Egypt fascinated the West in the 19th and 20th centuries. Archeology was at times practiced in questionable ways. The British Museum and the Egyptian Museum of Berlin alone have twice the number of artifacts compared with that of the one in Cairo. Mummies were shipped abroad to fulfill the most peculiar needs: tons of mummified cats were ground to dust for use as fertilizer – simply because no other use could be thought of.
The most fashionable disease of the 19th century was Hysteria: it presented an adequate diagnosis for nearly every ailment of the female gender. Studying, reading novels, cultured conversations, celibacy, wild imagination, excessive sunlight, extreme temperatures, fragrances, or particular food stuffs such as truffles, vanilla or strawberries were argued to increase the chances of a woman developing Hysteria. The Salpêtrière hospital in Paris hosted displays of female Hysteria with the help of patients suffering from the condition. The audiences consisted not only of students and medical professionals but also authors, press, actors and artists.
Our work is a pastiche of the André Brouillet painting Une leçon clinique à la Salpêtrière (1887).
Queen Victoria’s (1837-1901) interest toward Scotland made the Scottish Highlands a fashionable tourist attraction. Apart from the mountainous landscape, the Scottish Highlands fascinated many visitors with its peace and quiet – despite being largely the result of 'cleansings' where natives were forced to relocate to cities, the coastside, and even abroad.
At the turn of the century the hunting of big game was a popular sport among the upper classes. Today the number of polar bears is estimated to be around 20,000 to 25,000, making them an endangered species. The melting of glaciers and the deterioration of other polar bear habitat is a dire threat to their existence. Nevertheless, even today in Canada it is possible to go to a ten-day hunting trip to give chase to polar bears.
In 19th century Helsinki prostitution was an integral part of the amusements enjoyed by its upper-class menfolk. These men oftentimes frequented the higher-end brothels. One out of one hundred people in Helsinki were classified as prostitutes.
An adaptation of a photograph taken in the 1880s of the Parisian art school Académie Julian’s students, when artist Akseli Gallén-Kallela studied there. Atelieri O. Haapala's picture has been taken in Gallén-Kallela's atelier, built in 1913, called Tarvaspää, which currently houses a museum.
The original photograph can be found on the Gallén-Kallela-museum’s Flickr-account.
Mrs. Haapala and Mr. Schweinstein try their hand at a popular sport which has only recently been sanctioned as an Olympic discipline at the Paris Olympic Games of 1900. The pair observed an obscure painter sketching a strange still life at the margin of the park but decided to ignore him.
What's happening at the background? See what Hugo Simberg is painting.
In the mid-1800s Britain wanted to begin trade relations with China in order to tap into its tea and silk wares. China, however, only accepted silver as payment. Refusing such a deal, the British offered the Chinese opium which was produced in abundance in their neighboring colony of India. A deal was struck but to the misfortune of the Chinese as opium addiction and abuse began to spread like wildfire as a consequence. In the early 1900s Westerners used opium recreationally and as a mild sedative for small children.
At the turn of the century tuberculosis was a somewhat romanticized disease which consumed not only poets and authors but also protagonists thereof. Cure was to be found in the elevated and arid regions of Switzerland and Italy.