“…the idea of the faceless Imperson…”

In Robert Harbison’s Eccentric Spaces book, the author spends considerable time addressing the impersonal nature of technology and the Age of the Machine. In chapter 3, Harbison waxes eloquently about technology concealing “a powerful dream, the dream of not being like anything, of being nothing created”. Harbison pivots quickly to compare two paintings of London and Paris train stations within the context of the Industrial Revolution and the passengers/commuters allure as they confront the new spectacle of cast iron superstructure towering overhead with glass ceiling bathing the vast interiors with the natural light of day.

The first painting is by William Powell Frith’s Paddington Station, 1862. Harbison states that Frith “attends to passengers…he crowds the canvas with separate bits…the whole journey of life conceived as a pageant, an elevating spectacle…” The second painting Harbison uses in his investigation of the technology and machine of the mid-19th century is Monet’s Gare Saint-Lazare, 1877…a series of images Monet records/document the comings and goings of passengers/commuters from the Normandy region northwest of Paris. Saint-Lazare first opened in 1837 and is the second-largest station in Paris, after the Gare du Nord. Regarding Monet’s handling of the Gare Saint-Lazare, Harbison emphasizes the artist’s penchant “to outlines, to the architecture of the experience…scenes that are above eye level, in the magical smoke suspended in its arbitrariness forever, part of an atmosphere that gets more opaline and palpable as we approach the soft angle of the roof, a refined experience of densities.” Harbison concludes that Frith “humanizes the scene by pretending that social life can continue there as in a drawing-room, Monet to cull off the building as an image of the capacious tranquil mind…”

What are your thoughts on Harbison’s notion that technology during the latter part of the 19th century was impregnated with “the idea of the faceless Imperson…a dehumanization”?

William Powell Frith, RA, Paddington Station, 1862
Claude Monet, Gare Saint-Lazare, 1877

Published by: roberttracyphd

Academic professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. I teach theory courses in Art and Architecture History. In addition, I also curate exhibitions on campus as well as in other venues nationally and internationally.

21 Comments

21 thoughts on ““…the idea of the faceless Imperson…””

  1. I believe that Harbison’s connection between technology and impersonal influences is a valid observation. In the first painting by William Powell Frith, we see a station full of people with a vast array of emotion; there is a lot of movement occurring in this painting and all subjects are interacting in some form, depicting the mutual stress and excitement that came with witnessing the wonders of technology and machinery. On the other hand, Claude Monet’s painting depicts a more tranquil, somber side of technology that came with the Industrial Revolution, putting a focus on the great architecture of the station being consumed by the smoke clouds coming from the trains. The difference mentioned between these two paintings essentially imply that this was a turning point in which people had a much greater focus in the experience of new technology, leading to a more overwhelming environment that may have been stressful for commuters. However, although Monet’s painting depicts a more somber experience in a station, one could also argue that new technology does not necessarily take away from the humanization that comes with creating an architecture that is meant to cater to the traveling needs of the public. As seen by the Moynihan Train Hall expansion, every aspect that went into creating such an advanced piece of architecture kept the commuters emotions in mind, with the hope that it would bring civilians together and create a more welcoming, hopeful environment for commuters to enjoy. For this reason, there is truth in how technology in the 19th century could have developed a turn in dehumanizing the traveling experience due to the overwhelming nature that comes with experiencing new technology, however, it also led to a future in which we are now able to humanize our spaces and create a more subtle, enjoyable experience for everyone.

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  2. I see that Robert Harbison is a clear retractor of technology, or at least what he refers to by this term as the architecture of the mid-19th century, that of iron and glass. You just have to see the very name of chapter 3 of his book Eccentric Spaces, “Nightmares of Iron and Glass: Machines”, a declaration of intent. Is it fair or unfair with this approach or treatment towards this advance that meant a great change in the society of that time?

    Let us further analyze Harbison’s position with these two works. They have not been lightly selected by the author, in fact they hide many details that emphasize this rejection. In William Powell Frith’s painting, two areas can be distinguished: the central part upwards, and the central part downwards. The upper part is the technology, the inhuman. This is static, cold (in fact it has no color, it is monochromatic), inorganic, even the row of endings of the beams (which point downwards) can look like a predator’s teeth. It lacks all life. While on the contrary, the lower part is the human part. It is cheerful, organic, full of color, dynamic. There are dogs and children playing, even a mother kissing her son … she is full of life. The two parts are in contrast, which one are we left with? obviously with the one below. The other work, Monet’s is even more direct, the entire metal and glass structure of the building is crossed out, denied, as the steam rises, the movement (steam, water, life) denies, it is above what inorganic, of the steel.

