Preraffaelites anyone?


Well-known member
Anyone here a fan of the preraffaelite movement (England, 2nd half of 19th century)?

Here's one famous Ophelia you may know by John Everett Millais of their first generation:


I am, however, much more into the 2nd generation.
Here are some favorites from the later Dante Gabriel Rossetti:



And I definitely am a REAL sucker for Sir Edward Burne-Jones:





Roni, those are amazing, especially love the ones with all the trees and foliage behind the figures. It's incredible. I've never seen these before. Love how it all started out with that first one--WOW!!! Thanks for posting these. I learn something new here everyday. :)
The PreRaphaelite Brotherhood... and ultimately the whole of the British Arts & Crafts Movement are fascinating. Unfortunately, they are often dismissed as Reactionaries. The reality is that they were incredibly progressive in many ways. William Morris was a leading figure in terms of design, writing, and politics. Dante Gabriel Rossetti was a good painter, but a far greater poet and translator. Considering his merger of visual art and poetry, it should not be surprising that he was among the early admirers of William Blake, actually owning one of Blake's manuscripts. William Morris and Burne-Jones' efforts on the Kelmscott Chaucer were key in the revival of the "book arts".


The PreRaphaelites would inspire the whole of the Arts & Crafts Movement on onward into the Art Nouveau and the Nabis in France. While the medievalism of the PreRaphaelite's paintings is often dismissed as overly conservative or even reactionary, their embrace of certain elements of medieval art such as the emphasis on flat shape, heavy contours, pattern, and an all-over tapestry-like composition can be seen as having influenced Gauguin, Klimt, Alphonse Mucha, Aubrey Beardsley, Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, Matisse, Art Nouveau, the Viennese Secessionists, etc... It does not take a great stretch of the imagination to see the impact of PreRaphaelite medievalism upon the look of later fantasy art, film, and television.
I have mixed feelings about the Pre-Raphaelites but generally like them. Understanding them in context of their time helps, as well as understanding their influence (which @stlukesguild already covered). Ruskin was a big booster for their work, he saw them as fitting with his ideas about "truth to nature" (which I think is clearer in the less stylized work of Hunt or Millais).
A little immodest show-off:
Rumour has it (and who am I to disagree) that I've had a crush on the Preraffelites (and esp. Burne-Jones) even since my late school-days [aet19].


and back then bought a [now framed (but not hung)] poster of Burne-Jones' "Baleful Head" [the last picture of 8 in the so-called "Perseus-circle"] from the museum in Stuttgart where it hangs.

Ruskin was a big booster for their work, he saw them as fitting with his ideas about "truth to nature" (which I think is clearer in the less stylized work of Hunt or Millais.
Definitely yes. This was, (as you know, but not everybody here, that's why I say it), the first generation (of two) of the Pre-Raffaelites.

In a sense, they don't even seem to have much in common. They're so very different in many ways. My above-posted Millais isn't representative for the whole first generation and I do feel the betrayal I act out showing only this aspect, which is the one I personally like.

The best link between the two generations seems to be Rossetti, who has been a member of both.
I just have this book, which I wrote a brief GR review of a few years back:

Hilton covers the generational shift but IIRC focuses a bit more on the first generation and is more critical of the second. His essay actually changed some of my understanding the movement, which in my head was typified more by Rossetti and Burne-Jones.

What a great collection of books!
What a great collection of books!
Thanks, but I forgott to picture an important thing (because the following aren't in my "art"-bookshelf, but in "literature"):
The two-volume memorials of Burne-Jones' wife and widdow [marked].


And, Xie, since your nickname is connected to Victorian photography, you may like (and even know), that there was preraffaelite photography too [namely Julia Margaret Cameron].
Like so:

An interesting artist who followed in the steps of the PreRaphaelites was Phoebe Traquair. I just posted an introduction to her work over on the "Forgotten Artists" thread.

Vera Rockline (Russian, 1896-1934).jpg
Yes, I'm familiar with Julia Margaret Cameron's work! I think of her primarily as a precursor to Pictorialism, but I can totally see the connection between her work and the Pre-Raphaelites.
I ran across a late landscape painting by John Everett Millais ("Dew Drenched Furze") and liked it so much that I bought a hefty book about him by Jason Rosenfeld. Some of his earlier work is too sentimental for me, but I enjoyed reading about how he stole Ruskin's wife, who Ruskin said was disgusting, and managed to love her very much and have a bunch of kids with her. I also really admired how much he worked and became successful and was enormously prolific throughout his life.
dew drenched furze.jpg
That famous Ophelia never ceases to amaze me. The others you posted here are somewhat too kitschy for me.