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The Art of Magic: British Depictions of the Occult in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries

Denman, Alexandra (2018) The Art of Magic: British Depictions of the Occult in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

In 2013, Witches and Wicked Bodies was the first major British exhibition with a focus on images of witches and witchcraft in art and visual culture, with a timeline spanning from the Renaissance period to the early twenty- first century, but one era was sorely neglected - only two of the impressive number of images made in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were included. The first aim of this thesis is, therefore, to draw attention to the occult imagery in British artworks created between 1849 and the end of the First World War, providing new perspectives on the works of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Frederick Sandys, Simeon Solomon, Edward Burne-Jones, Evelyn De Morgan, and John William Waterhouse. Additionally, this thesis addresses the prevalence of images of witchcraft, magico-religious ritual, and spiritualist practice (and the real-life continuation of such practices) in an era often characterised by scientific and industrial revolution, and tensions between the ‘rational’ and the ‘irrational’. As implied by the title, with the crux of the argument resting on the emphasis of a close examination between the connection between the occult and the arts, with both practices being forms of expression that rely on creativity.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > History of Art (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.749547
Depositing User: Ms Alexandra Denman
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2018 12:07
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2020 13:03
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/21251

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