Much as in architecture, music and theatre, we can guess that the art of the Commonwealth develops in a similar fashion as in our timeline, but influenced in several ways by the egalitarian structure of its society and politics.
A key difference is that all forms of art, both public and private, are much less about the self-aggrandisement and self-importance of the rich – for the simple reason that there areno such explicit separations in Commonwealth culture. Instead, art becomes a means of visual-expression for everyone. Portraiture is much more widely spread in social terms, for example, and large public portraits tend to be of groups rather than individuals, and often – particularly before photography becomes easily available – of socially-relevant ‘events of record’ such as weddings. The subjects of portraiture are also a much more even mix of men and women, and also of young and old alike, again reflecting the social-dynamics of the culture.
Styles and materials for art and sculpture are likewise much more varied in our timeline. Making-art, like making-music, is a socially-recognised and socially-supported skill, and people in general had more leisure-time available to them, beyond just the pressures of subsistence – hence more capability and competence for art in general. We would expect to see large amounts of ‘primitive-art’, of decoration of shared-spaces, and more usage of readily-available materials such as bone (scrimshaw), solid-wood (sculpture and carving), willow and other wood-strands (wattle-weaving, wattle-sculpture), plaster (pargetting) and small-stones (mosaic).
As in our timeline, distinct styles of art do develop for different social-groups. In cities or large towns, there would be large artworks commemorating grand social events such as festivals or hospital-openings, with a group-portrait that might include dozens or hundreds of identifiable people. In the country, these might take be more intimate, at a more human scale – such as can be seen in our timeline, for example, in the social sculptures in small towns and villages in rural Portugal. Note, though, that there is no distinction between social-art and ‘proper’ art, as there is in our own timeline – instead, art is just something that people create because they choose to do so.
Last Update: August 28, 2017