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  "We see nothing truly until we understand it"~ John Constable

Pre-Raphaelites
     
 

"The Turnip Cleaner"
Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin
French Painter 1699 - 1779
Rococo Period

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Fruit

"Bird with Nest"
Jan Davidsz de Heem
Dutch Painter 1606 - 1683/84
Baroque Period
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Pre-Raphaelites - Toward the middle of the 19th century a group of seven young English artists united with the hope of establishing an artistic renewal and moral reform in England, the year was 1848. They protested against the superficial art, the exaggerated traditionalism, and what they felt, the hypocrisy and materialism of the Victorian era.  This group felt that the currant art being displayed and taught was dark and muddy and that the subject matter was shallow and ridiculous.

Each of the seven artists was in agreement with this thinking and together they admired the simplicity and purity of the 15th century.  They felt that their mutual beliefs bound them together as a brotherhood and called themselves the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood or P.R.B.  The name Pre-Raphaelite was used because this group had contempt for all art from the time of the great Renaissance master Raphael forward, referring to all art in that time frame as “slosh”.

The Pre- Raphaelites were strongly criticized, causing outrage in the art community and beyond after their 1st exhibition in 1849; first, for forming a secret society which became known when at this same exhibit the artists signed their name followed by PRB, and then for their arrogance, beliefs, and piety.  One of their most avid critics was Charles Dickens.

The Pre-Raphaelites studied and observed nature; working to portray the simplicity and beauty of the late Medieval world.  Their work was serious, often portraying religious themes and filled with many symbols suggesting deeper meaning. The portrayal of their subjects was intended to ‘help’ the viewer to contemplate the moral issues of justice, piety, domestic relationships, and the struggle of purity against corruption.

The style of the Pre-Raphaelites can be typified as classical, nostalgic, and legendary. They painted voluptuous figures with thick curly hair; great attention was paid to architectural detailing and enhancement. This style makes one wonder just how the ‘simplicity’ that they advocated fit in? Everything was painted from direct observation or worked en plein air.

The Pre-Raphaelites used a luminous pallet of bright pigments, painting over a white ground. But their work often appeared flat due to the even, all over lighting they insisted on. The paintings were sharp focused and detailed to the point that they appeared almost photogenic. Many significant innovations to the English landscape painting can be attributed to the Pre-Raphaelites; their observance of all things in nature was masterful and meticulous in detail and style.

Two of the more well known artists associated with the Pre-Raphaelites were designers William Morris and Edward Burne Jones.  Although they were not true members of the group, their association with the Pre-Raphaelites brought about a close relationship between that group and the new Arts and Crafts movement, which was evolving at the same time. However, in less than 10 years the Brotherhood dissolved, with each artist going their own way, though many remained friends. Despite the dissolving of the Brotherhood, the Pre-Raphaelites left a significant imprint on the world on art, acting as a forerunner to the Symbolist movement and inspiring later artistic movements. The Pre-Raphaelites enjoyed much success in the Victorian era and this success continued into the beginning of the 20th century, until around 1920 when it became unfashionable.

Paint media – Oils

Art work – The Pre-Raphaelites studied and observed nature; working to portray the simplicity and beauty of the late Medieval world.  Their work was serious, often portraying religious themes and filled with many symbols suggesting deeper meaning. The portrayal of their subjects was intended to ‘help’ the viewer to contemplate the moral issues of justice, piety, domestic relationships, and the struggle of purity against corruption.

Artists – The original seven were:  Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, James Collinson, Thomas Woolner, William Rossetti, and Fredric George Stephens; friends and admirers soon joined the Brotherhood and became the second generation Pre-Raphaelites.

Colour – The Pre-Raphaelites used a luminous pallet of bright pigments, painting over a white ground.

 

References:

Bouguereau, by Fronia E. Wissman, Adolphe-William Bouguereau, ISBN- 876545827

A Biographical Dictionary of Artists - Sir Lawrence Gowing - ISBN - 1861990731

The Pre-Raphaelites by Christopher Wood, ISBN-1841881163

The Art of the Pre-Raphaelites, by Elizabeth Prettejohn, ISBN - 0691070571

Lawrence Alma-Tadema , Rosmary J. Barrow, ISBN: 071484358X

art history
art history
art history

Title: The Pre-Raphaelites
Author: Christopher Wood
ISBN:  1841881163
General Topic: Art History

Title: The Art of the Pre-Raphaelites
Author: Elizabeth Prettejohn
ISBN: 0691070571  
General Topic: Art History

Title: J.W. Waterhouse 
Author: Peter Trippi
ISBN: 0714845183  
General Topic: Art History

 

art history
art history
art history

Title: J. W. Waterhouse
Author: Anthony Hobson
ISBN: 0714828645
General Topic: Art History

Title: Reading the Pre-Raphaelites
Author: Tim Barringer
ISBN: 0300077874
General Topic: Art History

Title: Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood
Author: Jan Marsh
ISBN: 0704301695
General Topic: Art History

 

art history
art history
art history

Title:Dante Rossetti
Author: Anthony Hobson
ISBN:0810937840
General Topic: Art History

Title:The Art of Lord Leighton
Author: Christopher Newall
ISBN:0714829579
General Topic: Art History

Title:Edward Burne-Jones, Victorian Artist-Dreamer
Author: Stephen Wildman
ISBN:0300085826
General Topic: Art History

 

art history art history art history

Title: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Author: Julian Treuherz
ISBN: 0500093164
General Topic: Art History

Title: Lawrence Alma-Tadema
Author: Rosmary J. Barrow
ISBN: 071484358X
General Topic: Art History

Title:Bouguereau
Author: Fronia E. Wissman, Adolphe-William Bouguereau
ISBN:876545827
General Topic: Art History

 

 

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