By J. B. Bullen
Continental Crosscurrents is a sequence of case stories reflecting British attitudes to continental artwork through the 19th and the early 20th centuries. It stresses the best way the British went to the continent of their look for origins or their pursuit of assets of purity and originality. This cult of the primitive took many types; it concerned a reassessment of medieval German and Italian artwork and provided new methods of reading Venetian portray; it spread out new readings of architectural historical past and the "discovery" of the Romanesque; it generated a debate concerning the worth of returning to spiritual topics in paintings and it raised the query of the connection among glossy paintings and Byzantine artwork within the early 20th century.
J. B. Bullen's unique examine provides a few interesting findings. Few critics have spotted how a lot just before his time used to be Coleridge's ardour for medieval artwork; Ruskin's debt within the Stones of Venice to Victor Hugo's Notre Dame de Paris has rarely been famous; and Browning's involvement with the talk at the morality of Christian artwork is explored extra generally than formerly. 3 chapters are dedicated to the position of British feedback in picking the Romanesque kind in structure and differentiating it from the Gothic. They hint the concept that because it arose in feedback firstly of the 19th century; its employment within the impressive structures of Edmund Sharpe and Sara Losh and how during which it reached a climax in Waterhouse's enigmatic collection of Romanesque for the ordinary historical past Museum in London. the gathering concludes with continental episodes from the heritage of modernism. One is the explosive British response to the primitivism of Gauguin; the opposite contains the choosing of 1 of the characters in D. H. Lawrence's novel Women in Love. Curious facts means that the malevolent determine of Loerke was once in line with a German sculptor whom Lawrence met in Italy prior to the 1st global War.
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Extra info for Continental Crosscurrents: British Criticism and European Art 1810-1910
Rogers and Byron visited the Campo Santo together, though Byron, according to 87 The Philosophical Lectures (1949), p. 168. 88 These were the last days before Shelley’s death, and a moving entry in Hunt’s autobiography records the last moments spent with his friend. ‘In a day or two,’ Hunt wrote, ‘Shelley took leave of us to return to Lerici for the rest of the season. I spent one delightful afternoon with him wandering about Pisa, and visiting the cathedral . . ’89 After Shelley’s death, Hunt remained three months in Italy, and his experience overturned his views of Italian art.
This was largely the work of the Master of Trinity College, William Whewell, aided by the historian Thomas Rickman and researched by the much younger Cambridge graduate Edmund Sharpe. And it was Sharpe, turned architect, who was perhaps the ﬁrst in this country to experiment with Romanesque revival building in a series of small churches in the neighbourhood of Blackburn, Lancashire. In this way, the development of interest in Romanesque in Britain took place in three phases: denotation, exploration, and revival.
Until this moment it had either been described as ‘childish’ and ‘primitive’, or it had been considered pure, and free from elements which had corrupted later styles; it had also been seen as one of the necessary, faltering steps towards a nobler ideal realized in the High Renaissance, but it had never previously been viewed as the equal of the art of the sixteenth century. What is most unusual about Coleridge’s criticism is his stress on the affective power of early work. By stressing his own responses, and by trusting their authenticity, he transcends the historical, and makes direct and unabashed comparisons between the work at Pisa and the Vatican Stanze on the one hand, and between Giotto and Michelangelo on the other.