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The Netherlands
The defeat of Napoleon (1815) early in the 19th century led to the brief union of the northern
and southern regions to form the Kingdom of the Netherlands. This union was divided again
when in 1830 the southern regions broke away to form Belgium. The art of Belgium during this
time was somewhat revived with the support of the Belgian government, in the spirit of
nationalism.
This is seen in the Romantic paintings of Gustav Wappers, one of the most famous Belgian
artists of the period. Impressionism and Post-impressionism both passed through Belgium, but it
was the work of a Symbolist artist James Ensor who has received the most recognition. His
work bears elements of the Surrealism that was to develop in the following century.
Dutch art likewise saw a revival during this century, although nothing on the scale of previous
centuries.
The dominant force in the 19th century Dutch artwork was The Hague School, which, influenced
by the golden age of the 17th century, largely produced painted seascapes and landscapes,
church interiors and street and town scenes.
The main artists include Jozef Israëls, the Maris brothers, Anton Mauve, and Hendrick Willem
Mesdag.
The two most famous Dutch artists were Johan Barthold Jongkind and Vincent van Gogh, both
of whom lived and worked in France.
Poland
The political and military paintings of Polish painter Jan Matejko reflect the growth of
nationalism in Poland and Europe during this period. Matejko’s concern was with promoting
history and intensifying the patriotic feelings within the Polish people. This is demonstrated in
the publication of his illustrated album Ubiory w Polsce (Clothing in Poland). Following the
defeats in Poland, Mateyko abandoned his religious paintings and focussed solely on the
historical subject. Matejko’s concern was not with presenting historical fact but with creating a
mixture of historical and philosophical ideas with which to promote nationalist emotions. In effect
he used history as a present day social function. Despite this it is a testament to the impact of
Matejko’s vision of Polish history, that the challenge faced by scientists and historians of
replacing it in the eyes of the people remains an issue even today.
Portugal
19th century Portuguese art was influenced by the Romantic, Naturalist, and Realist
movements of Paris. Painters like Columbano, Henrique Pousão and Silva Porto brought a
fresh approach from the academic art of previous centuries. Predominant themes of the
naturalists included rural and marine landscapes, rural customs, urban life and Bourgeois
portraiture.
The greatest of this new wave of artists was Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro, a Portuguese realist
painter who specialised in portraiture. Although the influence of Courbet, Manet and Degas are
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