Art: Pictures from a Lost England

In London, Victorian curios

People make noises about "Victorian morality" as a synonym for all those repressive forces that denied humanity its natural evolution toward Hustler magazine and Laurel Canyon group-gropes, but Victorian culture is still somewhat enigmatic. Nowhere is this truer than in painting. Modernism, the art of the past hundred years, defined itself in opposition to 19th century "bourgeois" painting: the art of the Salon in France, of the Royal Academy in England. Cezanne, Picasso and Matisse were everything that Sir Edwin Landseer, Sir Edward John Poynter and Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema...

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