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  • Print publication year: 2001
  • Online publication date: March 2008

24 - The representation of the city in the visual arts

from Part V - Images
Artist's responses to the city in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have to be understood in terms of social and political issues and debates. The Victorian and Edwardian periods display a gradual transformation of attitudes to the city. The balance between celebration and despair could be said to shift decisively by the 1880s to a fairly bleak vision of urban alienation. This chapter considers a range of visual material produced in the Victorian and Edwardian period. As cities grew in extent and density, it became necessary to map the developments in various ways. Every map defines an area, explicitly or otherwise, by centring, orientation, categorical positives and categorical exclusions. The chapter explores the ways in which the river was used as a motif of the city's potential for good and evil. The 1850s saw the development of a form of genre painting that took as its subject the urban crowd.
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The Cambridge Urban History of Britain
  • Online ISBN: 9781139053839
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