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The Golden Age of Russian Impressionism




Art Fortune | Pre-Raphaelite


The Pre-Raphaelite art movement was formed by a collection of British artists, such as William Holman Hunt, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris, and critic John Ruskin who aimed through their brotherhood, to defy all traditions established by the Royal Academy of Arts, create realistic almost photographic representation of their subjects, and draw from literary sources such as Greek mythology, Shakespeare, Tennyson, and Keats for inspiration. They wanted to establish an art that was moving forward into the modern era. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood did not just solely consist of visual artists, poets, art critics, and writers were involved as well.


The idea behind the formation of the Pre-Raphaelite style was to eliminate the mechanical methods taught at the Royal Academy, such as using pyramidal groupings of figures, two light sources one of greater brightness each placed on opposite sides, and strong use of rich shadows and tones. To reform the PRB would paint paintings that appeared flat, but were evenly lit with elaborate detail and people placement. They had four guidelines or doctrines to follow:


1. To have genuine ideas to express;
2. To study Nature attentively, so as to know how to express them;
3. To sympathise with what is direct and serious and heartfelt in previous art, to the exclusion of what is conventional and self-parodying and learned by rote;
4. And, most indispensable of all, to produce thoroughly good pictures and statues.


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William Holman Hunt was one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. He wanted to reform art by depicting detailed paintings of nature, through his use of literary scenes such as in “Lady of Shalott” and “The Hireling Shepard.”  Many of his works also dealt with various social issues like the fallen woman, which is a concept many of the Pre-Raphaelites explored.


Dante Gabriel Rossetti was another founder of the PRB. He was an English poet and a painter. He legally changed his name to show his devotion to the author Dante. One of his most notable paintings was of the “Proserpine” which was accompanied by a sonnet.


Evelyn de Morgan was an aesthetic Pre-Raphaelite painter whose works focused on depictions of Greek mythology.  Her paintings “Helen of Troy” and “Cassandra” depicts the physical characteristics that the artists of the PRB looked for in their models, feverish red hair, strong face structure, and unmated stance.

“Art is eternal, but life is short..”- Evelyn de Morgan





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