Social Commentary on Canvas: Dickensian Take on the Real World

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Royal Holloway, University of London

Disdained, derided and dismissed by Modernist art critics from Roger Fry to Clement Greenberg, Victorian painting staged a comeback in the Postmodern era.

Though often sappy and moralistic, at its best late-19th-century British painting still delivers a rich mix of visual imagination, narrative intrigue and social commentary. An excellent exhibition at the Yale Center for British Art proves the point. Drawn from a collection created in the early 1880s for students at Royal Holloway College, then just for women, “Paintings From the Reign of Victoria: The Royal Holloway Collection, London” offers pictures that can make you wish painting today were as tuned in to the real world.

Social Commentary on Canvas: Dickensian Take on the Real World Ken Johnson NYT 6/18/09

“Paintings From the Reign of Victoria: The Royal Holloway Collection, London” continues through July 26 at the Yale Center for British Art, 1080 Chapel Street, New Haven

-Chris

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