    Well, if normally all technology implies a change, the use (and domination) of iron and glass in the society of that time supposed a change even more pronounced than normal. This is something that Harbison seems to ignore. Everything human that technology brought. I am going to develop this with the two main changes that the mastery of these materials brought, the architecture (of which he refers in the book) and the born of the train.
    To comment on the advancement in humanity that the train brought, thousands of advantages could be listed and many of them “humanizing”, great distances could be covered in a short time, visits to loved ones, new horizons, dreams … The intercommunication inherently implies humanization.
    The second, architecture. Until then the structures were made of stone, which meant less height, little space for windows, heavy, difficult and slow constructions. The handling of iron in the 19th century brought the use of more sophisticated and robust structures; those thick stone walls were no longer necessary, the large windows could begin to be used (hence the large crystals), this brought more light to the interior of constructions, The Light ! that so essential and humane.
    In the book, he quotes The Crystal Palace. In Madrid, in the Retiro Park even today there is one from that time, it is not the one he cites in the book but very similar and contemporary. I have visited it numerous times in my life (I am a native of Madrid), and walking through it is a great experience for the soul, in fact being in the middle of a park and in front of a lake, it interacts with nature. It is the complete opposite of dehumanized.
    Finally I will say, the paper is a single material, a de-humanized “technology”, but is there nothing more warm and human than a letter from a loved one?

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  3. I believe that Robert Harbison is being a little too harsh on the idea that technology is an evil thing that must be done away with. He keeps pushing the idea that technology results in a somber and humanless world, and this idea of his seems to go unchanged. To be fair though, back during the days of the industrial revolutions, the new technological advancements did result in like, tons of smokes and fumes, alongside awful work environments and the like. Homes became horribly unlivable, and despite the new cool things that were supposed to be brought to life there was a lot of negatives. This idea is demonstrated perfectly in Claude Monet’s piece. In it, the focus is the train system, and how it affects the surrounding area. You can prominently see the smoke I mentioned earlier spreading all over and taking up a large portion of the piece. The piece also has cool colors, mostly darker and washed out blues and grays. It does give off a really somber look. It shows a world where technology has replaced humanity. In contrast, William Powell Frith’s work is described to be an example of humans living alongside the new technologies. However, Harbison describes this has a false hope type of thing. That Frith’s work is an attempt to show what truly can’t exist. A world where human life and technology live alongside each other. To be honest, while technological advancements have brought us plenty of hope, like the perseverance rover landing on Mars recently, the more and more advanced technology goes, there does seem to be the notion that technology will ultimately result in a dehumanized world.

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  4. Referring to what Robert Harbison is mentioning about how dehumanization is part of technology becoming popular as time goes on is a very reasonable point. I believe however with technology growing at a nonstop pace doesn’t necessarily mean that technology is such a terrible thing to have within our lives. Looking at the two paintings we can definitely see how people can grow apart as time goes, in terms of interaction and socializing while waiting on the next train to arrive. As we can examine Frith’s before things started to advance in the mid 19 century, people seemed to be anxious, excited, and in a rush along trying to find help from where they need to go. Frith does an excellent job of how people were very animated when at the train station much like how airports were too. Now, looking at Monet’s piece we can see how much has changed within such little time with human interaction and how excited people used to be. Obviously, with the change in time, the way we interact would surely change and Monet depicts in a great fashion and I found that these two paintings can strongly relate to how people are nowadays compared to 20-30 years ago. Overall, I believe that technology will make society grow apart even more as time goes and that is unfortunate. but that is why we need to make the best of our lives right now.

