Europe: 1800 – 1900

The century begins with Romanticism. In France, violent and exotic paintings by Gros, Gericault and Delacroix are balanced by the cool sensuality of Ingres. Meanwhile in Spain, Francisco Goya documented the horrors he witnessed during Napoleon’s occupation. In England, as the industrial revolution transformed the countryside, replacing fields with factories, painters turned to landscape. Constable painted his native Suffolk and imbued it with a sense of affection for rural life. Turner, on the other hand, created dramatic and sublime landscapes with a sense of the heroic or even the tragic. In Germany, the art of Caspar David Friedrich exemplifies Romanticism’s interest in the big questions—of man’s mortality and place in the universe. The early photography of Niépce, Daguerre, Cameron posed questions about art, aesthetics, and technology we still try to answer today. The Realists, Impressionists and Post-Impressionists confronted life in the modern city, but used subjective experience to invent new ways to see and paint. By the 1880s artists such as Klimt and Khnopff focused on the interior self by exploring dreams and myth.



Joseph Mallord William Turner, Slave Ship (detail)
A beautiful sunset, but look closer. One of humanity’s most hideous acts—seen in the waves of the indifferent sea.

J. M. W. Turner, Slave Ship


Édouard Manet, Olympia, 1863, oil on canvas, 130 x 190 cm (Musée d'Orsay, Paris)
Manet decided to replace the idealized female nude with the image of a known prostitute. It didn’t go so well.

Édouard Manet, Olympia




Franz von Stuck, The Sin - detail
Entranced by the evil of the human psyche, we come face to face with art history’s creepiest snake.

Franz von Stuck, The Sin



Gustav Klimt, The Kiss- detail
With gold that recalls a Byzantine art, Klimt created a modern icon in this cosmic and eternal painting.

Gustav Klimt, The Kiss










Mary Cassatt, In the Loge- detail
The subject looks through opera glasses, but she herself is the object of another man’s gaze—not to mention ours.

Mary Cassatt, In the Loge