Characteristics of Victorian Art

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Characteristics of Victorian Art

During the 19th century, Queen Victoria ruled England for 64 years. This period was characterized by strong industrial development and the emergence of a distinct and opulent style in literature, art and architecture. The beginning of the Victorian era marked the end of the mass production and uniform tendencies of the Industrial Revolution.


Early Victorian

Early Victorian art was heavily influenced by realism and faithfulness to the true aspects of nature. Most of the art incorporated a moral or spiritual undertone to realistic, lifelike scenery.


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Late Victorian

Late Victorian art began to abandon the realistic aspects of early works and moved into fantasy and mythology for thematic material. Many late Victorian pieces can be described as eclectic and ambiguous.



Most Victorian art contained bright and cheerful colors and a stark attention to very small details within the scene. The English landscape of rolling hills and small farms was a common backdrop in Victorian art.


Common Themes

Much of the Victorian art created during the 19th century depicted women. In particular, nudes, fairies and landscapes were common.

Late Victorian Criticism

Victorian art was criticized by some art critics at the time for lacking subtle undertones. Other critics rejected Victorian art for its often rough lines that they claimed masked compositional grace.


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