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by Heather Birchall


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Founded in 1848 as a secret society, the Pre-Raphaelites rejected classical ideals and the dominant artistic genre painting of their era for what they saw as a more spiritual, sincere, and naturalistic approach. Founded by William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, they evolved into a seven-member “brotherhood” that included poets and critics as well as painters.

Moving away from the classical compositions exemplified by Raphael (hence the group’s name), the Pre-Raphaelites rather turned to medieval culture and the jewel-like colors of Quattrocento art for inspiration. Their principal themes were initially religious, but also included subjects from literature and poetry, as exemplified by Sir John Everett Millais’s famous Ophelia, drawn from Shakespeare's Hamlet. Inspired by the theories of John Ruskin, they were also committed to the close study of nature.

This book presents key works from the Pre-Raphaelite group to introduce their reactionary principles, their dazzling colors, their interest in love, death, and nature, and their extensive influence on latter-day Symbolism and beyond.

About the series

Born back in 1985, the Basic Art Series has evolved into the best-selling art book collection ever published. Each book in TASCHEN’s Basic Genre series features:

approximately 100 color illustrations with explanatory captions

a detailed, illustrated introduction

a selection of the most important works of the epoch, each presented on a two-page spread with a full-page image and accompanying interpretation, as well as a portrait and brief biography of the artist

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9783836519656
Publisher: Taschen America, LLC
Publication date: 03/26/2016
Pages: 96
Sales rank: 285,718
Product dimensions: 8.30(w) x 10.40(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Heather Birchall organized a number of major exhibitions at the Victoria & Albert Museum and Tate Britain in London before becoming Curator of Historic Fine Art at the Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester. She was a member of the National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies (NADFAS) until 2014. Today she lives in San Francisco. A specialist in Victorian art, she has contributed to books and written articles about John Ruskin, the relationship between painting and photography, and British watercolors.

Table of Contents

Victorian Rebels 6

John Wycliffe Reading his Translation of the Bible to John of Gaunt Ford Madox Brown 26

Twelfth Night Walter Howell Deverell 28

Ecce Ancilla Domini! (The Annunciation) Dante Gabriel Rossetti 30

Christ in the House of his Parents ("The Carpenter's Shop") John Everett Millais 32

Convent Thoughts Charles Allston Collins 34

The Hireling Shepherd William Holman Hunt 36

Ophelia John Everett Millais 38

The Last of England Ford Madox Brown 40

Work Ford Madox Brown 42

The First Anniversary of the Death of Beatrice Dante Gabriel Rossetti 44

John Ruskin John Everett Millais 46

Fragment of the Alps John Ruskin 48

Found Dante Gabriel Rossetti 50

Jerusalem and the Valley of Jehoshaphat from the Hill of Evil Counsel Thomas Seddon 52

The Scapegoat William Holman Hunt 54

The Blind Girl John Everett Millais 56

The Long Engagement Arthur Hughes 58

At Bolton (The White Doe of Rylstone) John William InchBold 60

Autumn Leaves John Everett Millais 62

Chatterton Henry Wallis 64

The Stonebreaker John Brett 66

Sidonia von Bork Edward Coley Burne-Jones 68

Vivien Frederick Sandys 70

Beata Beatrix Dante Gabriel Rossetti 72

Love in Autumn Simeon Solomon 74

Isabella and the Pot of Basil William Holman Hunt 76

La Pia de' Tolomei Dante Gabriel Rossetti 78

The Shadow of Death William Holman Hunt 80

The Minor of Venus Edward Coley Burne-Jones 82

The Golden Stairs Edward Coley Burne-Jones 84

The Tree of Forgiveness Edward Coley Burne-Jones 86

The Rose Bower from The Briar Rose Series Edward Coley Burne-Jones 88

Flora Edward Coley Burne-Jones Und William Morris 90

Medea Evelyn De Morgan 92

The Little Foot Page Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale 94

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