This list came out of
a research project, in which I investigated the connections between
visual art and literary art in the work of the Brontes. Many of
these sources have more information than the amount I explained; my
annotations focus solely on what was mentioned as far as art (both
visual and literary) is concerned.
Christine. “Art and Artists
in Charlotte Bronte's Juvenilia.” Bronte
v. 20 issue 4, 1991, p. 177-204.
investigates Charlotte Bronte’s experiences with art to show that Charlotte’s
with visual art helped her to develop detailed pictorial descriptions
writing. Alexander explains that Charlotte was
with the art of the times and art criticism via publications like Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine and
various Annuals. She also learned art
herself by copying engravings of other artists’ works.
The importance of Romantic ideas about Nature
and the picturesque, spread by authors like Wordsworth and Scott, also
shape Charlotte’s ideas about how to view and portray her surroundings.
- Alexander, Christine
and Jane Sellars. The
Art of the
NY: Cambridge University
and Sellars explain how the Brontes learned their
artistic skills and record the various artistic influences on the
siblings. They give an in-depth analysis
sibling’s experiences in art, and also provide an extensive catalog of
Bronte’s pieces of art.
- Apter, T.E. “Romanticism and Romantic Love in Wuthering Heights.” The
Art of Emily Bronte. Ed. Anne
Smith. London: Vision
suggests that Nature is plotted against society in Wuthering Heights. The author also suggests that the Romantic
love between Heathcliff and Cathy is generated by their destructive
their love is so passionate to the point of selfishness, they create
destructive atmosphere which at once attaches and separates them. In Wuthering Heights, passion is not about an
attractive longing for another, but about something much more
willingness to destroy oneself in a quest for love.
Death is the only way for Heathcliff and
Cathy to be together in peace—the world cannot contain their passion.
- Chitham, Edward. “Religion, Nature and
Art in the Work of
Anne Bronte.” Bronte Society
Transactions, v. 24 issue 2,
1999, p. 129-45.
Chitham makes a possible connection
between the Anne
Bronte and Caspar David Friedrich as an influence on her paintings,
influencing her in the idea of the unity between Nature and God. In The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne
uses visual art to depict Helen's feelings.
Chitham explains that Anne's purpose in art was to "benefit"
her readers as well as amuse them.
Chitham also suggests that Anne was more interested in depicting
realistic story than her sister, Emily.
- Ford, Boris. “Wuthering
Heights.” A Centre of Excellence:
Essays Presented to Seymour
Betsky. Amsterdam: Rodopi,
uses natural imagery in Wuthering
Heathcliff. These descriptions further
the idea of the non-human element of Heathcliff. Ford’s
point is that the relationship
between Cathy and Heathcliff is very non-personal; their relationship
dependent on being close to one another.
- Frawley, Maria. Anne
Bronte. London: Twayne
Anne tried to
remain true to reality when she represented her characters. Along with truthful characters, she also
wanted to convey lessons in her writings.
However, it was important that her audience discover the lesson
works for themselves.
The sisters were instructed in art, and
were fascinated by
engravings and paintings. While they
were able to imagine designs for their own artwork, they were simply
skilled enough to realize such ideas.
- Jack, Ian. “Physiognomy,
Phrenology and Characterisation
in the Novels of Charlotte
Bronte.” Bronte Society
Transactions, v. 15 isssue 80, 1970. p. 377-91.
did not succeed in visual art, she did so in literary art.
Ian suggests that Charlotte's
interest in physiognomy and
phrenology helped her to represent her characters physically and
suggests that truth was more important to Charlotte than artistic
expression. She was more interested in
depicting an emotional truth than in refining her artistic technique. She also expresses a revulsion to copying in
literature as well as painting; unless
she is original, she should not write or paint.
- Kromm, Jane. “Visual
Culture and the Scopic Custom in Jane
Eyre and Villette.” Victorian
Literature and Culture, v. 26 issue 2,
1998. p. 369-94
learns art by copying, like most women of the day.
Kromm suggests that Lucy's view of good art
is that art should reveal the true nature of the object, rather than
express that nature through “transcendent” art, like allegory. Also, Kromm points out that the three
paintings that Mr. Rochester studies in Jane Eyre are reminiscent of
Bewick and John Martin.
- Morse, Deborah
Denenholz. “‘I speak of those I do
know’: Witnessing as Radical Gesture in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.” New
Approaches to the Literary Art of Anne Bronte. Ed. Julie Nash and Barbara A. Suess. Burlington Vermont:
2001. p. 103-126.
Art is Helen's means of escape
husband and his friends—she even uses a palette knife to defend herself
Hargrave. Helen, as an artist, is
unconventional, but Anne justifies Helen's unconventionality by making
her a mother whose
concern is her son; she will sacrifice convention in order to protect
him. Helen's attraction to Huntingdon was
by the fact that he represented to her the freedom of Romanticism. When Helen realizes that her husband is the
only one who can save himself, her artwork reflects the change of
paintings go from portraying the ideal to the realistic.
The ideal is deceptive, as seen when Helen's naive
views of Huntingdon are rudely contradicted in his profligate behavior. Nature also becomes something to dread, not
something to be romanticized.
- Reynolds, Joshua. Discourses
on Art. Ed. Robert R. Wark. New Haven: Yale
purpose of art is to convey something moral or ethical.
This end is obtained by portraying beauty,
where beauty is the ideal depiction of an object. By
depicting the Ideal, viewers will be able
to raise their thoughts to a higher level, therefore making them more
and hopefully, virtuous. Wark explains
that Reynold's ideas which were considered more Romantic included: 1) connections between a piece of art and
those of the great Masters would make the art appear greater in the
eye, 2) his assertion that art must appeal to the imagination, and 3)
openness to different styles of art. Wark
also explains that Reynolds was strongly influenced by the classicism
Age of Reason, but reconciled the reason of that period with the
the Romantic period by judging imagination to be a type of
Truth in art is accomplished by
capturing the essence of the
scene, whereas imitation merely captures the physical nature of the
scene. Ruskin believes imagination to
consist of all
our random memories of what we have seen and experienced, combined in
create "good drawings or great thoughts." The
first end of art is the representation of
facts; the second is the representation of thoughts; the second is more
important, but cannot be reached without achieving the first.
Romanticism was characterized by an
acceptance of more than
just the Classical and Renaissance artists; Romantics also took into
the art of other regions and time periods, like the Middle Ages and
Romanticism was compliant with women's thoughts as it focused on
emotion, and intuition—qualities associated with women.
- Wills, Jack C. “The
Shrine of Truth: An Approach to the Works
Bronte.” Bronte Society Transactions, v. 15 issue 5, 1970. p. 392-399.
Charlotte's artistic views in literature
were Romantic in that they were based on the idea that art should evoke
soul and that art was inspired in the artist by something divine. Imagination and creativity, according to Charlotte, were
always within the artist's control.
Because imagination was not controllable, truths dictated by
could not be altered, even if those truths were painful.