As a leading member of the Aesthetic movement, in a reaction against the domination of subject matter in Victorian painting, he developed a new style of painting and role for the artist. Whistler emphasized the aesthetic nature of his work by calling his paintings ‘nocturnes’ and ‘symphonies’. The visual pleasure of colour and form was the most important. He mostly chose simple subjects that were expressive of mood.
Key artwork: Whistler’s Mother, 1871