English Arts Part IV

English Arts 4

Tudor and Elizabethan styles

Architecture: The Reformation in the early 16th century had a profound effect on building activity, which from now on concentrated on secular and public buildings. The forms of the Perpendicular Style were mixed with elements of the Italian, German and Flemish Renaissance; v. a. the Tudor style (1520–58) clad Gothic constructions with Renaissance forms. The following Elizabethan style (until 1603) merged its own tradition more profoundly with foreign innovations. Signs of growing wealth were the castles and country estates of the king and the newly emerging court aristocracy, among others. Hampton Court Palace (Middlesex; 1514 ff.), Longleat House (Wiltshire; 1567-79), Wollaton Hall (Nottinghamshire; 1580-88, by R. Smythson) and Hardwick Hall (Derbyshire; 1590–97). The variety of the floor plans (with inner courtyard, courtyard open to the front or in the »E-shape« typical of the Elizabethan period) and the building materials (brick, stone, half-timbered) testify to the local styles that developed at that time.

Plastic: Connections with France and Italy opened up new possibilities for post-medieval English plastic at the beginning of the 16th century. Three Italian sculptors, some of whom were trained in France, familiar with the achievements of the Renaissance, moved to England for a few years: Pietro Torrigiani (tomb of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, 1511-17; London, Westminster Abbey), Benedetto da Rovezzano (in England around 1524–35) and Giovanni da Maiano (from around 1521). The Reformation and the first wave of iconoclasm (around 1530) brought about functional changes in the field of sculpture. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. artists who had come from the Netherlands settled in England. They formed a school (“school of Southwark”), which was responsible for several important commissions (e.g. tomb of Elizabeth I by Maximilian Colt, 1605-07; London, Westminster Abbey).

Painting: After local and Flemish painters were particularly valued under Henry VII and initially also under Henry VIII, the German painter H. Holbein the Younger (1526–28 and from 1532) was called to England, whose work had a great influence on the practiced English painting. The preference for a neutral background and the linear, flat style shows that he was influenced by the traditional English sense of form (Portrait of Christine of Denmark, 1538; London, National Gallery). During the reign of Elizabeth I, the portrait remained an important genre. Painting received special impulses from the mannerist miniatures N. Hilliards.

Classicism and neo-Gothic

Architecture: At the beginning of the 17th century, English architecture took a direction that has remained decisive up to the present day: I. Jones introduced Palladian classicism in England. Important students (especially C. Wren and J. Webb) continued the development he initiated on a broad basis. In 1616 Jones created the design for the Queen’s Castle in Greenwich (“Queen’s House”, completed 1637): The first strictly Palladian building in England was built. He was followed by, among others. the renovation of Saint Paul’s Cathedral (1633–38) and the construction of Wilton House near Salisbury (around 1633–40 and 1648/49). The one for Jones ‘Buildings characteristic simplicity, combined with strict proportions, is particularly evident in his main work, Banqueting House (Whitehall, 1619–22). After the great fire of London (1666), his pupil C. Wren built 51 churches (only a part of which has survived); however, his large-scale construction plan for the city did not come to fruition. His main work is the new construction of Saint Paul’s Cathedral (1675–1711), a combination of central and longitudinal structures based on the model of St. Peter’s Church in Rome.

Also worth mentioning are: Saint Stephen Walbrook in London (1672–77), the Hospital in Greenwich (1696 ff.), Extensions to Hampton Court (1689–92) and Kensington Palace (1689 ff.). N. Hawksmoor, J. Vanbrugh and Thomas Archer (* 1668/69, † 1743), all three of whom had strong relationships with Wren and his work, approached the European Baroque (Queen Anne Style) with their buildings. J. Gibbs, who worked with C. Fontana in Rome, developed an eclectic style (Saint-Mary-le-Strand, 1714-17; Saint-Martin-in-the-Fields, 1722-26; both in London). Jones’ strict Palladian classicismdetermined the entire 18th century mainly. country house architecture (e.g. Stourhead, Wiltshire, 1721-24, by C. Campbell; Chiswick House, London, 1724-28, by Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington). In the second half of the 18th century, less strict tendencies also prevailed. The Scottish architect R. Adam created the so-called Etruscan style (Syon House, London, 1762–69; Kenwood House, ibid, 1767–69). J. Soane and J. Nash worked with dramatic lighting effects. The English Gothic Revival had in J. Wyatt, T. Rickman and H. Walpole early and committed representatives. W. Kent’s parks (including Blenheim Palace) and those of L. Brown and W. Chambers (Kew Gardens, London) no longer followed the French principle, but instead show a natural, irregular landscape (“landscape garden”). The small buildings in these parks in imitated Gothic, Roman or even Chinese styles soon found imitation everywhere in the “English gardens”.

Sculpture: According to clothesbliss.com, English sculpture in the 17th century shows Mannerist (N. Stone), then Baroque influences, the end of the century was shaped by G. Gibbons, who worked very freely with forms of the Italian Renaissance, who next to the bronze monument of Jacob II (1680; London, formerly Whitehall, now the National Gallery) created the tomb of Mary Beaufoy († 1705; London, Westminster Abbey) and that of Sir C. Shovell († 1707; ibid). At the end of the 18th century, J. Flaxman, who was influenced by J. J. Winckelmann’s writings, was in charge a stylistic turn. After a stay in Rome (1787–94) he developed into the purest representative of English classicism. Among other things, he designed Reliefs for Wedgwood stoneware and Lord Nelson’s tomb in Saint Paul’s Cathedral (1808–18).

English Arts 4