Art Styles in the Industrial 19th Century


The Creation of the Metropolis


(Neoclassicism, Romanticism and Art Styles in 19th century - Art Map)




Architecture and Technology

"Geometric forms intersected one another...the markets had a square, uniform appearance, like some huge modern enormous steam engine, a cauldron big enough to satisfy the hunger of a nation, a gigantic stomach, bolted, rivetted, made of wood, glass, and iron...with the power of a mechanical engine driven by the heat of combustion and the dizzying rush...of the wheels." With these words, from Le venire tie Paris, Emile Zola describes one of the great transformations of the 19th century: the development of new materials and construction techniques. Some applications and architectural forms seemed more suited to the use of these new materials than others.
There was great interest in the potential use of prefabricated sections, which resulted from industrial production, as the large number of documented experiments shows. The construction techniques first used by John Wilkinson (1728-1808) in his iron bridge at Coalbrookdale, England, were developed by Jean-Baptiste Rondelet in his Traite de l'art de batir (1802), and in the later Entretiens sur l'architecture (1863-72) by Eugene-Emanuel Viollet-le-Duc. The production of wrought iron and, later, of steel girders was first carried out on an industrial scale in England between the late 18th and early 19th century. This meant that designers, engineers, and architects could try out new techniques and shapes that exploited the structural versatility of the new-materials. Vast exhibition halls were made of iron and glass using the greenhouse-style construction techniques first employed in Joseph Paxton's Crystal Palace. Architects made the most of the ductility of metal structures and of advances in plate-glass manufacture for large glazed surfaces. At the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1889, the evolution of this construction technology was clear for all to see with the opening of two great building achievements: the Machinery Hall and the Eiffel Tower. The Machinery Hall was an imposing steel structure, 420 metres (1,170 feet) long, with a 115-metre (315-foot) roof span. Visitors could be raised to the level of the exhibits, which included heavy industrial machinery and the most advanced technology of the day, on two movable bridges. The Eiffel Tower, designed by the engineer Gustave Eiffel (1832-1923), soon became an unmistakable emblem of the city and of the technical possibilities of modern structural engineering. It could be seen soaring skywards from even' district in Paris, its distinctive tapering shape designed to minimize wind resistance and giving, as Gustave Eiffel himself described it, "an impression of strength and beauty".


The base of the Eiffel Tower at the Exposition Universelle, Paris, 1889.


Eugene-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, masonry design from Entretiens sur l'architecture, 1864.


The Machinery Hall, Paris, from L'exposition de Paris illustree, 1878.





"Urban Furniture"

Public spaces proliferated and became larger in the 19th-century metropolis. Paris was famous for its boulevards, passages (arcades), and cafes with wide terraces. Gustave Flaubert recreates the picture in L'Education sentimentale. His preoccupied hero. Frederic Moreau, wandering through Paris at dusk, notices that the shopkeepers are starting to take down their awnings. As municipal watering carts sprinkle a fine rain over the dusty pavements, an unexpected, cool freshness mingles with the aromas from the cafes. Through their open doors he glimpses, among the silver and gilt, flowers reflected in high mirrors. The crowds walk slowly by and men chat on the pavements. The ville lumiere, as Camille Mauclaire described it, is the "city of light", where life is lived to the full and where the city is always more than a mere backdrop. In such an environment the various spaces of the metropolis can be enjoyed not only for their impressive appearance, but also as places in which people pass their time and live their lives: hence, they must be furnished. Double rows of trees along avenues and around squares, flower-beds and gardens, bandstands, gazebos, park benches, fountains, railings and gates, protective fencing for young trees, watering systems, and lighting - all these items make up what we might describe as "urban furniture". They help to define a city's image and ensure that its open spaces can function primarily as places for recreation and socializing. Jean-Charles Adolphe Alphand's work for the city of Paris showed meticulous care in choosing and cultivating the plants and trees that filled the flowerbeds in the streets and parks of the city, calculating their size in maturity and the effect of the colour of their foliage.




C. R. Franck, Au Moine Saint-Martin,
advertisement for the department stores of that name, c. 1875.
Musee des Arts Decoratits, Paris.


