You are here

"England's Giorgione"

Title: "England's Giorgione": Charles H. Shannon and Venetianism in Late Victorian Art.
Name(s): McKeown, William Carlisle, author
Weingarden, Lauren S., professor directing dissertation
Gontarski, Stanley E., outside committee member
Barclay, Michael, committee member
Neuman, Robert, committee member
Jolles, Adam, committee member
Department of Art History, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2005
Publisher: Florida State University
Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: This dissertation studies the paintings and lithographs of Charles Hazelwood Shannon within the context of British Venetianism. Shannon clearly derived many stylistic elements and figurative motifs from Venetian Renaissance art. By doing so, he was at once following a British tradition of Venetianism, and reformulating it for a modern era. The history of British Venetianism has not been a smooth or consistent one. Within Charles I's court and through the intermediary of Anthony Van Dyck's paintings, the Venetian style became closely associated with royalist concepts and aristocratic privileges in seventeeth-century Britain. By contrast, much of the Venetianist discourse of the eighteenth century can be characterized as anti-Venetianist. In eighteenth-century British texts, Venetian art is repeatedly conflated with Venetian society, and both are condemned for a perceived licentiousness. This literary reprobation of Venetianism stands in strong contrast to the continued collecting of Venetian paintings by aristocrats, and to the painting practices of British artists like Sir Joshua Reynolds. Throughout the nineteenth century, Venetianism is reevaluated. Nevertheless, Victorian Venetianism encompasses many contradictory points of view inherited from earlier periods. These contradictions are well-represented by the critics John Ruskin and Walter Pater. While the former critic emphasized the moral role of honest labor in the creation of art, the latter stressed the distinction between the prosaic realm of morality and the purposeless beauty of the aesthetic world. However, both critics would use Venetian art to advance their arguments, and they both believed that art was of the highest importance for modern British culture. In his artwork, Shannon would engaged with all of these previous forms of Venetianism. He patterned many of his portraits after the example of Van Dyck and Titian; he countered the vestiges of anti-Venetianism with his sensual depictions of nudes based on Venetian and Hellenistic prototypes; he infused his work with a Ruskinian sense of craftsmanship, as is particularly evident in his finely-made lithographs; and he evokes Paterian aesthetics in painting beautiful figures removed from any obvious narrative action. Shannon's Venetianism was recognized as progressive from the 1890s through the first decade of the twentieth century. Contemporary art historians and critics emphasized the continuity between Venetian Renaissance painting and modern European art, and Shannon's work was understood as part of this continuum. Shannon's progressive credentials can be measured by the avant-garde groups with whom he exhibited, and by the collectors who sought after his work. Nevertheless, his work was ultimately incompatible with the rising scene of modernist art. Modernist art in Britain, and the formalist theories which supported it, was largely born out of Paterian Venetianism. However, the modernist disavowal of European traditions of painting would spell the end for Shannon's particular version of Venetianism.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-2533 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Art History in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Spring Semester, 2005.
Date of Defense: December 7, 2004.
Keywords: Hazelwood, Titian, Revivalism
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Lauren S. Weingarden, Professor Directing Dissertation; Stanley E. Gontarski, Outside Committee Member; Michael Barclay, Committee Member; Robert Neuman, Committee Member; Adam Jolles, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Arts
Persistent Link to This Record:
Use and Reproduction: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s). The copyright in theses and dissertations completed at Florida State University is held by the students who author them.
Host Institution: FSU

Choose the citation style.
McKeown, W. C. (2005). "England's Giorgione": Charles H. Shannon and Venetianism in Late Victorian Art. Retrieved from