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Verklighetens poesi: Svenska genrebilder 1825-1880
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Arts, Department of Art History.
2000 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this dissertation is to challenge mainstream art-history by studying 19th century genre painting as a social phenomenon. In a contemporary context, these subjects areseen as powerful agents of a new situation in art, in an academic context as well as transformed into massmedia, where the boundaries between visual art and literature are consciously blurred. By 1880, younger artists questioned narrative painting as such, and fromthen on genre subjects has been held in low esteem by art historians. The narrative tendency during the 20th century has mainly been explored by such media as film, televisionand literature.

The general attitude of the art-establishment in 19th century Sweden, concentrated inKonstakademien (The Royal Academy of Fine Arts), reflects a pragmatic outlook on itspossibilities, suitable for a small country trying to establish a flourishing art. The professional identity of a painter both involved their being part of a massmedia-related society,and cultivating traditional ways of establishing themselves as artists. In this process theirsocial background was of crucial importance. Some were the sons of small farmers, and inthe eyes of contemporary critics, as well as of authors of fiction, their popular origin was atrue asset to their art. The leading woman artist, Amalia Lindegren, was regarded mainlyas a pioneer, whose career became an example for the advocates of liberal politics, but described in stereotypical statements as a brilliant exception from others of her sex.

Swedish art is seen in a European context also, and special emphasis is given to the question of Scandinavian art, appearing as a vision more than representative works of art. Thedissertation concludes in an interpretation of the general tendencies in Swedish genrepainting 1825-1880. The painters are followed to their favourite haunts, while discussingthe patriotic exoticism expressed in subject matter. Düsseldorf was the foreign town having the strongest appeal to young Swedish artists, apart from Paris, but in modernist art-history it has become a synonym for false idealism or half-hearted realism. An attempt is made to use the term "idealrealism" (idealist realism), assuming that the combination of a depiction of an earthly reality combined with an idealistic or moral aim is part of a conscious striving towards synthesis, and not a mistake made by painters unable to discover the blessings of true naturalism. In the 19th century, genre painting could appear both as an instrument for nostalgia and dreams of patriotic traditions seen in peasants, and as a place for statements on contemporary society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2000. , 330 p.
Ars Suetica: skrifter, ISSN 0066-7919 ; 19
Keyword [en]
Art history, Genre painting, Massproduced images, I 9th c. Iconography, Word & Image, Idealist realism, Social history of art, 19th c. Women artists, Konstakademien (Royal Academy of Fine Arts), Düsseldorf, 19th c. Art criticism
Keyword [sv]
National Category
Art History
Research subject
History Of Art
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-492ISBN: 91-554-4780-5OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-492DiVA: diva2:165979
Public defence
2000-09-22, Auditorium Minus, Gustavianum, Uppsala, 10:00
Available from: 2000-09-01 Created: 2000-09-01Bibliographically approved

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