By Heather Birchall
Get to know the Pre-Raphaelites, an undercover brotherhood of poets, painters, and critics, often regarded as Britain’s first modern art movement. With key works by leading artists, this book explores the group’s rejection of Classical beauty ideals, and its reactionary immersion in nature, medieval culture, and literary emblems of love and death.
Founded in 1848 as a secret society, the Pre-Raphaelites rejected classical ideals and the dominant artistic genre painting of their era for what they saw as a more spiritual, sincere, and naturalistic approach. Founded by William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, they evolved into a seven-member “brotherhood” that included poets and critics as well as painters.
Moving away from the classical compositions exemplified by Raphael (hence the group’s name), the Pre-Raphaelites rather turned to medieval culture and the jewel-like colors of Quattrocento art for inspiration. Their principal themes were initially religious, but also included subjects from literature and poetry, as exemplified by Sir John Everett Millais’s famous Ophelia, drawn from Shakespeare's Hamlet. Inspired by the theories of John Ruskin, they were also committed to the close study of nature.
This book presents key works from the Pre-Raphaelite group to introduce their reactionary principles, their dazzling colors, their interest in love, death, and nature, and their extensive influence on latter-day Symbolism and beyond.
Each book in Taschen’s Basic Genre series features approximately 100 color illustrations with explanatory captions, a detailed illustrated introduction, a selection of the most important works of the epoch, each presented on a two-page spread with a full-page image and accompanying interpretation, as well as a portrait and brief biography of the artist.
Hardcover with jacket, 96 pages
Dimensions: 8.5 x 10.5 x 0.5 inches