Friday, January 27, 2017

Lots & Lots of Trains!

It was interesting to see how many different artists painted trains into or related to their pictures during this time period. In the majority of these works, the trains seem to be menacing or ominous. This depiction of trains provides insight into the viewpoints of this time. The invention and mass expansion of trains changed the world from being a wide, mostly pastoral landscape, to a more urban and industrial place. This marked the migration of vast amounts of people from secluded farm areas to cities in search of jobs and better lives. For example, in Thomas Talbott Bury's Liverpool and Manchester Railroad painted in 1831, the train station is the center of life for the people and takes up most of the visible  space in the painting. You can see the smoke that comes from the train station that proves that the world was becoming more industrial, but it does not necessarily have a negative connotation because people were not aware of the negative effects of smoke on the environment. Claude Monet also has a piece in which the train is a dark, menacing form with yellow eyes. In contrast, another of his pieces has the train in the distance and focuses more on the natural landscape. This can be seen as less malignant, but still contrasts the natural imagery.

4 comments:

Dylan Bryan said...

I agree with Joseph, and find it interesting that even if the style of painting differed, realism or impressionism, trains were a common subject matter. During this time of industrialization, trains are a good representation of the progress towards this new way of living. Joseph references the painting "Liverpool and Manchester Railroad", which portrays the station as the focal point of the painting. The people in the painting are smaller but prevalent, representing the importance and significance the station has provided to daily life. Some of the paintings show the trains cutting through the countryside while others show the stations in cities. Several emphasize the smoke coming from the train, and Manet's "The Railway" depicts a sense of urban dreariness.

Rickeia Coleman said...

Trains represented a new era of innovation. As Joseph said the attention shifted from rural to urban and Industrialized. As we know, painting and art forms reflect the ideals of the time period and trains were the new big thing. This was unfortunate for romanticist who focused on the beauty's of nature and life because it almost forced people to be grounded in this new realist movement where everything was about work and money. The new movement acted a blessing for those who sought social change and justice but it was a curse for those who became locked into this system where they could literally do nothing but work in these dangerous factories just to survive. Losing a limb was a common occurrence and the level of danger from workin in a factory remained very high. From the looks of it, the movement helped some and hurt others and it for sure affected almost everyone in some way.

Brooke Williamson said...

I find it interesting that trains were such a central part of society. Although they could be portrayed negatively, they were also a source of light and economic resource for people which made them extremely significant.

Bailey Taylor said...

It is really weird to see how the paintings of things like trains and other indrustrualized paintings have changed over time. The ones we saw in class were seen in a positive light. They were very excited about the trains and all they represented. They were a central part of society and represented the growth and development of the country. Once people figured out that the industrialization was tampering with the environment, their paintings changed to showing off things like trains in bad light.