems of human society could be solved too by application of scientific principles. These beliefs were soon dashed by 20th century developments such as relativity and quantum physics, and by the wars and genocides of that century.
Visual artists, painters, sculptors
After Rococo there arose in the late 18th century, in architecture, and then in painting severe neo-classicism, best represented by such artists as David and his heir Ingres. Ingres' work already contains much of the sensuality, but none of the spontaneity, that was to characterize Romanticism.
This movement turned its attention toward landscape and nature as well as the human figure and the supremacy of natural order above mankind's will. There is a pantheist philosophy (see Spinoza and Hegel) within this conception that opposes Enlightenment ideals by seeing mankind's destiny in a more tragic or pessimistic light. The idea that human beings are not above the forces of Nature is in contradiction to Ancient Greek and Renaissance ideals where mankind was above all things and owned his fate. This thinking led romantic artists to depict the sublime, ruined churches, shipwrecks, massacres and madness.
Romantic painters turned landscape painting into a major genre, considered until then as a minor genre or as a decorative background for figure compositions. Some of the major painters of this period are Eugene Delacroix, Théodore Géricault, J. M. W. Turner, Caspar David Friedrich and John Constable. Francisco de Goya's late work demonstrates the Romantic interest in the irrational, while the work of Arnold Böcklin evokes mystery and the paintings of Aesthetic movement artist James McNeill Whistler evoke both sophistication and decadence. In the United States the Romantic tradition of landscape painting was known as the Hudson River School. Important painters of that school include Thomas Cole.
The leading Barbizon School painter Camille Corot painted in both a romantic and a realistic vein; his work prefigures Impressionism, as does the paintings of Eugène Boudin who was one of the first French landscape painters to paint outdoors. Boudin was also an important influence on the young Claude Monet, whom in 1857 he introduced to Plein air painting. A major force in the turn towards Realism at mid-century was Gustave Courbet. In the latter third of the century Impressionists like Édouard Manet, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley, Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt, and Edgar Degas worked in a more direct approach than had previously been exhibited publicly. They eschewed allegory and narrative in favor of individualized responses to the modern world, sometimes painted with little or no preparatory study, relying on deftness of drawing and a highly chromatic pallette. Manet, Degas, Renoir, Morisot, and Cassatt concentrated primarily on the human subject. Both Manet and Degas reinterpreted classical figurative canons within contemporary situations; in Manet's case the re-imaginings met with hostile public reception. Renoir, Morisot, and Cassatt turned to domestic life for inspiration, with Renoir focusing on the female nude. Monet, Pissarro, and Sisley used the landscape as their primary motif, the transience of light and weather playing a major role in their work. While Sisley most closely adhered to the original principals of the impressionist perception of the landscape, Monet sought challenges in increasingly chromatic and changeable conditions, culminating in series of monumental works, and Pissarro adopted some of the experiments of Post-Impressionism. Slightly younger Post-Impressionists like Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, and Georges Seurat, along with Paul Cezanne led art to the edge of modernism; for Gauguin impressionism gave way to a personal symbolism; Seurat transformed impressionism's broken color into a scientific optical study, structured on frieze-like compositions; Van Gogh's turbulent method of paint application, coupled with a sonorous use of color, predicted Expressionism and Fauvism, and Cezanne, desiring to unite classical composition with a revolutionary abstraction of natural forms, would come to be seen as a precursor of 20th century art.
The spell of Impressionism was felt throughout the world, and nowhere more profoundly than in the United States, where it became integral to the painting of the American Impressionists. It also exerted influence on painters who were not primarily impressionistic in theory, like the portrait and landscape painter John Singer Sargent. At the same time in America there existed a native and nearly insular realism, as richly embodied in the figurative work of Thomas Eakins and the landscapes and seascapes of Winslow Homer, both of whose paintings were deeply invested in the solidity of natural forms. The visionary landscape, a motive largely dependent on the ambiguity of the nocturne, found its advocates in Albert Pinkham Ryder and Ralph Blakelock.
Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Academism and Realism
As time passed, many artists were repulsed by the ornate grandeur of these styles and sought to revert to the earlier, simpler art of the Renaissance, creating Neoclassicism. Neoclassicism was the artistic component of the intellectual movement known as the Enlightenment, which was similarly idealistic. Ingres, Canova, and Jacques-Louis David are among the best-known neoclassicists.
Just as Mannerism rejected Classicism, so did Romanticism reject the ideas of the Enlightenment and the aesthetic of the Neoclassicists. Romantic art focused on the use of color and motion in order to portray emotion, but like classicism used Greek and Roman mythology and tradition as an important source of symbolism. Another important aspect of Romanticism was its emphasis on nature and portraying the power and beauty of the natural world. Romanticism was also a large literary movement, especially in poetry. Among the greatest Romantic artists were Eugène Delacroix, Francisco Goya, J.M.W. Turner, John Constable, Caspar David Friedrich, Thomas Cole, and William Blake.
