Art History lesson: The Pre-Raphaelites, courtesy of Roberta Smith
“Pre-Raphaelite art is a volatile, highly complicated mixture of questionable intentions, literary erudition, ironclad nostalgia, meticulous realism, lavish costumes and a prescient technicolor palette. The brotherhood was formed in 1848 by William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, three disgruntled students at the Royal Academy of Art. Barely 20, they were repelled by the decadence of art and society, much of which they ascribed to the Industrial Revolution.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Lady Lilith, 1866�8, Delaware Art Museum, Samuel and Mary R. Bancroft Memorial 1935
“They wanted to turn back the clock to purer, more thoroughly Christian times…At once hysterical and inert, these paintings are fascinating as artifacts, period pieces reflective of their time. If you want a clear idea about what was rotten as opposed to enlightened about Victorian England, look no further.” Read more.