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The Pre-Raphaelites (Treasures of Art) [Hardcover]

Trewin Copplestone


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Book Description

Jun 1999 Treasures of Art
John Ruskin, the great guru of Victorian artistic culture and the first serious art critic, wrote of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood that 'they would lay the foundation of a school of art nobler than the world has seen for 300 years'. This may seem a highly exalted estimate of a small group of young men scarcely out of their teens, an association which lasted only a few years. Although the names of a number of other painters have been subsequently attached to the group, the Brotherhood, as they call themselves, in fact consisted of only seven members of which only three were significant painters and which makes Ruskin's view even more surprising. However, in retrospect, the group has acquired a reputation and importance which, if it does not quite fulfill Ruskin's evaluation at the present time, can nevertheless be regarded as an important and revolutionary movement.
The leaders of the Brotherhood, William Holman Hunt, Sir John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti are of such different character and technical accomplishment, their followers of such variety, and their impact so dramatic that the story of the whole movement from its beginnings in the Schools of the Royal Academy in London to the 'bohemianism' of their later lives remains fascinating and entertaining.
This examination follows the course of the movement from the exclusivity of the Brotherhood to the eventual artistic and public lives of its members towards the end of Queen Victoria's reign. It includes examples of the work of most of the associated figures and analyses their achievements.

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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
3.0 out of 5 stars The Pre-Raphaelites, an art history text 15 July 2010
By Nan Lewin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The Victorian era seems grand and quite British, but it also conjures up memories of gloom and severity. Victorians are thought of as gentle but determined muckrakers and romantics. This book explores the quite Neo-Classically influenced trend of the Pre-Raphaelites. Heavily influenced by the German Nazarenes in Italy, a group of seven ambitious art school friends got together and, in a few short years, had a major impact on the Era, as did their friends and fringe followers. The most famous name associated with the group is Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and there were two other leaders: William Holman Hunt, and Sir John Everett Milais. The book gives the story of their group and biogaphies of all the artists and writers involved. The art is very spiritual and spooky. It has medieval influences and lots of references to fairy tales. Shakespeare is an important influence. The biographies overwhelm the prints to me. Between 1848-1898 the Pre-Raphaelites started a revolution toward what became gothic art in the modern sense. The book has many, many great prints of everything from "Ophelia" to the strange and familiar "The Scapegoat." The poor goat is a haunting symbol of what is wrong with the Era. Oppression seems to surround him. I would love to see more prints and less history. The book is not analytical enough for me, but everybody with an interest in spiritual and spooky art should check out this large glossy pretty thing. It's pretty good.
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