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Victorian Style Train Station

19 January 2009 No Comment

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A Victorian style painting of a train station can tell a lot about the world during a specific time period such as what the people in this painting are doing, where they are going, and what they are thinking. I first came across this painting while taking a course in graphic design as we were discussing the Victorian era that week.  This painting can tell someone a lot about the past such as what is the clothing style of the social status of the 19th century people.

You can tell a lot about the style of the Victorian era by the clothes, with its bright, vibrant colors for the women and well tailored suits with their stiff top hats for the men.  For the poor and middle class it is a combination of drab colors and patches stitched in to cover the tears of time.  Then there is the 19th century style clothing of children, such as the short yet elegant blue outfit one boy wears, and that red ribbon in that girl’s white hat.  Clothes define a person and usually it is the first thing a person who judges character above all else, and then consider if interacting with that person would be a good thing.  Although style is the first thing people observing art look at, usually the next thing an art person would look at is their social status.

In this painting that one would observe, shows that the rich seem to take a more prominent role compared to the lower and middle classes as they board that train to wherever it may go.  This would mean that someone would have to look at each individual person in order to find out what their status is in life.  The mixture of activity in this painting makes it seem more alive such as the mother kissing her child, the train station workers loading baggage, and even the man putting a lease on his dog.  So regardless of the social status of people in this painting their roles in life could be that of a coal miner, a political leader, and even a teacher of children.  Every individual role is helping a revolution take place that will change the world as the days, months, and even years go by.

Though the Industrial Revolution started in many, small stages across the world, it would take a Civil War to begin the final push of this revolution.  Yet this painting lacks the imagination that a train station would possess during that Industrial Revolution.  It would make one believe that one train station cannot define this revolution, but as an observer it is expected that we would look outside the painting and wonder what else is there.  A prime example would be the men in those tailored suits as they could be running a factory hundreds of miles away.  Such as the steel mills of Pennsylvania, the oil fields of Texas, and even the gold mines of California and Nevada.  This was a great revolution and in order to appreciate it now, someone needs to look to the past to see the blood and sweat that was use in order for a new nation to survive.
Even though this painting has no real meaning to my observations, it does help to see a past that I only read in history books or listen to the stories of those who were there.  However, we are observing the artist’s perception of what he or she saw as they painted this scene of a train station and the melting pot of lives that are boarding it.

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