Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Heroic History

The Expulsion of the Danes from Manchester 910 AD (1879-93) by the English painter Ford Maddox Brown (1821-1893).

This is a fresco in the Manchester Town Hall. These “illustrations” of great events of the own history were very popular in the 19th century. As frescos in public buildings they gave the illusion of a long important history. Manchester Town Hall is a Victorian-era Neo-gothic building which only pretends to be medieval underlines this circumstance.

It’s interesting that Maddox Brown doesn’t pretend to be realistic, he presented a kind of naïve comic strip. Nice is the archer who seems to be taken from an Italian renaissance painting.

1 comment:

  1. As clearly visible frescos, they might well have given the town hall an illusion of a long and important history *nod*. I suppose if it was otherwise, the decision makers regarding the town hall wouldn't have bothered commissioning the fresco.

    But how wonderful that ordinary people, those who might not think of going to a gallery, would have the pleasure of a Maddox Brown fresco in the centre of town. I love it.

    It reminds me of Siena's town hall. The city's governors used to meet in the Council Room, looking at Ambrogio Lorenzetti's 1330s frescoes (called Allegories of Good and Bad Government).