Most artists attempted to take a centrist approach which adopted different features of Neoclassicist and Romanticist styles, in order to synthesize them. The different attempts took place within the French Academy, and collectively are called Academic art. Adolphe William Bouguereau is considered a chief example of this stream of art.
In the early 19th century the face of Europe, however, became radically altered by industrialization. Poverty, squalor, and desperation were to be the fate of the new working class created by the "revolution." In response to these changes going on in society, the movement of Realism emerged. Realism sought to accurately portray the conditions and hardships of the poor in the hopes of changing society. In contrast with Romanticism, which was essentially optimistic about mankind, Realism offered a stark vision of poverty and despair. Similarly, while Romanticism glorified nature, Realism portrayed life in the depths of an urban wasteland. Like Romanticism, Realism was a literary as well as an artistic movement. The great Realist painters include Jean Baptiste Siméon Chardin, Gustave Courbet, Jean-François Millet, Camille Corot, Honoré Daumier, Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas (both considered as Impressionists), and Thomas Eakins, among others.
The response of architecture to industrialization, in stark contrast to the other arts, was to veer towards historicism. Although the railway stations built during this period are often considered the truest reflections of its spirit – they are sometimes called "the cathedrals of the age" – the main movements in architecture during the Industrial Age were revivals of styles from the distant past, such as the Gothic Revival. Related movements were the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, who attempted to return art to its state of "purity" prior to Raphael, and the Arts and Crafts Movement, which reacted against the impersonality of mass-produced goods and advocated a return to medieval craftsmanship.
Toward the end of the 19th century, painters and critics began to rebel against the many rules of the Académie française, including the preference for history painting. New artistic movements included the Realists and Impressionists, which each sought to depict the present moment and daily life as observed by the eye, and unattatched from historical significance; the Realists often choosing genre painting and still-life, while the Impressionists would most often focus on landscapes. The history painting gained less favor through the vogue in Europe for Japanese culture and art, in the form of Japonism—in Japan significant importance was placed upon items such as laquerware and porcelain.
Sonata form matured during the Classical era to become the primary form of instrumental compositions throughout the 19th century. Much of the music from the nineteenth century was referred to as being in the Romantic style. Many great composers lived through this era such as Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Liszt, Frédéric Chopin, Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Richard Wagner.
The history of literacy goes back several thousand years, but before the industrial revolution finally made cheap paper and cheap books available to all classes in industrialized countries in the mid-nineteenth century, only a small percentage of the population in these countries were literate. Up until that point, materials associated with literacy were prohibitively expensive for people other than wealthy individuals and institutions.
The new century opens with romanticism, a movement that spread throughout Europe in reaction to 18th-century rationalism, and it develops more or less along the lines of the Industrial Revolution, with a design to react against the dramatic changes wrought on nature by the steam engine and the railway. William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge are considered the initiators of the new school in England, while in the continent the German Sturm und Drang spreads its influence as far as Italy and Spain.
The Goncourts and Émile Zola in France and Giovanni Verga in Italy produce some of the finest naturalist novels. Italian naturalist novels are especially important in that they give a social map of the new unified Italy to a people that until then had been scarcely aware of its ethnic and cultural diversity. On February 21, 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published the Communist Manifesto.
There was a huge literary output during the 19th century. Some of the most famous writers included the Russians Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov and Fyodor Dostoevsky; the English Charles Dickens, John Keats, Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Jane Austen; the Scottish Sir Walter Scott; the Irish Oscar Wilde; the Americans Edgar Allan Poe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Mark Twain; and the French Victor Hugo, Honoré de Balzac, Jules Verne and Charles Baudelaire.
The 19th century was perhaps the most literary of all centuries, because not only were the forms of novel, short story and magazine serial all in existence side-by-side with theatre and opera, but since film, radio and television did not yet exist, the popularity of the written word and its direct enactment were at their height. Major trends included Romanticism, the Decadent movement, Naturalism, Realism and Symbolist literature.
In Britain, the 19th century is dominated by the Victorian era, characterized by Romanticism, with Romantic poets such as William Wordsworth, Lord Byron or Samuel Taylor Coleridge and genres such as the gothic novel and the fashionable novel.
In the later 19th century, Romanticism is countered by Realism and Naturalism. The late 19th century, known as the Belle Époque, with its Fin de siècle retrospectively appeared as a "golden age" of European culture, cut short by the outbreak of World War I in 1914.