Department stores introduced a new approach to retail space by displaying and selling every imaginable type of product under one roof. The first department stores were multistorey buildings with vast entrance halls, built using the iron girder construction method. The rest of the building was constructed around these wide, open spaces, which were naturally lit through huge skylights high above. Long, winding staircases led up towards the higher floors, as in Louis Auguste Boileau's Bon Marche (1872-74) and Jules and Paul Sedilles Pnntemps department stores (1882-89), in Paris. The fascination of these places was vividly described by Anatole France in Le Petit Pierre (1918). To his hero, as to others, these shops seem immense and full of treasures. He wonders whether they have given him a taste for sumptuous artifacts that has become so strong it has never quite left him. The sight and quantity of materials, embroideries, carpets, feathers, and flowers on sale throw him into a kind of ecstasy, and he is lost in admiration at the affable gentlemen and the gracious young ladies who smilingly proffer these marvels to their indecisive clientele.



Jules and Paul Sedille, Printemps department store, Paris, 1882.

The cast-iron structure on reinforced concrete foundations is based on a
historically derived decorative style.






The 19th century brought the large commercial building into the modern metropolis. As a result of growth in industrial production, space devoted to the sale and distribution of goods in cities expanded rapidly. Various architectural solutions were adopted to meet the new requirements, including large covered markets, where great quantities of goods could be sold under one roof, and arcades made up of roofed pedestrian streets lined with shops. The purposes for which covered markets were built dictated the shape of the interior. This was not unlike the nave of a church, often widened by transepts, with stalls arranged around the sides and covered by glazed roofs. Such a layout was seen in Victor Baltard's great development of the Halles Centrales in Paris (1851—66), and Friedrich Hitzig's covered market in Berlin (1865-68), lit by gaslight and complete with storage space. The shopping arcade meant that articles for sale could be temptingly displayed in the windows, illuminated by natural light from the glass root, or by gaslight. Among the most attractive were the Galerie d'Orleans in Paris ( 1829) bv Fontaine and Percier; the Burlington Arcade in London (1818-19) designed by Samuel Ware; the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II (1865—77) in Milan; and the Cleveland Arcade in Ohio (1889-90).


Giuseppe Mengoni, Gallerla Vittorio
Emanuele II, Milan, 1865-77.

This is a typically eclectic work based on the
Parisian passages, or shopping arcades.


Friedrich Hitzig, covered market, Berlin, 1865-68.

This perspective drawing captures Hitzig's grand vision.
Plansammlung der Techimschen Uhiversitat Berlin.



Parks and Gardens

Adolphe Alphand, design for Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, c. 1890, Paris.

As a colleague of Haussmann, Alphand designed the green-belt system for Paris.

The complex layout of the 19th-century park was linked to the development of the garden, which, from the late 18th century onwards, had undergone a transformation. Parks were no longer the preserve of aristocratic or royal landowners, but were open to the public at large. They varied in size, layout, and character, depending on their metropolitan settings. The relationship between green spaces and built-up areas was sometimes achieved by having a parkland area where the citv walls once stood. The Stadtpark in Vienna was one example of this, and the 19th-century transformation of Lucca's 16th- and 17th- century bastions and curtain walls into a promenade, by Marie-Louise de Bourbon, another. Tree-lined avenues or walks - such as the Boulevard Saint-Antoine in Paris or the Real Fasseggio di Chiaia in Naples - and the public park, with its defined boundaries and necessary amenities, also introduced greenery into city centres. In L'art de composer et de decorer les jardins by Pierre Boitard, designer and scholar of the art of garden planning, three categories of garden were identified: the walk or promenade, the pleasure garden, and the public park. In Britain, pleasure gardens were very popular, places where people met and where various recreational activities -entertainments, concerts, and games - could be enjoyed by the aristocracy and the middle classes. Vauxhall Gardens, in London, was one of the most famous of the city's 60 public gardens, which were recorded in The London Pleasure Gardens, by Warmick Wroth, a detailed guide published in 1896. The French equivalent of the pleasure garden was the jardin spectaculaire, such as the Pare Monceau or the Jardin de Tivoli. In the garden of Chateau Rouge, the promenades and carefully planned spaces were arranged to make the most of the beautiful site and show the trees and plants to their best advantage.
The progression towards public parks and gardens in the city came about gradually. London squares, built around an enclosed garden and reserved for the private use of their residents, had already marked a significant step towards the introduction of the modern public garden. The aim of re-introducing nature into the urban landscape lay at the heart of John Nash's 1812 design for Regent's Park, in which a road formed the boundary of an enormous green open space, allowing carriages to take a circular route around the park.
Over the following years, the park was completed, with the addition of large expanses of water, a zoo, a botanical garden, and a number of long, intersecting walks. Such gardens also underwent a gradual change in Germany and France. The Englischer Garten, in what were then the outskirts of Munich, was set in a wooded area with plenty of shrubs and plants, and contained a pagoda, an amphitheatre, and a temple. Proof of how highly the Volks-garten (the people's garden) was valued is clear from the 1818 scheme for the reorganization of the Berlin zoo, or Tiergarten, by P. J. Lenne. Parks were being turned into places where the wonders of nature could be appreciated, and where natural science and beauty could be observed at close quarters. This function mirrored that of the great botanical gardens of Europe, which were founded for just such a purpose. The role of these institutions was underlined by their buildings, commissioned to facilitate the study and cultivation of plants. Richard Turner and Decimus Burton's Palm House at Kew Gardens, the Jardin d'Hiver on the Champs Elysees, and the park surrounding the rebuilt Crystal Palace at Sydenham all contributed to the perception and acceptance of the public park as part of the wider green spaces, considered indispensable amenities of a great metropolis.

