The Victorian period is marked by serious changes in people's views on art. The artists focused on the viewer's imagination and began to explore new and complex topics. They were attracted to the basics of human existence and emotional plots inspired by myths and legends. Painters are interested in classification, documentation, as well as free experiments with new ways of depicting the physical world.
Left: Frederick Leighton, Perseus and Andromeda (1891). The myth of Perseus, who was ordered to bring the head of Medusa to the Gorgon, whose gaze turned people to stone, was one of the most popular in the Victorian era.
In the picture, the artist depicted Perseus on a winged horse. He came to the aid of Andromeda, who was chained to the rock as a sacrifice to the god of the seas, Poseidon. Leighton showed a dramatic moment: Perseus’s arrow had just pierced the dragon, spread its wings over Andromeda.
The “face” of the exhibition “Victorian treasures” was the portrait of “Elena of Troyan” (1867) by Anthony Frederick Sandys. In the late 1850s and in the 1860s, he painted biblical, mythological, and literary scenes. The artist was a great friend of Rossetti and often drew inspiration from his works.
“Elena Troyanskaya” refers to the illustration that Sandys did for the magazine “Weekly” in 1866 and entitled “Elena and Cassandra”. She portrays a prophetess who scolds Elena against the background of a burning Troy. The beauty while chewing a strand of hair, like a spoiled child. In the picture, as in the figure, the heroine of the myth is depicted as puffed up, looking frowningly and to the side.
Left: Anthony Frederick Sandys, "Helen of Troy" (1867). Walker Art Gallery
- William Holman Hunt, The Tuscan Girl (1869). Lady Lever Art Gallery
- Edward John Poynter, "Psyche in the Temple of Love" (1882). Walker Art Gallery
The Two Misss Illustration (1879) Kate Greenway also evoked a feeling of nostalgia among the British. The drawing depicts two carefully dressed girls gathered at the exit on a winter day.
To the viewer of the second half of the XIX century, their style of clothing should seem old-fashioned: long coats with fur trim and hats were worn at the beginning of the century. However, the Victorians felt that their lives were changing rapidly, and enjoyed the memories of the recent past.
Left: Kate Greenway, Two Miss (1879). Walker Art Gallery