Henri Fantin-Latour, French, 1836–1904, Le jeune Fitz-James (Henri Fitz-James), 1869. Oil on canvas, 49.6 x 40.6 cm. Gift of H.S. Southam, Esq., C.M.G., LL.D., 1948, 66.77.3. Lent by: Art Gallery of Hamilton, Hamilton
The Academic Tradition: 1850-1900
The influence of the French Academy and other European art schools in the 19th-century was such that artists would travel from far and wide to the European capitals to receive a formal art education. A number of these artists – as displayed in this gallery – brought academic principles back home with them and maintained a sense of artistic tradition and reverence for former generations in their practice. Sentimental snapshots from everyday life, known as genre scenes, were popular, and audiences were charmed by images of the innocence of childhood. However, this period was also marked by a modern turn. Artists reacted against such formalities so as to produce distinctly new work alongside the output of the establishment. These art movements began to garner attention for their progressive ideas, such as the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the Arts and Crafts movement in Britain in the mid-1800’s. Their effect is seen in both the European and North American works presented here.