Art of the Pre-Raphaelites

Art of the Pre-Raphaelites

4.0 1
by Elizabeth Prettejohn
     
 
Though always controversial in art circles, the Pre-Raphaelites have also always been extremely popular with museum goers. This accessible new study provides the most comprehensive view of the movement to date. It shows us why, a century and a half later, Pre-Raphaelite art retains its power to fascinate, haunt, and often shock its viewers.

Calling themselves the

Overview

Though always controversial in art circles, the Pre-Raphaelites have also always been extremely popular with museum goers. This accessible new study provides the most comprehensive view of the movement to date. It shows us why, a century and a half later, Pre-Raphaelite art retains its power to fascinate, haunt, and often shock its viewers.

Calling themselves the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais, and William Holman Hunt produced a statement of ideas that revolutionized art practice in Victorian England. Critical of the Royal Academy's formulaic works, these painters believed that painting had been misdirected since Raphael. They and the artists who joined with them, including William Michael Rossetti, James Collinson, and Frederick George Stephens, created bright works representing nature and literary themes in fresh detail and color. Considered heretical by many and frequently admonished for a lack of grace in composition the group disbanded after only a few years. Yet its artists and ideals remained influential; its works, greatly admired.

In this richly illustrated book, Elizabeth Prettejohn raises new and provocative questions about the group's social and artistic identity. Was it the first avant-garde movement in modern art? What role did women play in the Pre-Raphaelite fraternity? How did relationships between the artists and models affect the paintings? The author also analyzes technique, pinning down the distinctive characteristics of these painters and evaluating the degree to which a group style existed. And she considers how Pre-Raphaelite art responded to and commented on its time and place a world characterized by religious and political controversy, new scientific concern for precise observation, the emergence of psychology, and changing attitudes toward sexuality and women.

The first major publication on the Pre-Raphaelite movement in more than fifteen years, this exquisite volume incorporates the swell of recent research into a comprehensive, up-to-date survey. It comprises well over two hundred color reproductions, including works that are immediately recognizable as Pre-Raphaelite masterpieces, as well as lesser-known paintings that expand our appreciation of this significant artistic departure.

Editorial Reviews

Nicholas Basbanes
Elizabeth Prettejohn takes a fresh look at a revolutionary movement pioneered in England in the 1840s that continues to fascinate critics for its responsiveness to changing social conditions.
Worcester Sunday Telegram
Fritz Lanham
Twentieth-century critics have tended to turn up their noses at Pre-Raphaelite art, dismissing it as sentimental stuff. That attitude has begun to change, and art historian Elizabeth Prettlejohn delivers a spirited study of the aesthetics of this Victorian-era movement in The Art of the Pre-Raphaelites.
Houston Chronicle
Library Journal
Dante Garbriel Rosetti, William Holman Hunt, Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris, John Everett Milais, and the other men and women belonging to the Pre-Raphaelite movement would probably be surprised at the staying power of their art and thoughts. There are countless studies of the movement, with some bookstores devoting whole shelves to it. In this work, which had its seeds in the 1998 Burne-Jones exhibit and exhibit at London's Tate Gallery in 1984 that was the largest ever of Pre-Raphaelite works, Prettejohn (art history, Univ. of Plymouth) has assembled the first combined study of these artists to appear in 15 years. There have been books on the Brotherhood, individual artists, and the seldom-mentioned Sisterhood but not the combined, thoroughgoing overview of their lives, thoughts, and, most of all, techniques that Prettejohn accomplishes here. Prettejohn presents complete images and then studies fragments to reveal the technique and small detail. She also shows how these artists revolutionized Victorian art and how they were affected by changes in science, psychiatry, and the attitudes toward sexuality and women. Finally, she addresses their impact today, considering whether this was the first avant-garde movement in modern art. Highly recommended.--Joseph Hewgley, Nashville P.L. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
A statuesque woman draped in midnight blue velvet stands and stretches in front of her embroidery table, surrounded by rich colors and varying textures-the fabric of her dress, the jewels on her belt, the autumn leaves that have fallen on her needlework, the bright stained glass, the rough wooden floor, the polished wooden stool leg, the gleaming silver vases. The painting, by John Everett Millais, entitled Mariana, is a perfect example of the art of the Pre-Raphaelites.

Who were the Pre-Raphaelites, and what was their art like? Prettejohn, associate senior lecturer in Art History at the University of Plymouth, addresses these questions with sensitivity, careful attention, and scholarly expertise in this gorgeous book.

Millais and his friends and fellow painters, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Holman Hunt, were frustrated with popular taste in painting, and with the academic precepts of the art world in 1840s London. According to Hunt, they sought to "perfectly revolutionisze [sic] taste." Toward that end, they formed the "Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood" with a sculptor and three other painters. These men declared allegiance to the style of art of the period preceding the High Renaissance-roughly before 1500-a style considered "primitive" in contrast to Raphael's maturity.

Prettejohn writes: "Pre-Raphaelite painting technique was simultaneously very old, in its attempted return to the methods of the first oil painters, and utterly novel, since those methods were `scientifically' examined for the first time."

Other painters soon adopted the style. Artists without standard training, especially women, who were denied entrance to art schools, found advantages in the Brotherhood's rejection of academia.