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  5. Harbison’s statement about “the idea of the faceless Imperson…a dehumanization” of technology during the 19th Century makes me think about the design or construction of all other technologies before and after that could be compared as “more” human; what exactly constitutes are more-human environment, or for that matter, a less-human environment. The implication is that the materials used are responsible-for or contribute-to the dehumanization that was/is commonly felt by humans inside an iron-wrought environment (such as a train station like St. Lazare), versus the more friendly or humanizing use of cleaner and lighter materials in contemporary constructions of similar places (like Moynihan Train Hall). What exactly is making the people that use these train station more or less depressed/more or less hopeful? I think that there are underlying factors of forced commuting and the pressures of maintaining a job to be able to pay for living expenses that also contribute to the feelings of hope/depression that can be associated with a public space like a train station, and I wonder what else was going on economically in areas of industrialization where train stations were common in the 1800s; were working conditions less favorable for those commuting by train in the 1800s versus commuters of various time periods in America in the 1900s that enjoyed their commutes more, and thus contributed to the experience of the commute beyond the materials of the space’s construction? Plus, who has the privilege of focusing on architecture as the most problematic part of their life (mainly white folks)? People of color’s experiences in these spaces likely wouldn’t be significantly improved beyond the time they spend in the space, and even while in these spaces they would probably feel unsafe due to discrimination or distracted from enjoying the beauty of the building by more serious and pressing matters at home (paying bills on time, being able to afford food, etc.). I’m not sure if art is able to bring a more humanized feeling to any public space that centers around the oppressive logic of Capitalism, but the goal of some designers is to gloss over the dehumanization of wage slavery and inequitable futures for workers by decorating spaces with nice things to look at. A function of art can be to inspire and transform the way people think, but are viewers afforded the time to stop and ponder in a public space that revolves around moving people through as quickly as possible to maintain Capitalism’s inhuman expectation and pace of workers? I’m willing to wager that most people would enjoy having the time to stop and smell the roses, but that also it is a luxury of time that most people cannot afford.

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  6. I think that Harbison saw technology as such a malicious concept because it was still relatively new in the latter part of the 19th century. Looking at it now in the present, it seems a little extreme that he refers to technology as a sort of dehumanization of society, a sort of faceless evil.
    The two paintings he chose couldn’t have contrasted each other even more, despite having a similar setting. The first painting by William Firth is so lively, full of movement and light. Everyone in the painting seems to be occupied with something. The main focus of this painting are the passengers riding the train, which is evident from the precise detail in each person’s face and clothes. On the other hand, the second painting is gloomy and a little more hazy. We only see a couple people in the painting and they seem to blend in the background. The main focus of this painting is the train station itself, with the two massive trains blowing ethereal smoke into the air. We can also clearly see the architecture of the station. The pillars are holding up a massive roof, and the faded buildings in the background.
    Technology is meant to make our lives easier, but sometimes it may have unwanted repercussions. For instance, it could take away jobs from people and it could even produce waste in the environment, like the smoke from the trains. One could see that Harbinson has a point with how it sometimes dehumanizes people, especially nowadays with social media. However, I truly do believe that technology offers a lot more good in our lives than ramifications.

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  7. Anytime something new and revolutionary is created, there is always a reluctance to partake in it because everyone will always be afraid of change. There will always be criticisms to change because whether or not we like to admit it, change and evolution is scary.

    Personally, I believe that Harbison’s interpretations and attitudes about technology in the latter part of the 19th century are quite valid although I don’t think I would say I agree with him. I can definitely see where he may have been coming from in his interpretations, especially because of the stark differences in these paintings. We see in Frith’s piece a station beaming with life, movement, and conversation while Monet’s appears more somber and lonely. However, I also think that this comparison of his might have been a very carefully picked comparison of pieces that he chose just to suit his interpretations of the time. The way that Monet’s painting depicts life and human interaction is not the end-all-be-all of the later parts of the 19th century. People still talked to each other, there was still a great amount of human interaction and liveliness in the world unlike how people are conveyed in the Monet painting.

    The Age of the Machine was definitely the start of something new. We began to advance, and since then have never looked back and never will look back as technology continues to advance more and more. For this reason, I can see how Harbison’s statements are valid, because essentially the late 1800’s was the beginning of what would eventually lead us to where we are now in terms of technological advancements. If he were to make this same statement in regards to life today, I would wholeheartedly agree. However making these statements about life in the late 1800’s seems a bit far-fetched because that era was just the tip of the iceberg for how technology could make life seem faceless and filled with dehumanization.

