Gainsborough: Society explores the role of Victorian art

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Michael Howard, artist, sculptor and ceramicist, made his fourth visit to Gainsborough Fine Arts Society to lecture on the role of Victorian art within society.

The Victorians made the distinction between High Art – the representation of great events from classic literature, history, mythology and the Bible – and what they regarded as lower forms of art – realistic landscapes, scenes of everyday life and animal paintings.

The former demands, above all, the rendering of thought and emotion, while the latter relies on technical and imitative skills.

High Art, represented through the three main stylist movements of classical revival, pre-Raphaelite and aesthetic, with its huge scale and its idealistic intention, was more suited to public galleries than private collections.