The 19th century saw the birth of science as a profession; the term scientist was coined in 1833. Among the most influential ideas of the 19th century were those of Charles Darwin, who in 1859 published the book The Origin of Species, which introduced the idea of evolution by natural selection. Louis Pasteur made the first vaccine against rabies. Thomas Alva Edison gave the world a practical everyday lightbulb.
The 19th century was scandalized when Naturalist Darwin implied that humans were descendant from primates, much as in the 20th century when Freud would imply that all of human behaviour was motivated by sexual urges.
Philosophy and religion
In the 18th century the philosophies of The Enlightenment began to have a dramatic effect, the landmark works of philosophers such as Immanuel Kant and Jean-Jacques Rousseau influencing a new generation of thinkers. In the late 18th century a movement known as Romanticism sought to combine the formal rationality of the past, with a greater and more immediate emotional and organic sense of the world. Key ideas that sparked this change were evolution, as postulated by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Erasmus Darwin, and Charles Darwin and what might now be called emergent order, such as the free market of Adam Smith. Pressures for egalitarianism, and more rapid change culminated in a period of revolution and turbulence that would see philosophy change as well.
Existentialism as a philosophical movement is properly a 20th-century movement, but its major antecedents, Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche wrote long before the rise of existentialism. In the 1840s, academic philosophy in Europe, following Hegel, was almost completely divorced from the concerns of individual human life, in favour of pursuing abstract metaphysical systems. Kierkegaard sought to reintroduce to philosophy, in the spirit of Socrates: subjectivity, commitment, faith, and passion, all of which are a part of the human condition.
Like Kierkegaard, Nietzsche saw the moral values of 19th-century Europe disintegrating into nihilism (Kierkegaard called it the levelling process). Nietzsche attempted to undermine traditional moral values by exposing its foundations. To that end, he distinguished between master and slave moralities, and claimed that man must turn from the meekness and humility of Europe's slave-morality.
Both philosophers are precursors to existentialism, among other ideas, for their importance on the "great man" against the age. Kierkegaard wrote of 19th-century Europe, "Each age has its own characteristic depravity. Ours is perhaps not pleasure or indulgence or sensuality, but rather a dissolute pantheistic contempt for the individual man."
- 1800 - Zoloé et ses deux acolythes by anonymous
- 1801 - Traité médico-philosophique sur l'aliénation mentale by Philippe Pinel
- 1802 - Travels in Upper and Lower Egypt by Vivant Denon
- 1803 - Le Diable au corps by Nerciat published posthumously
- 1804 - Nightwatches by Bonaventura
- 1805 - Rameau's Nephew by Denis Diderot first published
- 1806 - Dictionnaire des livres condamnés au feu by Gabriel Peignot
- 1807 - The Half-Length Bather by Ingres
- 1808 - Oedipus and the Sphinx by Ingres
- 1809 - The Tour of Dr. Syntax: In Search of the Picturesque begun by William Combe and Thomas Rowlandson
- 1810 - The Disasters of War, Francisco Goya begins the series
- 1811 - "The Necessity of Atheism" by Percy Bysshe Shelle
- 1812 - "King Steam" published by an anonymous Luddite
- 1813 - De l'Allemagne by Madame de Staël
- 1814 - Fantasy Pieces in Callot's Manner by E. T. A. Hoffmann and The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife by Hokusai
- 1815 - Les Curieux en extase, ou les cordons de souliers, an engraving of Saartjie Baartman
- 1816 - Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
- 1817 - Rome, Naples, and Florence published by Stendhal, with description of Stendhal syndrome
- 1818 - Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
- 1819 - The Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault
- 1820 - Melmoth the Wanderer by Charles Robert Maturin
- 1821 - Confessions of an English Opium-Eater
- 1822 - Portrait of a Woman Suffering from Obsessive Envy by Théodore Géricault
- 1823 - The Dog by Francisco Goya
- 1824 - The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner
- 1825 - The Physiology of Taste by Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
- 1826 - View from the Window at Le Gras by Nicéphore Niépce
- 1827 - "On the Supernatural in Fictitious Composition" by Walter Scott
- 1828 - The Lustful Turk by anonymous
- 1829 - What is Classical is healthy; what is Romantic is sick says Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
- 1830 - The Red and the Black by Stendhal
- 1831 - First version of the The Pears by Charles Philipon
- 1832 - The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai