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  8. With Claude Monet’s painting, it quite literally is dehumanization as the focus of the painting is of the trains while in William Powell Frith’s painting it is packed with many humans in the train station. I think at this time, people preferred painting portraits of their clients as it was more highly commissioned. In the art world, old fashion ideas were still heavily favored than new ones that wanted to experiment with painting landscapes, ordinary objects, or something of the imagination. With William Powell Frith’s painting, there certainly is more going on in that scene as we see the implied movement of people rushing through, a mother kissing her child goodbye, a man picking his things off of the ground, a woman with her dog waiting for their ride, and children trying to weave through the crowd. There is so much going on in this one painting as it shows the everyday routine at Paddington Station. With Claude Monet’s painting, there may not be as much energy, but there is a nice sense of color usage here. There is a dominant usage of blue here without it being overwhelming. There is blue present from the smoke of the train, highlights in the trains themselves, the sky, the outline for the structure and buildings, a faint hint of it on the railways, and on the uniforms of the workers there. It may seem that Claude Monet wanted to use the color blue and run with it, but I want to argue that using this blue was to humanize the painting with, not the imagery, but with the tone. The painting is kind of gloomy looking. You can tell it is not night time as the train’s lights are not turned on in the front. No lights are on in the hanging lights either. This was Claude Monet’s way of showing how it can be in train station needing to use it everyday; getting stuck in an old routine most likely for work that you end up going there a little too often for one’s liking.
    I think that painting something that doesn’t focus on humans isn’t dehumanizing unless you mean in it the literal sense concerning the imagery. There are different ways to portray humans and emotions without needing to paint literal people in the process.

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  9. Taking a look at both paintings, I can understand what Harbison is trying to say with technology in the 19th century has made an idea for faceless figures, or so “dehumanizing” them. Monet’s painting definitely has less defined details and more textures that make up his forms, but still gets the point through with people being present in his painting. Unlike Frith’s painting, his definitely has much more defined details to capture every face and their expression to be able to know each story of all these people. It’s sort of an interesting concept to be able to see the difference in style in age of these arts when things become more advanced throughout the years or new concepts are being introduced which other artists will follow.
    In the end, I don’t think everyone will ever be happy with change, especially in art with different comings and styles and they will much prefer what used to be. Each to their own opinion, but I can definitely appreciate styles changing throughout history as the world changes around them and can give us an insight during these time periods on what was preferred or done with the styles they have chosen. There is great appreciation for artists like Frith who has taken the time to show all these vulnerable expressions to the viewer and be able to determine who the person is and distract us from the background even. It can sort of be like a still-life photoshoot. He is a very talented artist along with the rest, but even switching to the style of Monet’s “dehumanizing” piece of art can still get the same recognition.
    Thinking about it, in real time most of us won’t even remember seeing the people we see when going out and about in our daily life. Whether that’s traveling to and from a state, going to the grocery store, or even going to the park. It’s all just a “haze” and the way Monet has painted the people faceless is exactly the same idea. In this instance, we are more focused on the surroundings and environment of the train station which is beautiful in its own while not being able to recognize much people. But we can still sense their presence which I feel is how we are in the end of being more aware of our surroundings than knowing every person we see aside from quick glances.

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  10. Robert Harbison’s notion that technology was impregnated with “… a dehumanization” affect in the latter part of the 19th century is noteworthy. In my opinion it as fitting as an outcome of something greater that was occurring during this era. The industrial revolution aided in the dehumanization of that which was once not dehumanized. In Eccentric Spaces, Robert Harbison uses the example of the typewriter, as it becomes an imperative tool for the writer from a once novelty item, people loose the connection it once had as an aw-inspiring machine to a mundane tool only really noticed when it breaks down. This sort of thing continues to occur for example, consider the iPhone. The iPhone started out as a novelty item that people did not need to function but it became so useful it transformed into desire, and that desire drove the innovation for it to create the same dehumanization affect as the typewriter.

    Paddington Station by William Powell Frith, can be compared to the iPhone shoppers waiting in line to get their hands on the latest version. As I recall, during the time when iPhone was expected to release the version with Siri, people were in awe at the possibilities this new technology could lead to. The constant imaginary conversation of the limits it may have, it may not have, then eventually the limitless possibilities. This is parallel to the comparison of the typewriter where as in the beginning it is this grand piece of machinery and eventually it becomes a thing that just functions. Like wise with the iPhone.

    In my opinion, the greater consequence of this sort of “dehumanization” is a consequence of innovation which aligns with the artist and the notion that art begs the question and therefore the solution eventually always begets dehumanization.

