Civilisation and nineteenth-century art

A European concept in global context

By David O'Brien

Civilisation and nineteenth-century art

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-7849-9268-2
  • Pages: 272
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £90.00
  • Published Date: August 2016
  • BIC Category: ART / History / Romanticism, Humanities / Colonialism & imperialism, Art History, Romanticism, History of art, 19th century, c 1800 to c 1899, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Colonialism & Post-Colonialism, The arts / History of art & design styles: c 1800 to c 1900


Over the course of the long nineteenth century, Civilisation was the subject of some of the most prominent public mural paintings and sculptures in Europe and the United States, especially those that speculated on the direction of history. It also underpinned Western depictions of non-Western societies and evaluations of social progress and artistic excellence.

The essays in this volume explore the ways in which the idea of Civilisation acted as a lens through which Europeans and Americans represented themselves and others, how this concept reshaped understandings of historical and artistic development, and also how it changed and was put to new uses as the century progressed. This collection will prove invaluable to students and academics in both history and art history.


Introduction: What was civilization? - David O'Brien
1. Theism and the civilizing process in James Barry's Society of Arts Murals - Daniel Guernsey
2. Evaluating others: the mirroring of Chinese civilization in Britain - Greg Thomas
3. Civilization as a suffering woman in nineteenth-century River Plate - Laura Malosetti Costa
4. Civilizing Rome: Anglo-American artists and the colonial encounter - Melissa Dabakis
5. Kultur and Zivilisation in 1842-43 or, the failure of the first global art history - Jeanne-Marie Musto
6. Civilization and the encyclopedic impulse: Hokusai, Diderot, and the Japanese album as encyclopédie - Emily Brink
7. Second Rome or seat of savagery? Byzantium in nineteenth-century European imaginaries - Maria Taroutina
8. Going native/going British: Victorian mimesis, alterity and repetition - Julie Codell
9. Pre-Columbian civilization as cultural patrimony: archaeology and nationalism at the World's Fairs - Matthew Johnston


David O'Brien is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign

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