Wednesday 6 April 2011

Pre Raphaelites

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (also known as the Pre-Raphaelites) was a group of English painters, poets, and critics, founded in 1848 by William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The three founders were soon joined by William Michael Rossetti, James Collinson, Frederic George Stephens and Thomas Woolner to form a seven-member "brotherhood".

The group's intention was to reform art by rejecting what they considered to be the mechanistic approach first adopted by the Mannerist artists who succeeded Raphael and Michelangelo. They believed that the Classical poses and elegant compositions of Raphael in particular had been a corrupting influence on the academic teaching of art. Hence the name: Pre-Raphaelite. In particular, they objected to the influence of Sir Joshua Reynolds, the founder of the English Royal Academy of Arts, whom they called "Sir Sloshua". To the Pre-Raphaelites, according to William Michael Rossetti, "sloshy" meant "anything lax or scamped in the process of painting ... and hence ... any thing or person of a commonplace or conventional kind". In contrast, they wanted to return to the abundant detail, intense colours, and complex compositions of Quattrocento Italian and Flemish art.

The Pre-Raphaelites have been considered the first avant-garde movement in art, though they have also been denied that status, because they continued to accept both the concepts of history painting and of mimesis, or imitation of nature, as central to the purpose of art. However, the Pre-Raphaelites undoubtedly defined themselves as a reform-movement, created a distinct name for their form of art, and published a periodical, The Germ, to promote their ideas.

I am not a fan of Raphael...

He painted himself over and over again... everything he painted, from madonnas to angels to young women and old men, looked like young Raphael.

William Holman Hunt: Isabella and pot of basil
Here's John Keats' poem about Isabella, and here's the story from Boccaccio. (It's the fifth story of the fourth day, about Lisabetta.)

John Everett Millais, my favorite "brother" :-)

Dante Gabriel Rossetti
I love his Monna Vanna...

Here's Leonardo's Monas Vanna and Lisa... beclothed and decent :-D
Now we know what's behind that smile, huh? 

James Collinson
Perhaps the one who best managed to copy Raphael's lifeless and stiff compositions and style :-D

But there is something... backgrounds, the girl's mischievous smile... warm colors...

Edward Burne-Jones

John William Waterhouse

Edmund Leighton

and Frederic, Lord Leighton - who in my mind doesn't quite deserve the bad reputation he has.

Ford Madox Brown was not a "brother", more like an older cousin :-)

His daughter, Lucy, wasn't bad either

Solomon siblings; Abraham,
and in my mind the best of them, Simeon

This reminds me of Evelyn de Morgan
 This one reminds me of Kinuko Craft's book cover for Darkangel... (There will be more about her later)

and this one, naturally, about Botticelli. (More about him too, later :-D)

and at last, my other favorite, Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale. She too has made too many lovely pictures for me to be able to choose!

 Do you think this Italian Vogue fashion photo was inspired by this painting?

Or perhaps this one?

 I LOVE her expression :-D

To my mind these are not really art-art - expressionistic, emotional, artistic... but one can see clearly how these paintings lead to the amazing book illustrations I love.

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