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  11. Robert Harbison’s notion that technology dehumanized people is an interesting perspective on the 19th-century changes of the popularization of glass and iron. Robert Harbison’s book, Eccentric Spaces makes it clear of his negative view as he addressed technology as “impersonal nature”. It was the Age of the Machine yet Harbison’s perspective on the technological advancements was yet again shown when he made his painting Gare Saint-Lazare. When taking a look at Frith’s painting in 1862 compared to Harbison’s just a few years later there is a drastic difference in the mood. In Frith’s painting, it was colorful, vivid, full of life with families and people talking around the trains. The people surrounded by the trains were full of life and excitement with playful curiosity. Harbison’s piece is intriguing and always the viewers to consider many questions.
    Harbison’s painting was completed in 1877 and it can be something that tells a much deeper meaning to how technology changed, people’s viewpoints, social, or economic changes, or simply the artist’s viewpoint in a short time period. Overall, Harbison’s painting has a dreary empty feeling, their faces are lifeless, expressionless, and dark. When considering the dark aura of his painting it makes one wonder what historical changes happened between the few years between the two paintings. Did social or economical changes change everyone’s viewpoints on machinery or just his? Another way to look at his painting is how he alone viewed technology. His response to calling the technology a cause of dehumanization can refer to what he experienced socially.
    Rather than Harbison seeing people interacting fully of excitement over the years, it changed to a normal thing. People were not as excited, stayed to themselves more on the trains rather than talk to others. His viewpoints were clear he did not see the trains as a beautiful form of nature but as unnatural and intruding.

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  12. I partially agree with Harbison’s notion that that technology during the latter part of the 19th century was impregnated with “the idea of the faceless Imperson, a dehumanization.” Looking at both arts, it clearly depicts problems aroused in the 19th century with advance in technology. For instance, technology or railroads in this context, have represented a big share of environmental pollution. Also, noise has been considered to be the most critical environmental problem along with habitat divisions considering that noise pollution is one of the many factors that contributes to the extinction of species. However, I believe that Harbison’s notion only reflects the condition during the 19th century. If we were to mention what advance of technology has brought to this society and in the art world, it will be countless. Considering that these technologies have slowly taken an essential part in people’s day-to-day lives and being without them would be unimaginable for some of us, machines have helped us carry out most of the agricultural and industrial work and as a result, workers could produce much more goods than a century ago and work less. Also advance in technology has brought what we call “Digital Revolution” in art, which allowed artist to form their art in different practice.

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  13. I can see why Harbison would say that technology during the latter part of the 19th century was impregnated with “the idea of the faceless Imperson…a dehumanization”. Firth’s painting depicts a busy scene at a train station. The variety of passengers and the various scenes taking place attract the attention of the viewer immediately and serve the purpose of giving life to the setting, but it all appears to combine together to serve the purpose of appearing as a busy train scene. In contrast, Monet’s painting focuses on the train station consisting of two large trains. Blurry depictions of people and the surrounding buildings due to the smoke from the train are shown throughout the painting to build the setting of the piece. Despite the details in the art pieces, it can possibly be seen as a fill in to depict the setting and give off a feeling of dehumanization, regardless of the attempt of humanizing it through the commuters.
    I do believe that the latter part of the 19th century and the Age of the Machine was a time of rapid change due to developments in technology. Such developments cause changes in society and people’s perspectives on things, which can give weight to Harbison’s statement of the times. However, this changes all the time, and technological advancements today have been, for the most part, a positive reinforcement in everyday life and will hopefully continue to do so.

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  14. The two paintings are quite the contrast. Frith depicted and embraced a warmer palette, that assumed a more welcoming interpretation. We see clearly defined architecture, and the shared interactions between the commuters. It seems these individuals are commutative and embracing the moment. Monet, realized a colder palette that is focused on steam, and has brought forward elements such as the trains and rails. We see bits of the cast iron structure, and an architectural backdrop. Though there are individuals in the scene they’re less detailed and washed out. Harbison has made it a point that the shift in technology created an impersonal or dehumanized reality. I would agree partially, as the age of the machine and the 19th century have brought on many advancements to the way people travel, commute and reach new destinations. Architecture has also gone through a phase that has allowed the industry to harness key ideas in making these spaces and interactions more personal and enjoyable. Overall both interpretations of the time period are contrasted, but both strike the pros and cons of technology and its changes. We often see cities embark on restorations that now include the idea of creating dynamic experiences. These spaces are representative of todays time and needs.

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  15. I agree with Harbison. It is perceptible that Frith’s painting is full of emotions and implicitly asks the viewer to focus on the people because there is so much going on in their social interactions. On the other hand, Monet’s paintings omit any human expression in his painting, inevitably guiding the viewer to focus on the environment, in which the machinery is the main focus/object. Maybe what reinforces the idea of humanization or not, is influenced also by the color scheme. Frith uses warm hues overall in his painting, making the scene more vivid and inviting, whereas Monet uses dark cool hues, which reinforces the idea of setting the calm vibes in, but also it offers an environment less socially active and with the heavy presence of machinery, which have in common to be cold (figuratively, and sometimes even literally). Harbison’s observation is valid and the comparison is on point.

