Originally published in 2004. Once the most popular Victorian artist, G. F. Watts was also a complex and elusive figure. Influenced by evolutionary theory, he reinterpreted the tradition of the classical body, while his philanthropic and educational interests informed projects for a more affective public art. This book is the first modern account of the full range of Watts's different artistic interests and practices. Offering fresh approaches to his historical, allegorical and mythological paintings, it also traces his increasingly radical approach to portraiture and sculpture and examines the institutional and biographical factors behind his immense public profile. Together the essays present a comprehensive analysis of Watts's work and his vital relationship to the intellectual, cultural and social forces of his time.
Introduction: generations of Watts, Colin Trodd and Stephanie Brown; Part I Transfiguring the Wattsian Body: The pointless meaningfulness of Watts's work, Paul Barlow; Between Homer and Ovid: metamorphoses of the 'grand style' in G. F. Watts, Elizabeth Prettejohn; 'To intensify the sense of teeming life': Watts and the twilight of transcendence, Colin Trodd; Indefinite expansion: Watts and the physicality of sculpture, Stephanie Brown. Part II Determining the Wattsian Space: Watts, historical thought and the schemes of painting in the 1840s, Janet McLean; Nationalizing Watts: the Hall of Fame and the National Portrait Gallery, Lara Perry; Illuminating experience: Watts and the subject of portraiture, Colin Trodd; Watts and the National Gallery of British Art, Alison Smith; Watts, women, philanthropy and the home arts, Shelagh Wilson; Bibliography.
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