Pre-Raphaelite ~ Art History ~ 151 Slides ~ Painting ~ Art

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Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood ~ Art History ~ 151 Slides ~ Painting

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This is a powerpoint presentation about Pre-Raphaelites Art History. To best assess this presentation, download the preview, which contains 20 actual slides. This listing contains text excerpts, below. In all, there are 151 slides. Virtually all myths and legends upon which the paintings are based are given in text, along with the visual of the painting.


The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (for short, PRB) was a group of English painters, poets, and critics, founded in 1848 by William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. It was a group which kept evolving and expanding until modern art eclipsed it.

It later became more simply known as the Pre-Raphaelites. It was ignored for much of the twentieth century. Then it experienced a revival and re-appreciation in the late twentieth century, which continues to this day.

The group’s goal was to return to Quattrocento Italian art from the Renaissance. That art was known for being very detailed, with intense colors and complicated design composition.

The group disliked Raphael’s art plus everyone who had followed in his wake. Thus the PRB name was perfect because it showed its preference for only art which had come before Raphael’s.

What they hated as much, or more, was the style of Sir Joshua Reynolds. He was the founder of the English Royal Academy of Arts. His work and style was what all students there were taught. New directions in painting were not welcome.

As students there, they did not want to paint like Reynolds. They called him "Sir Sloshua” because of what they perceived as his lax painting style.

The PRB set down its four guiding principles:
1. to have genuine ideas to express
2. to study nature attentively, so as to know how to express them
3. to sympathize with what is direct and serious and heartfelt in previous art, to the exclusion of what is conventional and self-parodying and learned by rote
4. most indispensable of all, to produce thoroughly good pictures and statues

The PRB was interested in medieval culture. They believed it had a spiritual and creative integrity which needed to be re-discovered in the art world. Rossetti, Burne-Jones and Morris were especially keen on medieval art and culture. In later years, Hunt and Millais moved more towards realism instead.

By 1853 the original movement had dissolved. However, a much looser association among these artists emerged instead, which was more tolerant of divergent directions they were all taking.

Thus, the Pre-Raphaelite movement today is associated with this second more expanded and looser art movement. This also includes all the evocative images of women produced by Rossetti and others. These women had been nowhere in the original PRB concept. Yet today’s art viewer is likely to think of those women first when the term Pre-Raphaelites is used.


A) William Holman Hunt's Lady of Shalott 1905 oil on canvas

depicts a scene from Alfred Lord Tennyson's 1832 poem

plight of a woman isolated under an curse in a tower near King Arthur's Camelot.

Lady of Shalott was forbidden to look directly at reality or the outside world;

She was doomed to view the world through a mirror, and weave what she saw into tapestry.

Then the Lady saw Sir Lancelot passing on his way in the reflection of the mirror. She looked then at Camelot, bringing about a curse.

Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror cracked from side to side.
The curse has come upon me cried
The Lady of Shalott.

B) John William Waterhouse's Lady of Shalott 1909 oil on canvas

The painting illustrates these lines from “The Lady of Shalott" by Alfred Lord Tennyson

And down the river's dim expanse
Like some bold seer in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance -
With a glassy countenance
Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
The Lady of Shalott.

EXCERPT 3 Edward Burne-Jones's "King Cophetua & Beggar Maid" 1884 oil paint on canvas

The king disdained women until he met the Beggar Maid. He fell in love at first sight, vowing to make her his queen.

Burne Jones had several sources of inspiration. One was the poem by Alfred Tennyson, The Beggar Maid. It fit in with Burne-Jones’s belief in the transforming power of the act of looking. He also thought of the eyes as windows of the soul.

The second source of inspiration was his best friend, William Morris. The picture’s egalitarian story fit in with Morris’s belief in radical socialism. The painting shows the moment when love transcends class and reason.

The loss of reason appealed to Burne-Jones with his disastrous affair with Maria. The egalitarian love match appealed to Morris’s politics.

Their educations at Oxford, which were steeped in all of the arts, served both artists well throughout their entire lives. It is the advantage of receiving a full university education instead of an art school education. The rest of the Pre-Raphaelites went to art school.


Frank Cadogan Cowper 1877-1958
The Last of the Pre-Raphaelites

regarded the Pre-Raphaelite movement as a phenomenon ripe for revival

went back to early Pre-Raphaelite work and reinterpreted it, especially Rossetti’s.

Cowper’s women are more remote than Rossetti’s women.

Cowper’s women universally exist in an opulent surrounding of femininity.

Rossetti was obsessed with the actual women; Cowper was not.

his paintings showed rendering of highly detailed, opulent textiles,which became a trademark of his.

Cowper followed the Pre-Raphaelites in going after archaic styles in his art.

Both Cowper and the Pre-Raphaelites were being archaic for the same reason: to express their desire to return to the world the way it was before modernity existed.
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Pre-Raphaelite ~ Art History ~ 151 Slides ~ Painting ~ Art
Pre-Raphaelite ~ Art History ~ 151 Slides ~ Painting ~ Art
Pre-Raphaelite ~ Art History ~ 151 Slides ~ Painting ~ Art
Pre-Raphaelite ~ Art History ~ 151 Slides ~ Painting ~ Art
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