What Was the Effect of Photography on Painting in the Nineteenth Century

1500 Words Feb 24th, 2009 6 Pages
What was the effect of photography on painting in the nineteenth century? The photograph was developed in 1839 simultaneously in England and France by Talbot and Daguerre. That is the technique of chemically fixing of an image produced by exposure to rays of sun. William Fox Talbot was an English scholar and scientist who developed the negative and positive process. He used sensitive paper soaked in sodium hyposulphite called calotype. This became the basis for all subsequent photography. Photography joined the art-world after a long struggle. Although early photography such as Daguerreotype and Calotype appeared by the mid 19th-century, photographs only began to be displayed in art galleries and museums only in the early 20th century. …show more content…
Some kinds of painting did disappear after 1839. Many portrait miniaturists, for example, made a successful transition to portrait photography because portrait painting was seriously undermined by photography. This was because the process of photography was instant, cheap compared to painting and could capture a likeness very easily. The implications of photography also extended to the documentary of past events or recent news known as history painting. Photography can only partly explain the shift in interest from large, complex images drawing on biblical, or historical sources, to traditionally ‘lesser’, more immediately accessible aspects such as genre, still life, and landscape. But the possibility of seeing a photograph, rather than a painting of the queen of England, or Niagara Falls, even if in engraved reproduction, inevitably undermined painting's claim to historical and documentary authority. Instead, painters and the public began to seek other qualities in painting, those that early photographs lacked: sensuous colour, spontaneity, and a reflection of what the poet and critic Charles Baudelaire called ‘the heroism of modern life’, a way of making ‘modern’ experience—including trains, gaslight, department stores, and uncertainties about the identities of other people—seem significant and worthy of painting.

By the late 19th century, many painters were using the camera as a tool. Its most obvious application was

Related Documents