- 1833 - Champavert, contes immoraux by Petrus Borel
- 1834 - Séraphîta by Honore de Balzac
- 1835 - Viy by Russian writer Nikolai Gogol
- 1836 - La Morte Amoureuse by Théophile Gautier
- 1837 - La Vénus d'Ille by Prosper Mérimée
- 1838 - "Un pauvre honteux" by Xavier Forneret
- 1839 - "The Fall of the House of Usher" by Edgar Allan Poe
- 1840 - What Is Property? by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
- 1841 - Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay
- 1842 - The Mysteries of Paris by Eugène Sue
- 1843 - Byron and Sade are perhaps the two greatest inspirations of our moderns, wrote French literary critic Sainte-Beuve
- 1844 - Un autre monde by Grandville
- 1845 - "The Imp of the Perverse" by Edgar Allan Poe
- 1846 - "Club des Hachichins" by Gautier
- 1847 - Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert inaugurated in Brussels
- 1848 - John Ruskin marries Effie Gray
- 1849 - La Vie de bohème, play by Murger staged at the Théâtre des Variétés
- 1850 - A Burial At Ornans by Gustave Courbet
- 1851 - The Crystal Palace inaugurated
- 1852 - Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
- 1853 - "Bartleby, the Scrivener" by Melville
- 1854 - The red splodge representing the reign of Ivan the Terrible by Gustave Doré's
- 1855 - "I Sing the Body Electric" by Walt Whitman
- 1856 - Infant Photography Giving the Painter an Additional Brush, photo by Oscar Gustave Rejlander
- 1857 - Les Fleurs du mal by Baudelaire
- 1858 - Fading Away a photograph by Henry Peach Robinson
- 1859 - On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
- 1860 - Artificial Paradises by Baudelaire
- 1861 - Phryne before the Areopagus by Jean-Léon Gérôme
- 1862 - The Turkish Bath by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres
- 1863 - Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe by Édouard Manet
- 1864 - Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
- 1865 - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
- 1866 - L'Origine du monde by Gustave Courbet
- 1867 - Das Kapital by Karl Marx
- 1868 - The Songs of Maldoror by Comte de Lautréamont, first canto published
- 1869 - The Philosophy of the Unconscious by Eduard von Hartmann
- 1870 - Venus in Furs by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch
- 1871 - "To arrive at the unknown through the disordering of all the senses, that's the point" -- Arthur Rimbaud
- 1872 - Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu
- 1873 - Le Ventre de Paris by Émile Zola
- 1874 - Les Diaboliques by Barbey d'Aurevilly
- 1875 - Nocturne in Black and Gold, the Falling Rocket by James Abbott McNeill Whistler
- 1876 - L'Absinthe by Edgar Degas
- 1877 - "Is the Bible Indictable?" (c. 1877), a pamphlet by Annie Besant
- 1878 - Eadweard Muybridge solves Stanford and the trot question
- 1879 - Pornocrates by Félicien Rops
- 1880 - Isle of the Dead by Böcklin
- 1881 - Paraphrases about the Finding of a Glove by Max Klinger
- 1882 - Negroes Fighting in a Tunnel at Night by Paul Bilhaud
- 1883 - The Misshapen Polyp Floated on the Shores, a Sort of Smiling and Hideous Cyclops by Odilon Redon
- 1884 - Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott and À rebours by Joris-Karl Huysmans
- 1885 - Self-Portrait at the Age of Twenty by Félix Vallotton
- 1886 - Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
- 1887 - She: A History of Adventure by H. Rider Haggard
- 1888 - Gymnopédie by Erik Satie
- 1889 - The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh, Eiffel Tower is inaugurated
- 1890 - The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
- 1891 - Moulin Rouge: La Goulue by Lautrec
- 1892 - Degeneration by Max Nordau
- 1893 - The Scream by Edvard Munch
- 1894 - The Songs of Bilitis by Pierre Louÿs
- 1895 - L'Arrivée d'un train en gare de La Ciotat
- 1896 - Ubu Roi by Alfred Jarry
- 1897 - "Funeral March for the Obsequies of a Deaf Man" by Alphonse Allais first appears in print
- 1898 - The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
- 1899 - Torture Garden by Octave Mirbeau
- 1900 - The Road to Hell by Alfred Kubin
- Industrial revolution
- European Imperialism
- British Regency, Victorian era (UK, British Empire)
- Bourbon Restoration, July Monarchy, French Second Republic, Second French Empire, French Third Republic (France)
- Belle Époque (Europe)
- Edo period, Meiji period (Japan)
- Qing Dynasty (China)
- Russian Empire
- American Manifest Destiny, The Gilded Age
- History of subcultures in the 19th century
- 19th century in literature
- 19th century architecture
- 19th century art
- 19th century erotica
- 19th century in film
- 19th century in games
- 19th-century philosophy
- Belle Époque
- Capitalism in the nineteenth century
- France in the nineteenth century
- Mid-nineteenth century Spain
- The long nineteenth century
- Nineteenth century theatre
- Russian history, 1855–1892
- Victorian Era
- Political events of the 19th century
- Start of Bohemianism