Ruskin: “ The artist is uniquely qualified to fulfill the prophetic role since the imagination, using allegory and symbolism based on a painstaking study of nature, could offer profound insights into the nature of God.” Hidden Burne-Jones, 10.
Ruskin encouraged Medievalism—design and Nature. 12.Ru
Ruskin, “constant art” that moves and uplifts by means of symbolism and beautiful and serene forms” 15.
Tate Introductions: Pre-Raphaelites, Jason Rosenfeld.
Group of seven young men who first formed the PRB in September of 1848. John Everett Millais (star student at RA), aspiring painters Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt, Frederic Stephens, James Collinson, and eventually Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris.
PR refers to an interest in European art dating to before the “Raphaelites” or followers of the Italian Renaissance painter Raphael (1480-1520). Interest in the work of medieval frescos, Hans Holbein, Jan van Eyck , and Fra Angelico, none of whom were favored by the RA. RA emphasized study of classical works from Ancient Greece and Rome, Raphael, Michelangelo, and later Baroque masters.
PR represented an early avant-garde English art group and came from working middle class families. The expanding Victorian middle class, esp the upwardly mobile in the industrial and commercial circles, it’s interest in literature and art, and the rise of a national critical press that made art reviews widely accessible offered the PR a previously unheard of opportunity for exposure and patronage.
10: Early PR works such as Millais, “Isabellas,” and Rosetti’s “Girlhood of Mary Virgin,” emphasize PR attention to medieval aesthetics: “sharpness of the forms, emphasis on building composition through planes parallel to the surface of the picture, sense of measured movement and intimate glances….period costume and minute details.” They lack the deep shading and careful modeling of light to dark typical since the Baroque era.
Contrast John Roger Herbert’s Our Savior Subject to His Parents at Nazareth (1847) with Millais’s Christ in the House of His Parents. Charles Dickens objected to the ugly naturalistic realism. John Ruskin wrote in the PR defense, celebrating their defiance of pictorial conventions, their embrace of Nature, and their historic details. (13, 14).
Millais’s Ophelia and Hunt’s The Hireling Shepherd demonstrate PR interest in painting out of doors, directly from Nature.
Acted on Ruskin’s advice in Modern Painters: “Go to nature in all singleness of heart, and walk with her laboriously and trustingly, having no other thoughts but how best to penetrate her meaning, and remembering her instruction; rejecting nothing, selecting nothing, and scorning nothing.”
PR dissolved in 1853 and their work was widely accepted by 1860s. The individual artists went on to pursue their own distinctive style and subjects. Shift in the 1860s from social, moral, and religious problems, and increased focused on the senses, exploring the possibilities of color, texture, and design. (23). The idea of “Art for Art’s Sake” became the new focus and the heart of the PR consisted of Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones, and William and Jane Morris. Sensuous flesh, fabric, and sex appeal become dominant themes. (23). Further personal development of idiosyncratic interests and techniques. Much of what is though of as PR in the popular imagination actually dates from this later period and not from the initial founding principals of the PRB.
Beata Beatrix—1864-1870, Rossetti, Astarte Syriaca, 1877
Autum Leaves, Millais
Burne-Jones, The Golden Stairs, 1880, The Doom Fulfilled, 1888.
Morris, 1890, News from Nowhere