1.4.8 Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (1848-1855)

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QUICK LINKS:
Christ in the House of his Parents, Millais
Hireling Shepherd, Holman Hunt
Last of England, Madox Brown
Venus Verticordia, Rossetti

Prosperine, Rossetti
Lord Palmerston, Woolner
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Holman Hunt
Lady of Shalott, Waterhouse

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (later known as the Pre-Raphaelites) was a group of English painters, poets, and art critics, founded in 1848 by William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Michael Rossetti, James Collinson, Frederic George Stephens and Thomas Woolner who formed a seven-member ‘Brotherhood’ modelled in part on the Nazarene movement.

The Brotherhood was only ever a loose association and their principles were shared by other artists of the time, including Ford Madox Brown, Arthur Hughes and Marie Spartali Stillman. Later followers of the principles of the Brotherhood included Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris and John William Waterhouse.

1480-10


Image source: Wikimedia commons
This is Millais’s first important religious subject, showing a scene from the boyhood of Christ.

When it was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1850 it was given no title, but accompanied by a biblical quotation: ‘And one shall say unto him, What are those wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.’ (Zech. 13:6)

Christian symbolism figures prominently in the picture. The carpenter’s triangle on the wall, above Christ’s head, symbolises the Holy Trinity. The wood and nails prefigure the crucifixion, as does the blood on the young Christ’s hand, which he has cut on a nail, and which drips onto his foot. The young St John is shown fetching a bowl of water with which to bathe the wound. This clearly identifies him as the Baptist, and the image is extended by the white dove perched on the ladder, symbol of the Holy Spirit, which descended from Heaven at the baptism of Christ.
[Source: tate.org.uk]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Christ in the House of His Parents1849-50Oil/CanvasHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Millais, John Everett1829-1896, aged 67English painterPre-Raphaelite Brotherhood,
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): 1480-11

Tate Galleries, Millbank, Westminster, London SW1P 4RG UK86 x 140  
William Holman Hunt and fellow artist, John Everett Millais, travelled to Ewell in Surrey where they searched together for locations for painting.
They spent time along the River Hogswell and while Millais found his site for Orphelia, Hunt chose the meadows near the fields of Ewell Court Farm to paint The Hireling Shepherd.

A local girl, Emma Watkins, modelled for Hunt and travelled to London to enable him to complete the painting but sadly her dreams of becoming a model did not materialise and she returned home afterwards.

The critics at that time felt that the depiction of the country peasants with “ruddy” and “flushed” faces was vulgar and Hunt hinted that there was a hidden meaning in the picture.

The scene depicts a meadow full of sheep in Spring. A hireling shepherd with his keg of ale or cider is showing a young woman a death’s head hawkmoth in his hand. In doing so, he is reaching around her, encircling her body as she leans against him. She lounges, her toes near the water, with a lamb upon her lap.
[Source: williamholmanhunt.org]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Hireling Shepherd, The1851Oil/CanvasGenre Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Holman Hunt, William1827-1910, aged 83English painterPre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): 1480-12

Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley St, Manchester M2 3JL76 x 109  

Image source: khanacademy.org
This is the watercolour replica for Brown’s famous image of emigrants leaving England (1855, Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery). The theme was inspired by the emigration of the sculptor Thomas Woolner, a fellow Pre-Raphaelite, who left for the goldfields of Australia in July 1852. In the same year, 369,000 emigrants left Britain to seek their fortune overseas.

Brown himself, hardly able to make a living from his art, was contemplating emigrating to India when he began work on The Last of England. As the main focus of the picture he chose a middle-class couple, ‘high enough, through education and refinement, to appreciate all they are now giving up, and yet depressed enough in means to have to put up with the discomforts and humiliations incident to a vessel ‘all one class’.
[Source: tate.org.uk]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Last of England, The1852-5Oil/WoodGenre Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Madox Brown, Ford 1821 – 1893, aged 72British painterPre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): 1480-13

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Chamberlain Square, Birmingham B3 3DH UK36 x 33  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
The woman in this picture is Venus, the Roman goddess of love and this painting is full of symbols of lust and love. The arrow she holds in her hand is poised ready to pierce hearts, the apple represents the fruit that tempted Eve and the roses and honeysuckles are symbols of desire.

