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Gothic Beauty: Victorian notions of love, loss and spirituality

19139_King_Cophetua_and_the_Beggarmaid_Wilson_JW_sq.jpg

6 October 2018 - 10 February 2019

A free Bendigo Art Gallery exhibition.

The publication of Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto in 1764, marked a turning point in literature, art and society, sparking a keen interest in dark, psychological narratives with a focus on a heightened emotional state.

 By the early nineteenth century Gothic literature had become commonplace and had particular appeal to middle and upper class women as both writers and readers.

These thrilling stories undoubtedly offered an escape from the sheltered and dull lives dictated for them by society. These ideals were manifested through art and society and Gothic Beauty takes inspiration from the earliest incarnations; traversing the physical embodiment through an exploration of the regimented ritual of mourning in the Victorian era to the metaphysical through art and literature.

This exhibition traces the Victorian gothic into contemporary art, bringing together the work of a variety of artists who explore these ideas including: Bill Henson, Jess Johnson, Jane Burton, Janet Beckhouse and Julia deVille.

 

Image:
George Baxter (After Guido Reni). Cleopatra with the Asp (detail)1837. colour lithograph. Collection: Bendigo Art Gallery.
JW Wilson. King Cophetua and the Beggarmaid (detail) 1906. oil on canvas. Collection Bendigo Art Gallery