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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A landmark study, 11 Mar 2011
By 
A. D. Smith (Oxford, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pre-Raphaelite Drawing (Hardcover)
The Pre-Raphaelites are well known for their strikingly original and moving paintings, but in this book the case is persuasively made that their drawings are no less important and no less original. The author claims that it was "in drawing that the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood first explored unfamiliar or extreme compositional ploys that assisted in the creation of new narrative works that were poetic, dramatic and visionary." Two factors, copying from early Italian artists and working directly from nature came together to produce the unique combination of drawing styles we find in these artists. "The `outline style' reduced the description of the world to line... Everything in the resulting picture was delineated, nothing shaded or....patterned". This outline style encouraged the viewer to develop a heightened imaginative relationship with the drawing. As the artists evolved their styles, the outline style was fused with a closeness to nature until we have the incredible head of Ophelia (modelled by Elizabeth Siddal) drawn by Millais (1852). Cruise considers the study for the head of Ophelia as "perhaps one of the most extraordinary drawings of its time: intimate and probing, yet sensitive, it acts as both an imaginary and a real portrait." You may consider that some of the drawings shown in this book are technically less than perfect; but the last word should go to Graham Robertson: "Any intelligent art student could out-paint Rossetti, nearly every member of a life class could draw better, and yet what they would produce would be of no import, while his slightest scribble is full of suggestion."
This wonderful book is full of `suggestion' and because of this it is very rewarding at many levels. Those who want to see `stunners' will find them here - the penultimate illustration is Rossetti's study for `Water Willow' while we see Jane Morris with a very different expression in the amazing drawing on the cover, a study for `Mnemosyne'. Those who want to understand these enigmatic artists better will be richly rewarded by the text. Finally, lovers of fine printing will be delighted by the technical quality of the production: quite the best I have seen for many years; the book was printed in China. Without doubt, this book, like the exhibition that it is based upon, will be seen as a landmark in Pre-Raphaelite studies.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Drawing by the masters, 2 Jan 2013
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C. J. Green - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pre-Raphaelite Drawing (Paperback)
I always think you understand an artist's work better if you can see their drawing - the finished painting is too manicured. This book has ample examples of preliminary drawings; even those later changed, to illustrate what went into the later paintings. I realy enjoyed the book and will look at it again and again.
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Pre-Raphaelite Drawing
Pre-Raphaelite Drawing by Colin Cruise (Paperback - 13 Feb 2012)
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