chapter  2
30 Pages

Art districts in the visual culture of the Enlightenment and Romanticism

ByJ. Pedro Lorente

The history of art became a newly developing academic discipline throughout the nineteenth century, not only in universities and other centres of high education but also in many art museums, increasingly staging their displays according to art-historical discourses. Outside them, the decoration of their facades and some monuments erected in public spaces nearby somehow proclaimed similar professional values. While statues formerly erected in squares and streets used to exalt monarchs, war heroes and saints, consonant with traditional moral hierarchies, little by little scientists and artists were also honoured by means of stone or bronze effigies placed in some public areas. Seville's statue of Murillo in the garden square in front of the Fine Arts Museum constituted a major innovation in the interaction between museums and their urban background. A special comment must be made about the interesting design of the statue portraying Murillo.