G. Scoppa, Il Real Passaggio di Chiaia, early 19th century gouache.

 Often offering a range of special facilities, the promenade by the
sea - such as this one in Naples - was a typical 19th-century setting for holiday relaxation.

P.D. Raulino, la passeggiata sui pastioni 1824, drawing, Museen der Stadt.

Vienna At the end of this tree-lined avenue in Vienna is a house converted from the old city ramparts.





Although the conception of the garden as a setting for the observation of nature and its laws was long-established, it was in the 19th century that this idea was applied widely. Gardens were to be used to collate and disseminate knowledge of the natural world: plants were catalogued and rocks, minerals, and animals were put on show. Zoological gardens, where animals were kept, studied, and exhibited to the public, were often sited next to botanical gardens, creating an experience that combined both pleasure and instruction. Collections of tropical plants and palms were contained in hothouses, where
it was possible to recreate the microclimates suitable for the propagation or exotic species. These buildings were characterized by large areas of plate glass, with traditional wooden structures progressively replaced with iron constructions. The popularity of botanical gardens and zoos spread rapidly throughout Europe, along with institutions for teaching and research into agriculture and the natural sciences. In I84O. Queen Victoria gave the botanic gardens at Kew to the nation, while the Jardin des Plantes in Paris provided plants and flowers for municipal use. The Leopold park and zoo in Brussels opened in 1851, and in Naples, the fashion was for English-style landscaped gardens alternated with areas of botanic garden.



Regent's Park Zoological Gardens, London, 1835.

 The 19th-century public garden provided both education and recreation for
those who visited. The concept of the zoo with its excellent prototype
in London, reflects the positive, comparative thinking of the time.



Richard Turner and Decimus Burton, Palm House, Kew Gardens, London, 1844-48.

 This articulated structure, with its huge, vaulted central pavilion is one
of the most famous metal greenhouses of the early Victorian age.







From the late 18th century onwards, a number of pleasure gardens attracted people to the outskirts of London, not only for the enjoyment of nature, the countrified scenery, and the flora and fauna, but also for the many amusements provided: plays, dancing, concerts, acrobatics, and juggling displays. London's Vauxhall Gardens, the oldest and most famous pleasure gardens, could only be reached at first by taking a boat across the River Thames. Once there, visitors could stroll among particularly sweet-smelling plants and orchards of fruit trees, and take the waters at the medicinal springs. Charles Dickens described the pleasures of the experience in "Vauxhall Gardens by Day" from Sketches by Boz: "We loved to wander among these illuminated groves... The temples and saloons and cosmoramas and fountains glittered and sparkled before our eyes; the beauty of the lady singers and the elegant deportment of the gentlemen, captivated our hearts; a few hundred thousand of additional lamps dazzled our senses; a bowl or two of punch bewildered our brains; and we were happy."


Cremorne Gardens, London, 1864.

 Follies or small garden pavilions, were an essential ingredient of the 19th-century pleasure garden.



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