'Dodging and watching the natural incidents of the peasantry': Genre painting in Scotland 1780-1830

Authors
Citation
D. Forbes, 'Dodging and watching the natural incidents of the peasantry': Genre painting in Scotland 1780-1830, OX ART J, 23(2), 2000, pp. 81-94
Citations number
44
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Arts & Architecture
Journal title
OXFORD ART JOURNAL
ISSN journal
0142-6540 → ACNP
Volume
23
Issue
2
Year of publication
2000
Pages
81 - 94
Database
ISI
SICI code
0142-6540(2000)23:2<81:'AWTNI>2.0.ZU;2-8
Abstract
This paper begins by assessing the special status accorded genre in Scottis h are historiography, especially the claim that it represents an authentic, democratic and thus peculiarly national mode of pictorial expression. Whil st these are familiar statements in relation to the art of the everyday, th ey have taken on a particular intensity in relation to Scottish visual cult ure and the simplistic equation of genre painting with experience is a feat ure of recent writing in Scottish art history. Through an analysis of genre in Scotland between 1780 and 1830, the paper argues that the emergence of such claims occurred within the context of a class-specific high culture fo rmed in reaction to egalitarian struggles furthered by the impact of the Fr ench Revolution. David Allen's genre was increasingly celebrated for its ap parently documentary presentation of a contented peasantry, and with the em ergence of public exhibitions in Scotland critics worked hard to neutralize genre's subversive potential. Similarly the popularity of genre sculptors in Edinburgh in the Reform period was met by attempts to frame their creati ve work as the product of a placid and integrable artisan class. Such evide nce calls into question the appellation 'democratic' when discussing genre in Scotland and suggests that critical insight is restricted in the writing of cultural nationalist histories.