Nationalism: Art Of 19th Century
Nationalism born in the era of the French Revolution, injected urgency and into art. The new epoch of politics and faith in progress was reflected in it. People began to take pride in their country, new folkpoems, songs, tales and drawing began to show up all over Europe. Feeling of pride in religion, people and government was depicted through many paintings of the artists.
A list of criteria for nationhood was likely to include a common language, religion, and political authority, as well as common tradition and shared historic experiences. Some of these experiences were put into Greek or Roman settings, exhibiting loyalty and pride for a country. These pictures were meant to spark devotion to the government, in order for the government to serve well. "The Oath of the Horatii" by Jacques-Louis David, shows exactly that. The soldiers are willingly grabbing for the swords to fight, they're not afraid to lose their head. Whether they're doing it for the country or for themselves is unknown, but the feeling of loyalty is present in the picture.
The military was praised in 19th century, almost all big accomplishments were made through war. During much unification throughout Europe, nationalism was at its highest peak. Such countries as France, Germany and Italy were all experiencing nationalism through people and government. "Liberty leading the people" (by Delacroix) reveals the feeling of freedom and fight for the country. People killing others, lead by one thing liberty (nationalism) in order to make their country proud. Many people were killed in this ordeal, but to die in such way was considered an honor. Artists showed the pride of the people who were to be killed, standing up for freedom and glory. "The Shootings of May 3, 1808" by Goya show the soldiers killing the revolutionaries. One man is standing in the middle in white with his arms spread. He knows he will be killed, but the reason he is dying for is patriotic, the belief that him dying will make the nation better as a whole. Most importantly the cause of his death is righteous.
Sacrifices of many brilliant people were made for the pride of the country. The people mourned the deaths of many of those. They sacrificed their lives for their countries, believing that they will be one step closer to achieving their ideal country. "The Lictors bring to Bruths the Bodies of his Sons" by David pictures the sorrow of a woman crying for the loss of the Sons. Just another painful consequence for the fight the nationalism. Another of David's pictures "The Death of Socrates" points out that the great philosopher losing his life for the better of mankind. He couldn't live for something he didn't believe in, so he chose death. This message was spread to people throughout Europe "it's better to die for what you believe in, the live with something you don't."
Governments told their people that they were better than anyone else was. To triumph over another in a battle was the highest of honor (Franco-Prussian War defeat). Fighting for the country is sought of as great. Everyone needed to know that your country was the greatest and what better way to show then to fight for it. Delacroix's "Entry of Crusades into Constitople on 12 April, 1204" shows the quivering peasant asking for mercy from the great soldiers. The empire is crushed, and the new army enters the city in honor of the country. To be better than any other nation, to be stronger, and to prove it was the desire of the people. In the end it was the fight for country's superiority against another, each man fought not for him but for the country. "Fights with Cudgels" by Goya shows the men beating each other till the end. Eventually one is bound to win.
The Governments and the People were overwhelmed by nationalism. This gave reasons in the hearts to fight for, no longer just for the government but for their country. This emotion was so strong that many artists experienced it. Culture, now more widespread, had a big influence on the people. Nationalism was portrayed through historic scenes and day-life scenes, but both had the same message.