Dating back to the periods of the Neanderthals, 200,000 to 28,000 years ago, art has been an expression of society as well as personal emotion. It is true that art is valued differently from one audience to the next. However, for archaeologist and historians, art offers an alternative explanation; creating or destroying myths of the past. Though written work offers more personal and concrete evidence of the past. To fully understand a country, one must examine art such as photography, artifacts, music and paintings. Art is crucial to the foundation of a culture.
By observing British Art, its culture is exploited to convey that all art is a reaction to the sociology of that time. Sociology according to the American Heritage Dictionary is the “nalysis of a social institution or societal segment as a self-contained entity or in relation to society as a whole. ” Prior to the enlightenments, the Scottish created art that represented their hope for the return of Bonnie Prince Charlie also known as Charles II. Charles II, exiled in France, had hopes of capturing all of England in 1745 as retribution for his father’s execution by Orwell Cromwell’s supporters.Order now
Vases, glass, and mysterious murals were created to express support for the distant king who would save them from oppression. Amongst the murals is a tray created with arbitrary blurs of color, but when a glass is placed before the mural a lavish portrait of Bonnie Prince Charlie. With the ever growing aggression from Cromwell’s supporters, believers in Charles II had to hide their faith in the prince for fear of unfair treatment. In the times of the English and Scottish Enlightenments, the byproduct of art were lavish paintings that captured moments, much like photographs do today. Both enlightenments provoked a thirst for knowledge.
Many of the paintings presented a picture of science and its ability to captivate the human mind. Great thinkers such as Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin rose to open a different rationale thinking. In Joseph Wright of Derby’s painting, The Orrey, a group of spectators gather around a circular globe that modeled the movement of the planets in the solar system (Plumb). Upon observing the portrait, it can be concluded that there are three groups in the audience: the eager, the observer, and the disbeliever. The children look with earnest eyes and are mesmerized by the powers of these great giants.
It can even be said that they dream of the possibilities for science and its promises to the world; in fact science was now essential to society. Secondly, there were the observers that not only looked on with amusement, but wanted to learn and to obtain a deeper understanding. Observers were other scientists, such as Thomas Mathus, that would develop their own ideas from their fellow man. Mathus was inspired by Darwin’s theories and later stated that food supply grew arithmetically and that population grew exponentially; therefore, saying that starvation would be the great undoing of the human race.
Mathus was correct, hunger is a leading cause of death in many third world countries today. Lastly, the one elderly man in disbelief looks into the distance to show his disapproval of science’s attempts to change the old ways. Like the many of the narrow minded people in Britain, science was revered merely as entertainment. The working class was too concerned with their living conditions to show true compassion for the possibilities of science. However, they did take time to fill their lives with knowledge from books as well as science demonstrations.
Paintings from the enlightenments expresses a growth in the overall growth of intellect in Britain. Entertainment is an important aspect of a society, it helps to explain the values as well as the development of social interaction. During King George II’s reign, artists such as William Hogarth captured scenes of everyday enjoyments. In Hogarth’s 1747 The Idle ? ”Prentince Executed at Tyburn, a full picture captures the distortion of the then ? ”modern society’ (E. Hammonds). The poor gathered at hangings as though they found joy in seeing others suffer.
Maybe people of that time were morbid, but it is assume that there were no forms of entertainment. At these public executions, many celebrated by drinking, getting into fights, and praying for the salvation of mankind. Spectators sought to find a form of relief in their grim lives. Later on during the English Enlightenment, people believed that happiness was found in materials as well as other forms of leisure. Though King George III and his corpulent son, King George IV were in reign, England developed many forms of entertainment. One was fox hunting, which is depicted in Full Cry by James Barenger.
Full Cry portrays a man on horseback and hound dogs in search of the fox; a form of animal cruelty, but it was and remains to be a great pastime. Other forms of open ranged entertainment were golf, tennis, gardening and cricket. Because there was a need for leisure entertainments, resorts were created to entertain the gentry and aristocracy. However, for the working class, pleasure had to be found in cheap thrills such as prostitutes, coffee, music, and gambling. This does not, however, exclude the rich from enjoying these sinful pleasures as well.
Within the course of a century the forms of leisure altered dramatically and are expressed through art. Though paintings and portraits offer much evidence of the past, the invention of photography is a better reference for historians. At the turn of the 20th Century, photos expressed the bare truth whereas its older counterpart had the liberty to flower the past. The Great War was the first war in which photos were used to capture the depressing conditions of soldiers on both sides. In Gassed there are soldiers in blindfolds as they assist each other after a chlorine gas raid; the Germans were the first to employ biological warfare (WWI).
Due to the British soldier’s handicap in the war, many died overseas in trenches conditioning water, rats, corpses, and diseases. The stalemate that many faced was pointless for the war effort, yet it fueled many to come back with photos and create a new genre from the ? ”lost generation. ‘ The Lost Generation refers to the sudden depletion of the scholar youth. With few men available, many women had to turn to the work force. This gave them a first hand realization of the oppression that women faced in both the political system and social standing.
This sparked women’s suffrage in both the United States and Great Britain. Women of the times are often referred to as aggressive, fiery, and headstrong sinned in protest. The prominent women who lead this great struggle were the Pankhursts. The Pankhursts had so much passion for their fight that they led protests that led to their arrests and hunger strikes in jail. Arrests of women no longer remained a foreign incident as Emmeline Pankhurst was arrested continually as seen in the photograph entitled Emmeline Pankhurst, arrested in 1914 (Encarta).
Pankhurst demonstrated passive aggression, which is not often seen in British women’s plight, as three men carry her away from the protest. The arrests of women continued until 1928 when women were finally granted full voting rights; nine years after the women in the United States. Photographs in the 20th Century was an easy way of oberserving British Society.
In modern society, music industry plays a major role in the social interaction between people. Whether pop, hip-hop, rock, or punk, all music is a means of expression. At the time of unk rock’s early discovery, coal mines and Irish aggression were issues closely felt by the average Englishmen. One of the first punk rock bands to derive its roots from England was The Clash, a garage band started in 1976 as an escape from the grim of England’s dying economy. This was a time when the government raised taxes on consumer goods even with new oil supply from the North Sea.
The funds collected helped to pay back foreign war debts. With the global focus on the Cold War between the United States and Russia, The Clash expressed their anguish through the lyrics of ? ‘London’s Burning. ‘ “All across the town, all across the night/ Everybody’s driving with full headlights/ Black or white turn it on, face the new religion/ Everybody’s sitting ’round watching television! ” Most music from the punk scene was a reaction to the environment; it expressed thoughts through audible poetry. Overall, it is foolish to observe only the text, journals and other forms of literature of British History. The messages portrayed by the various forms of art are too important to ignore.