British Art, Theatre, Music
There was little pictorial art
in England until the great miniaturists of the Tudor epoch. There were
portraits on a large scale, but they were in the main, of foreign origin,
notably Dutch like Holbein. Then came Hogarth, the first great native painter born
at the end of the 17th century, famous for both engravings and oil paintings,
he was followed by Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) famous for his portraits.
If Hogarth was the artist of
the towns, Gainsborough, contemporary of Reynolds, was the painter of the
countryside, frequently the background to his portraits. In a similar tradition
was Stubbs, as famous for his portraits of horses as of people.
Among the other portraitists
of the 18th century were Romney, and Rae-burn. Constable (1776-1837) finally
gave landscape painting its importance. Among his near-contemporaries, though a
little younger, were William Blake, poet, visionary and painter, and Turner,
renowned above all for his naval scenes.
The modern period in British
art may be said to date from the year 1910, when the first Post-Impressionist
Exhibition was held in London.
The first decade of the
century had been dominated by two romanticists, Frank Brangwyn and Augustus
John and by the sculptor Jacob Epstein who became a protagonist of modernity. The
two painters may, to some extent, have been influenced by Gauguin, Epstein was
essentially an expressionist.
Such modern painters as Peter
Blake, Allan Jones and some others seek an image of immediate popular appeal
(hence the term "pop-art" sometimes applied to this school).