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The Cambridge History of the Gothic The Cambridge History of the Gothic
Volume 1: Gothic in the Long Eighteenth Century
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1.19 - Gothic Art and Gothic Culture in the Romantic Era

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 July 2020

Angela Wright
Affiliation:
University of Sheffield
Dale Townshend
Affiliation:
Manchester Metropolitan University
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Summary

While Gothic scholars of the last two or three decades have explored forms of Gothic sensation, spectacle or visuality, they have generally had as their focus illustrations, caricature prints, graphic ephemera and advertising material rather than oil paintings and watercolours by the famous artists associated with Romanticism. This chapter considers precisely those works of art that have defined Romanticism. The more circumscribed notion of art and the artist associated with the ‘autonomisation’ of art around 1800 is here tied to the emergence of Gothic forms and themes within painting. It is argued that it is more than coincidental that the chronology of the original phase of Gothic literary and cultural production matches that of the development of aesthetics as philosophical discourse, and the ‘invention of art’ as a relatively autonomous field of activity. That a full-blooded Gothic art subsequently resurfaces only intermittently in the history of ‘high art’ exposes not only the volatility and inconstancy of Gothic culture, or the irreconcilability of the Gothic and art, but also the general ambivalence towards the indeterminacies of art in the modern era.

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The Cambridge History of the Gothic
Volume 1: Gothic in the Long Eighteenth Century
, pp. 406 - 425
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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