Art, Artists and Society: Origins of a Modern Dilemma ; Painting in England and France, 1750-1850

By Geraldine Pelles | Go to book overview

SIX
Metamorphoses of the Hero

While the artist became a new kind of culture hero, the hero as a principal theme vanished from painting as an image of man. The process of dethronement of the hero from the dominating position in art he had occupied since antiquity was gradual. And it was intimately related to the artist's problem in finding imagery meaningful to the people of his time.

Painters had to decide not only what kind of characters and actions to portray, but also where in space and time the scene should be laid. In antiquity artists had depicted celebrities, particularly athletes and military heroes who were close to the observer's immediate experience, and this practice was partially revived in sculpture in the fifteenth century. But during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance it was customary for painters to place gods and devils, priests, kings and knights in some imaginary setting or to show personages who had been dead for centuries in contemporary dress and locales. Authenticity of detail or historical accuracy did not matter when the picture was considered to be true because of the generally accepted universal truth of its content. In the strongly stratified societies of the past, the greatness of these heroic or superhuman figures was not usually questioned.

As a greater sense of history developed, it revealed the relative value of epochs of time and of human worth, and instilled a confidence in progress. The idea of progress gradually developed into a belief in the perfectibility of man. 1 As high strata in the social hierarchy became more widely attainable, the old images of types that seemed great by virtue of their remoteness in time or social accessibility were undermined. With the shift of belief from a fixed supernatural sphere to a secular world involved in the flux of history, the stability and standards of greatness -- in themes and characters as well as in the techniques of the work of art -- became increasingly problematic. In the seventeenth century, the

-99-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Art, Artists and Society: Origins of a Modern Dilemma ; Painting in England and France, 1750-1850
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 180

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.