The painting’s title is taken from a poem by the Roman author, Ovid, and translates as ‘Venus, turner of hearts’. The original model for the work was an unnamed cook who worked at Portland Place, London. The painting did not sell so Rossetti repainted Venus with the face of Alexa Wilding, one of his favourite models.
[Source: artuk.org]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Venus Verticordia1868Oil/CanvasPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Rossetti, Dante Gabriel1828-1882, aged 53English painterPre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): 1480-14

Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Cliff Promenade, Bournemouth BH1 3AA98 x 70  
The subject was suggested to the artist by William Morris, whose wife Jane was the model for this and many other works by Rossetti.

Her own life bore similarities to that of the captive goddess, and the painting could be seen as much a portrait of Jane as a representation of Proserpine.

By all accounts, Mrs Morris was not a happy woman and Morris was a cold husband. Jane enjoyed an intimate relationship with Rossetti which spanned decades. Rossetti painted Proserpine while staying with the couple at Kelmscott.
[Source: tate.org.uk]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Prosperine1874Oil/CanvasPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Rossetti, Dante Gabriel1828-1882, aged 53English painterPre-Raphaelite Brotherhood,
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): 1480-15

Tate Galleries, Millbank, Westminster, London SW1P 4RG UK125 x 61  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
The statue of Lord Palmerston is an outdoor bronze sculpture depicting Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, located at Parliament Square in London, United Kingdom.

The statue, sculpted by Thomas Woolner and unveiled in 1876, stands on a granite pedestal.
[Source: Wikimedia commons]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Lord Palmerston, Statue of 1876BronzeSculpture, Public Art
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Woolner, Thomas1825-189s, aged  67English sculptorPre-Raphaelite Brotherhood,
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): 1480-16

Parliament Square, London  
A Young Rossetti In His Mid-twenties Looking Directly At The Viewer.
[Source: birminghammuseums.org.uk]

Image source: ffrf.org
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Dante Gabriel Rossetti at 22 years of age, Portrait of1882-3Oil/PanelPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Holman Hunt, William1827-1910, aged 83English painterPre-Raphaelite Brotherhood,
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): 1480-17

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Chamberlain Square, Birmingham B3 3DH UK229 x 232  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
Tennyson’s poem, first published in 1832, tells of a woman who suffers under an undisclosed curse. She lives isolated in a tower on an island called Shalott, on a river which flows down from King Arthur’s castle at Camelot. Not daring to look upon reality, she is allowed to see the outside world only through its reflection in a mirror.

One day she glimpses the reflected image of the handsome knight Lancelot, and cannot resist looking at him directly. The mirror cracks from side to side, and she feels the curse come upon her. The punishment that follows results in her drifting in her boat downstream to Camelot ‘singing her last song’, but dying before she reaches there.

Waterhouse shows her letting go the boat’s chain, while staring at a crucifix placed in front of three guttering candles. Tennyson was a popular subject for artists of this period, particularly the Pre-Raphaelites. Waterhouse’s biographer Anthony Hobson relates that the artist owned a copy of Tennyson’s collected works, and covered every blank page with pencil sketches for paintings.
[Source: tate.org.uk]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Lady of Shalott, The1888Oil/CanvasPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Waterhouse, John William1849-1917, aged 67English painterPre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
LOCATION:SIZE (cms):  
Tate Galleries, Millbank, Westminster, London SW1P 4RG UK153 x 200  

Forward to 1.5 Impressionism Expressionism
Back to 1.4.7 Spanish Eclecticism, Spain (1845-90) Macchiaioli, Italy (1850s) – Back to 1.4 After Romanticism index
Forward to 1.5 Modern Art (1860-WWI)

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