Friday, 4 May 2012

The Pre - Raphaelites

We have recently added a few key prints to our Pre-Raphaelite collection:

Robert Bowyer Parkes after John Everett Millais
Published December 10th 1880, by B.Brookes, 171 Strand, London
Image 471 x 314 mm
The scene depicts a pair of young lovers in an embrace. Hidden within this clasp, the girl attempts to fasten a white armband to her beloved; a sign of allegiance to Roman Catholicism. The young man gently declines, thus condemning himself to death. The incident refers to the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre in 1572 when French Protestants were slaughtered in Paris in obedience with the proclamation of the Duc de Guise.

William Henry Simmons after William Holman Hunt
E. Gambart & Co. Wednesday 15th June 1864
Image 625 x 357 mm, Plate 730 x 470 mm, Sheet 880 x 603 mm
From Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure.  Claudio is condemned to death for having sex with a woman.  Here, in a prison cell, his sister, Isabella, pleads with him not to ask her to buy his life with her virtue, by giving herself to the evil Antonio.  The interior is taken from the Lollards’ prison at Lambeth Palace.

Ex.Col.: Hon. Christopher Lennox-Boyd, Ex. Col. F├╝rst Liechtenstein

Toward the middle of the 19th century, a small group of young artists in England reacted vigorously against what they felt was "the frivolous art of the day": this reaction became known as the Pre-Raphaelite movement. Their ambition was to bring English art back to a greater truth to nature.

While contemporary critics and art historians worshiped Raphael as the great master of the Renaissance, these young students rebelled against what they saw as Raphael's theatricality and the Victorian hypocrisy and pomp of the academic art tradition. The friends decided to form a secret society, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, in deference to the sincerities of the early Renaissance before Raphael developed his grand manner. The Pre -Raphaelites adopted a high moral stance that embraced a sometimes unwieldy combination of symbolism and realism. They painted only serious - usually religious or romantic - subjects, and their style was clear and sharply focused, it entailed a unique insistence on painting everything from direct observation.

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