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Opulence Hurling Towards Catastrophe: The Art of the Edwardian Era08:50
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Laura Knight, Flying the Kite, 1910, oil on canvas, South African National Gallery, Cape Town
Laura Knight, Flying the Kite, 1910, oil on canvas, South African National Gallery, Cape Town

So Downton Abbey is a modern fantasy of pre-World War I Britain. A sanitized version of the dreamy alternative reality occupied by the British Aristocracy, before that dream was shattered by the reality and horrors of the Great War. In other words, Downton Abbey is a kind of pop art.

But Sebastian Smee tells us that in order to better understand the world before 1914, it's best to look at the real visual art coming out of Britain at the time, much of which is now on exhibit at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut.

Guest

Sebastian Smee, Art Critic, Boston Globe

Experience

Edwardian Opulence: British Art at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century at the Yale Center for British Art

Gallery

This segment aired on March 28, 2013.

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