Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Art and Design, 1848-1900 @ the NGA

"Ophelia" by John Millais. Last Friday I went to the National Gallery of Art (NGA) to work on my copy of Largillière’s  Canoness only to discover that it had been taken down and put in storage. Apparently this happens every once in a while. I was actually OK with its disappearance because to be honest, I was getting bored of the Canoness. Soon I will be starting on a new copy of a still life by Chardin which is located in the same salon. Fickle, I know--but I am sure Ms. Canoness will get over it someday.

You may be asking yourself what I did with my suddenly wide open schedule that day. Hello! I went to see THE Pre-Raphaelite exhibit, of course! And WOW was I happy I did. This exhibit has managed to acquire some of the most famous Pre-Raphelite paintings ever painted, such as Millais' "Ophelia" and Rosetti's "The Annunciation" along with so many others. New to me is the work of William Holman Hunt, his "Valentine rescuing Sylvia from Proteus" is now one of my new favorites. The caliber of this exhibit is so good that I plan on seeing it all over again--something I rarely do.

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (PRB) founded by William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti in 1848, grew to include not just painters, but poets and critics in an effort to return back to a more moral sentiment in art & literature during the Victorian period. It was essentially a reaction to the modernization and industrialization of England.

"The group's intention was to reform art by rejecting what it considered the mechanistic approach first adopted by Mannerist artists who succeeded Raphael and Michelangelo. Its members believed 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" (Wikipedia)." The PRB embraced historical genre painting in particular, by depicting stories from the Bible and their native Arthurian legends.

I have included in this post several images of the famous works from the exhibit to whet your appetite (click to enlarge). As if you weren't hungering for it already. Enjoy!

"The Beloved ('The Bride')" 1865-6, by  Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

1858 Henry Wentworth Monk oil on canvas

"The Awakening Conscience" (1853). William Holman Hunt.

"The Awakening Conscience" (1853). William Holman Hunt.

Edward Burne-Jones’

"The Blind girl", John Millais.

"The Lady of Shalott" (1886-1905) by William Holman Hunt

"The Lady of Shalott" (1886-1905) by William Holman Hunt