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  16. I think that Harbison’s notion of “the idea of the faceless person a dehumanization” is a very interesting way to look at the two paintings. Padding Station (1862) clearly shows every person’s face, and the railway blends into the background. Meanwhile, Gare Saint-Lazare (1877) focuses on the trains and the smoke that comes out of them, while the people are more like decoration to the train. I can see why Harbison would see Claude Monet’s painting as dehumanizing since it shows no human emotion, just the grandness of the trains and the buildings. However, I would disagree because I think paintings like these show a more first-person point of view perspective as if it were your first time walking into this train station. It shows human emotion in a different, more personal way, because in real life, we wouldn’t focus on every single person’s face in public, but rather what interests us.

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  17. Harbison’s notion of technology seems very reasonable for the time. It was a time of many new technological advances that could have been both good and overwhelming for the public. One can clearly view that in Frith’s painting, Paddington Station because it has this warm yet chaotic scene. There’s just so much going on it’s hard to focus on just one thing. With anything that’s new, and in this case technology for travel, it can be exciting yet stressful for one. Monet, Gare Saint-Lazare, has more of a cooler vibe to it. The way the train station is calmer and in no rush. You can’t really make out the little details but you get the overall picture of the focus being the environment and not so much the people. This painting reminds me of the aftermath of being introduced to something new. First, there’s so much chaos and excitement, and then it is followed by peace and satisfaction.

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  18. I am really interested in this analysis given by Harbison about the impersonal nature of technology and how it is interpreted through these works by Monet and Frith. I think there has been resistance to technology, in its many forms, for a much longer time than before the Industrial Revolution, but I feel the anxiety was heightened during this time because of the limited correlation to nature. We are now past a time where we no longer need horses to pull us to our next destination, or the ocean to propel us with its waves. Steam, electricity, metal, these cold forces were the new horses. In Frith’s painting, he seems to welcome the new inventions and sees it through rose colored glasses. The warm tones and plentiful movement of the bodies swirls the viewer into a warm embrace. Monet, alternatively, uses a cold blue tone and smoke that fills the picture plane. The feeling is gloomy and menacing, the smoke making the people in the scene look diminutive. I think the anxiety around technology is more present in Monet’s work, sharing perhaps similar anxieties to technologies we have in our lives today. The cold qualities that our technologies exude while telling us they are only here to help can make it hard to trust them.

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  19. Harbison’s notion that technology was impersonal in the late 19th century is a completely understandable view. The Renaissance focused more on the human form, whereas art in the latter part of the 19th century was more about the moment itself instead of the people. Instead of people being the most interesting thing, now it was trains and all the advancements of that time. However, I personally don’t think this makes technology impersonal. Going off of the Frith and Monet paintings, the technology is what brings people together. One could view it as impersonal, but the way I see it is that this was a place where many gather and interact with each other in ways that they might not have been able to before. I think the definition of impersonal has changed with the development of technology, and we find other ways to make personal connections through this.

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  20. I can understand Harbison’s viewpoint regarding technology emerging in the 19th century, but I do not think I can agree with it though. Looking at the two paintings, although the setting is similar, the two give off very different feelings and vibes from one another. Frith’s painting is a station that is full of life. There are many people with their own lives that managed to be at the same spot on that fateful day. Their entire life has made it, so they all accumulated at that station on that very day to catch their respective trains. Monet’s painting on the other hand feels colder and more somber. The thing is though is that both paintings, although are based on train stations, are focused on different things, so comparing the two paintings and saying that technology was already starting to dehumanize society is unfair. I am sure that people still interacted with one another just like they did before, only now as technology advances, society moves forward as well. Harbison’s statement regarding the 19th century technology being in a way dehumanizing feels like an overreaction. Were he to say it regarding the 21st century, I would be able to see and understand his viewpoint a bit better, but since it was the beginning of the age of technology, I believe he spoke too soon and is exaggerating.

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  21. Harbison’s notion of dehumanization and technology is I guess understandable. Looking at today with all the new advancements in technology, more and more Harbison’s notion does seem to carry across the years and hold merit that technology will ultimately result in a dehumanized world. I think for that time it could have been a little overexaggerated to say, but his notion isn’t wrong, and it’s just proving to be more right as the years go by. In the Monet and Frith paintings I do see how they can correlate to Harbison’s notion, with how the people in the paintings are not as distinct or important I guess as the concept of the station itself and the people are depicted kind of faceless, sort of putting them in the position as going through a process and routine which routines can become robotic in the way of their repetition I guess.

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