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Roger Fry as a Protestant Art Critic

Golden, James Michael (2017) Roger Fry as a Protestant Art Critic. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

James Golden Thesis April 2017.pdf

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This thesis argues that Roger Fry should, in part at least, be placed within a tradition of British, Protestant, art criticism. To this end I compare his work with that of the leading nineteenth-century British art critic John Ruskin. I discuss the problems both men had in engaging with a predominately Catholic art form, and place their work within a wider British tradition. I consider their personal histories and how they gave a similar interpretation of art history. I explore the work of both men on Venetian art and artists with particular references to Ruskin’s The Stones of Venice and Fry’s writings on Bellini and Giotto. I examine how Fry sought to distance artworks from the culture that produced them and how this affected his view on art history. I compare Fry’s aesthetic ideas with the Theocentric theory of art advanced by Ruskin in the second volume of Modern Painters. Here I compare their respective formalist ideas. I discuss how Fry’s formalism led him to reject Impressionism and champion the Post-Impressionists. I examine the controversy surrounding the 1910 and 1912 Post-Impressionist exhibitions and how they raised the question of the moral value and use of art. I end with a discussion of Ruskin’s concept of the Theoretic faculty and contend that Fry held a similar concept. Overall I argue for the presence of continuity between Fry’s early and later ideas on art criticism and history that can partly be explained by his religious background.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > C Auxiliary sciences of history (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Philosophy and Art History, School of
Depositing User: James Golden
Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2017 08:19
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2017 08:19

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