In the political history of Britain, the reign of the four King Georges- I, II, III and IV is called the Georgian Era. This Era starts from 1714 and ended in 1830 and is often considered highly prominent. The reason for this is that during this time, the foundation of modern English society was laid that was marked by industrialization, growth of trade and innovation in architecture, that resulted into improvement in the social life of people.
The changes that were being experienced by the masses in the society of England during the Georgian Times are very well reflected in the art of that time. The Georgian Era is not specifically remembered for its contribution to the art of painting and looks pale specifically in comparison to the art of the succeeding and predeceasing times. However, this time saw perfection in the existing styles of art and has given a number of masterpieces that reflect the lifestyle of people during those times.
Style of Paintings during the Georgian Era
In the 18t century, realism was at its best. Writers were writing about common people and painters were creating art that reflected the reality of those times. Neoclassicism and Romanticism were the two styles that the painters of the Georgian Era borrowed from the painters before them. As far as their contribution is concerned, they fused it with the reality of their own age to create their work.
Neoclassicism is the type of painting that follows a classical style, but in a way that it is practical with respect to the current times. The architecture of the Georgian Era was influenced by the classical architecture of the buildings in Greece and Rome. This was also reflected in the paintings of that time. The artists not only used these buildings as backdrops to their masterpieces but also followed the footsteps of the classical painters.
Neoclassicism provided a solid structure to the compositions of the Georgian Era painters. They usually had only one object which was the main subject matter of their painting. The other things in the painting served the purpose of placing that object in a context and reflecting the great qualities that the object, who is usually a person, possesses.
Romanticism in painting is a movement that places great importance in creating drama. Paintings that follow a romantic style usually focus on the emotion of the objects and include nature to convey the ideas. The painters of the Georgian Era adopted this style to demonstrate the exquisite natural scenery that they used to live in and depict on the role that it plays in their life.
Apart from the great styles of the past, the paintings of the Georgian Era were also a reflection of the society that the artists used to live in. the wide gap between the upper and lower classes made it important for the painters to please the upper classes in order to make a living for themselves. Consequently, they worked on a number of portraits of prominent men and women and fused them with romantic and neoclassical styles to develop some of the most important pieces of art of the Georgian Era.
Important Painters and Painting of the Georgian Era
In the 18th century, there were a number of painters that were making a mark in countries surrounding Britain. In order to compete with these seasoned and reputed artists, many new painters emerged who attained popularity within the country and in some other parts of the European continent as well. But there are a few major painters who have been credited with most of the work from the Georgian Era which holds relevance.
Sir Joshua Reynolds was one of the most celebrated painters of that time. During his lifetime and even after that, he is considered the unmatched master of creating portraits. He introduced grandeur in his paintings, while not losing focus from the basic elements like expressions and mood. His important works include The Age of Innocence along with a number of self-portraits that he developed during the various ages in his life.
Thomas Gainsborough was another renowned painter of the Georgian Era. Through his paintings, he has managed to create a detailed scenery of life during the Georgian times. this achievement is a result of the portraits and landscapes of the 18th century England that he has created. Most notable works by him include The Blue Boy, Mr. and Mrs. Andrews and The Artist’s Daughters.
Joseph Mallord William Turner, also known as William Turner is undeniably the most celebrated painter of the Georgian Era. His talents were recognized at a very early age due to which, he was provided a formal education from the Royal Academy of Arts. This helped him to develop his own style and follow it for the rest of his life. His most important works are Fishermen at Sea, Modern Rome and The Wreck of a Transport Ship.