Dystopia to Utopia: How Radical Victorians Transformed the Industrial World
Learn why the Victorian Radicals found followers all over the world, from Britain to the USA, Japan, and India, with curator Tim Barringer, Paul Mellon Professor and Chair of the History of Art at Yale University. He will detail the development of a socialist and ecological critique of capitalism in Victorian Britain that produced some of the most spectacular artworks of the industrial era.
As the world’s first industrial nation, Victorian Britain was a place where great wealth for the few was accompanied by poverty and pollution. Barringer will discuss criticisms of the time offered by John Ruskin and William Morris, who argued that machine-made goods, cheap and plentiful, were inherently ugly and that only a return to natural materials and handicrafts could restore the health of society. Accordingly, avant-garde artists in Britain produced rich and beautiful paintings, metalwork, textiles, ceramics, and glass that looked back to the glories of the medieval era but also imagined a utopian future.
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