These painters portrayed people and nature with perfect truthfulness, rendering every square inch of the canvas in exacting detail, rather than clearly portraying principal forms in the foreground with shadowed, indistinct backgrounds. In Hunt's Valentine Rescuing Sylvia from Proteus, every blade of grass is articulated; each separate link in the hero's chain mail can be counted; one can even discern the expressions on faces in the distance.

Prettejohn examines this art with the minute attention one must pay to each painting in order to absorb all those details. She analyzes the style's visual aesthetic, its place in the history of art and society, and its portrayal of women. She draws on-and graciously acknowledges-a wide body of scholarly work. The book is beautifully laid out, with vivid color plates clearly marked and juxtaposed conveniently with the text that refers to them.

The author argues that Pre-Raphaelite art requires long, close scrutiny. Her book equally merits lingering and absorbing attention. (December)

Lindsay Duguid
Comprehensively illustrated, clearly written and introduces the reader to many invigorating new ideas...A mass of scholarly research in the past sixteen years has enable Prettejohn to give a more nuanced view of the artists.
Times Literary Supplement
Times Literary Supplement
Comprehensively illustrated, clearly written and introduces the reader to many invigorating new ideas.
Booklist
[Prettejohn] suggests a new story about the development of modern art, from Pre-Raphaelitism to symbolism to surrealism to pop art to postmodernism. If that doesn't piqu art book reader's interest, perhaps. . . the luscious reproductions of virtually all the famous and many lesser known but entrancing Pre-Raphaelite masterpieces will.
ForeWord
Who were the Pre-Raphaelites, and what was their art like? Prettejohn . . . addresses these questions with sensitivity, careful attention, and scholarly expertise in this gorgeous book . . . The author argues that Pre-Raphaelite art requires long, close scrutiny. Her book equally merits lingering and absorbing attention.
— Karen McCarthy
Choice
A valuable study that will appeal to art historians and those familiar with this seminal movement in English art. The 200 illustrations (many in detail) are all in excellent color.
Bloomsbury Review
Prettejohn has not only brought together so many of this time period's masterpieces, but has also provided the history and means with which to realize the full impact of these paintings. . . . If reading about art doesn't sound too exhilarating, this book will spark interest just from a momentary view of the enchanting paintings inside.
— Felice Ballester
Pre-Raphaelite Studies
Prettejohn's study is well-written, her research and knowledge of the period are commendable, and many of her arguments have merit and originality. . . This book goes a long way in offering some fresh visions of a favorite subject.
— Susan P. Casteras
ForeWord - Karen McCarthy
Who were the Pre-Raphaelites, and what was their art like? Prettejohn . . . addresses these questions with sensitivity, careful attention, and scholarly expertise in this gorgeous book . . . The author argues that Pre-Raphaelite art requires long, close scrutiny. Her book equally merits lingering and absorbing attention.
Bloomsbury Review - Felice Ballester
Prettejohn has not only brought together so many of this time period's masterpieces, but has also provided the history and means with which to realize the full impact of these paintings. . . . If reading about art doesn't sound too exhilarating, this book will spark interest just from a momentary view of the enchanting paintings inside.
Pre-Raphaelite Studies - Susan P. Casteras
Prettejohn's study is well-written, her research and knowledge of the period are commendable, and many of her arguments have merit and originality. . . This book goes a long way in offering some fresh visions of a favorite subject.
Time Magazines Literary Supplement
Comprehensively illustrated, clearly written and introduces the reader to many invigorating new ideas.
From the Publisher
"The first combined study of these artists to appear in 15 years. There have been [other] books . . . but not the combined, thoroughgoing overview of their lives, thoughts, and, most of all, techniques that Prettejohn accomplishes here . . . Highly recommended."Library Journal

"Comprehensively illustrated, clearly written and introduces the reader to many invigorating new ideas."Times Literary Supplement

"[Prettejohn] suggests a new story about the development of modern art, from Pre-Raphaelitism to symbolism to surrealism to pop art to postmodernism. If that doesn't piqu art book reader's interest, perhaps. . . the luscious reproductions of virtually all the famous and many lesser known but entrancing Pre-Raphaelite masterpieces will."Booklist

"Who were the Pre-Raphaelites, and what was their art like? Prettejohn . . . addresses these questions with sensitivity, careful attention, and scholarly expertise in this gorgeous book . . . The author argues that Pre-Raphaelite art requires long, close scrutiny. Her book equally merits lingering and absorbing attention."—Karen McCarthy, ForeWord

"A valuable study that will appeal to art historians and those familiar with this seminal movement in English art. The 200 illustrations (many in detail) are all in excellent color."Choice

"Prettejohn has not only brought together so many of this time period's masterpieces, but has also provided the history and means with which to realize the full impact of these paintings. . . . If reading about art doesn't sound too exhilarating, this book will spark interest just from a momentary view of the enchanting paintings inside."—Felice Ballester, Bloomsbury Review

"Prettejohn's study is well-written, her research and knowledge of the period are commendable, and many of her arguments have merit and originality. . . This book goes a long way in offering some fresh visions of a favorite subject."—Susan P. Casteras, Pre-Raphaelite Studies

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781854377265
Publisher:
Tate Publishing, Limited
Publication date:
08/28/2007
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 10.87(h) x 1.00(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

The Art of the Pre-Raphaelites 0 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 0 reviews.