Modernism vs. Victorianism

According to the Witcombe, in his website regarding modernism, anything is modern at the time it was created. Strictly speaking, modern refers to the a certain period in history, more or less around the 1860s, where pieces of art depict ideologies and philosophies. Art works of this period include Manet, Belvedere, Louis David, de Goya, and Courbet, to name a few. These pieces portray ideas that seemed taboo, or too different from the what society believes in. Because prior to the turn of the Modern Age, ideas for art were too “old fashioned” as many has deemed.

They seemed rigid, or stifled. These art works are categorized under Victorianism. Victorianism refers to a period where Queen Victoria reigned. During this period, many aspects of society, from science, politics and religion, were a stark contrast to the modern age. As written in the website The Victorian Web, this period is a high for inventions, where man is able to to create means for the improvement on how man lives. On this aspect of society, Victorianism is at an advantage. However, in regards to their religion, the people underwent “a great age of doubt”.

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Their literature was an attempt to combine Romantic and Neoclassical eras, focusing on emotions and the role of art and the artists to the public. This period also gave emphasis on movements such as democracy, feminism, socialism and Marxism. There were many established names such as Darwin, Marx, and Freud, that gave way to the Modern Era. In the same website, they said that Victorianism is a parent to Modernism, and as such, there was a strong reaction to the parent. Modernism gives light to the need to find what was holding society back to the “Old Fashioned”.
By having more emphasis on the progress of society, Modernism strongly opposes the ideals of Victorianism. This is evident with the projects and creations of this period, the focal points were very different. Witcombe quoted Salvador Dali, modernism is “a revolution in consciousness. ” One can assume that since Victorianism is related to a very strict parents, Modernism as a child will strongly repel these ideals and create his own. Modernism focuses on freedom. By comparing the many art works from paintings to literature, to science and technology, one cannot be mistaken of the differences between these two periods.
Another metaphor can be a sealed bottle. Victorianism refers to that sealed bottle, and that would be art in itself. However, people would have noticed that a sealed bottle would have served no purpose to society. There were instances where a sealed bottle could have done something more progressive for society, and not just for aesthetic values. But it is not enough for others. These people would be the forefathers of modernism. They didn’t want a sealed bottle. They want an open bottle, with all its contents pouring out.
That would be art, the dynamic factors of modernist approach calls for greater improvement. It inevitably foresees progress. As a natural reaction, anything that is repressed tends to fight back, to go to the extreme opposite. This is evident in many cases, as it is here between Modernism and Victorianism. The people back then, in the regime of Queen Victoria, were gullible, always easy to follow and be affected by what authority and society dictates. The modernist people thought that there must be a time when they can think for themselves, and be liberated by the chains of society.
There were so many things that could more than tickle a man’s imagination during the former period, and according to ChangingMinds. org, the thoughts and information that cannot be fully handled by the mind, is taken aside and processed in a different manner. Effects reflect in a different manner. This is called Repression. In the case between these two periods, the people had been repressed in such a way that the matters where their eyes should be open, their eyes have been closed either by society, or by those in authority, using threats or unwanted consequences as an exchange for disobedience.
In conclusion, Modernism is the reaction to Victorianism because of the repression on the ideals and practices of the people. Modernism is the point where the consciousness of the people have been opened to even greater ideas, philosophies, and possibilities. The people were liberated to reality with the use of the many aspects of society, pushing it forward. Remaining at a state where one is not challenged, stagnant at a point where life is dull, is never a good thing. Man would not be where he is to this day without this turning point.
However, human beings will inevitably have such a turning point, for the complex mind of man can be more cunning than we perceive. He will never be content, and will always aspire for changes. Works Cited Landow, George. “The Reality of Victorianism. ” The Victorian Web. 15 December 2007 http://www. victorianweb. org/vn/victor4. html “Repression. ” Changing Minds. 15 December 2007 http://changingminds. org/explanations/behaviors/coping/repression. htm Witcombe, Christopher. “Root of Modernism. ” Modernism. 15 December 2007 http://witcombe. sbc. edu/modernism/roots. html.

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