art history meme | 1/5 movements: pre-raphaelism

In the late 1840s, the exclusively British Pre-Raphaelite movement appeared in Victorian society in London. Three young students from the Royal Academy were the instigators - William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. At that time, British painting was at an impasse, pinned down by strict conventions and restricted by the tastes of a clientele that delighted in small genre scenes, usually full of mawkish sentimentality and conveying a moral message. In their view, it was academic teaching, unable to free itself from the aesthetic rules set down in the Renaissance, that was directly responsible for this creative sclerosis. Together they founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848. They chose the name as a reminder that the group would concentrate its criticism on a painting by Raphael, The Transfiguration. Hunt said it “should be condemned for its grandiose disregard of the simplicity of truth, the pompous posturing of the apostles and the unspiritual posture of the Saviour.” They wanted to return to art as it had been before Raphael, free from all academic affectation.


dante gabriel rossetti: a summary